Warriors of Legend Tour Diary - J. Navok
DAY 4: 6/29/06 (Journey West)
If you think our first few days were packed, you won't believe how much we did on the last day(s) of the tour. Everyone was out of the hotel by 8:30am, and we took the subway over to Shinjuku before switching there for a private train line to head to a city west of Tokyo.
Upon reaching the station, we took the bus to our first major destination of the day; just like in a famous series opening sequence. Where did we go?
This photo may give you a hint:
Welcome to Jindai Botanical Gardens in Chofu City, as seen in the Sailor Moon R movie. When we arrived at this stunning park it was at the height of its Rose Festival, which featured dozens of varieties of roses from across the world and hundreds of rose bushes adorning the lawn in front of its green house.
First we went into the green house, and found it to be a bit different from in the movie, but still quite interesting.
After the green house, the tour members had free time to check out the rose garden.
We also ate a Jindai specialty, Rose-flavoured ice cream, and Rachael brought back Rose-flavoured tea.
The gardens are quiet large, with many other varieties of flowers and gardens than just the Rose bushes in front of the main green house, but we were in a rush to return to Shinjuku and change for our next destination, Mandarake in Nakano.
Before that, though, we made a brief stop at the Jindai Temple, the second oldest temple in the Tokyo area. (The first being the Asakusa Kannon which we saw on Day 2.)
Our second goal of the day, the Nakano Mandarake, is a geek's dream: a building with floors and floors of pop culture goods ranging from rare and second-hand comics and artbooks to cels, posters, toys, doujinshi, and more. Akihabara tends to have only what's new, but Mandarake stocked older and more unusual items. Most importantly, there was a better chance of them showing and stocking a certain series that went off the air while back which our tour was based on.
WoL Photographer Yosenex met us nearby Mandarake. Tour members were given the choice to go shopping first or eat lunch at the shopping arcade and then shop, with the goal of everyone meeting back near the entrance at an appointed time. With that, they were off.
Here's a small selection of some of the loot people got, as shown off during dinner:
Jared also picked up a ton of stuff but unfortunately I don't think I got a shot of that. When Hans and I returned a few days later, he found a nearly life-size poster of PGSM Sailor Moon.
After Mandarake, we headed back to Shinjuku again to change trains once more with yet a third major destination (and completely different city) in mind. We were going to Yokohama.
We made it there within good time, but one of the most strenuous parts of the tour was coming up: the hike up one of Yokohama's bluffs to reach the foreign cemetery. With the sun beating down on us and everyone already exhausted from several days of intense touring and walking, it wasn't easy, but we made it to the top.
We were greeted to a great reward for all our efforts climbing the hills; a fantastic view from Yokohama's foreign cemetery, the place where Naru went for consolation after Nephrite died, and one of the city's most famous landmarks.
From the foreign cemetery, we walked down the street to "Port View Park," and enjoyed the view of Yokohama Bay as well as Yokohama Bridge.
From this park we walked back down the bluffs, coming to yet another park, the 'foot of the mountain park.'
Apart from enjoying Yokohama bay, next to which the park is located, we had one goal in mind with our brief stop in this park: the second statue of Kimi-chan, the Yokohama Statue of the Girl in Red Shoes. There are four statues of Kimi in Japan, and with this we'd collected two of the four.
Unfortunately the other two statues are located considerably further away, but two out of four isn't bad.
After seeing Kimi, we headed to our final stop in Yokohama, the city's most famous attraction (which also appeared in an episode of the Sailor Moon anime): Yokohama Chinatown.
The agreement with Chinatown was supposed to be that everyone had a half hour to do whatever they liked. I had a Chinese smoothie place that I always went to when I was there, and said that anyone who was interested was welcome to follow. In the end, almost everyone ended up following.
Their specialty is a strawberry smoothie with jelly at the bottom and frozen strawberries on the top. It's really, really good. We had entertainment by way of Yosenex, who came prepared with a variety of series goods.
As you can see from the above picture, Yosenex had brought a bunch of his toys with him, to the amusement of some Japanese who stood nearby commenting on it. He also received calls from several senshi on his Luna henshin phone, to the amusement of everyone.
We left Chinatown and arrived back at the nearby train station with a decision to make: should we head straight back to Shinjuku and go to dinner, or should we go to the next stop on our schedule, the Landmark Tower. We'd done so much walking and it was already nearing 6pm, so the group was split. Exactly down the middle, in fact.
The only one who hadn't voted was myself, and I told them the following: I love tall buildings, so we're going up the tower.
We crammed into a crowded train and rode two stops toward the Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan. To go up the tower you take an "egg-shaped" elevator that shoots you up at incredible speeds; from the first floor to the 69th took about 14 seconds.
From the observation deck of the Landmark Tower we were treated to a great view of Yokohama, as well as a nice Sailor Moon-related sight: the Minato Mirai 21 area that Usagi and Minako went to in an episode of the live action (PGSM) series.
After we'd drunk in enough of the view, we headed back down and took the train back to Shinjuku, from which we'd come and gone already several times that day. This time, though, we'd come to stay. Shinjuku was the object of our eye that evening, and it was where the restaurant we had reservations at was located.
At Shinjuku station, the largest in the world with over two million travelers going through it daily, I talked about the history of the station and the land of Shinjuku, and told the story of the owaiya, the night soil salesmen, which ended the day's touring on what I felt was an appropriate note.
We then headed to Shinjuku's Kabuki-cho. Anyone who knows about Tokyo may be wondering why we were going with a tourist group to Kabuki-cho, the city's most famous red light district. Well, that's where the restaurant was- I wanted everyone on the tour to be able to come home and tell friends and family with a grin that they'd spent an evening in Kabuki-cho.
The final night's dinner was at a traditional Japanese seafood restaurant. We took off our shoes and prepared ourselves for king crab, freshly prepared sashimi, and more. As with all the previous nights, drinks were unlimited, so the sake flowed.
At yet, with all that, we were losing out to some of the boisterous Japanese groups seated near us. Kabuki-cho was tough competition! We couldn't lose!
Fish was the name of the game at dinner that night, literally. We Westerners like to play with our food.
We finished dinner, having finally made as much noise (and more of a mess) than our neighbors, and got ready to head home. With that dinner in our stomachs, the tour was finally over, right?
Not in the least!
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