• November 2018
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A Visit to Aomori

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

Late November K and I took the train up to Aomori to go visit the Aomori Museum of Art to see the Studio Ghibli exhibit. The exhibit was nice, it was concept art and story boards from all their movies. Some really gorgeous stuff. They had a pretty big store full of ghibli stuff, we picked up some fun and cute things like folders and stuffed animals.
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After the museum we went over to the Sannai Maruyama site. I really love the clay pottery and figures they’ve dug up.
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We wandered around the outside train station before catching the train back home and they had these interesting lantern displays set up.
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A few weeks later the first weekend of December, right before we left the country I went with 2 friends. Everything was getting decorated for Christmas. We stopped at an anime and manga shop, Village Vanguard a couple malls and then went to Ghibli exhibit. It was a fun trip!
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by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

November we went back to Tokyo for one last hurrah. Since we had been to Tokyo already we had a much better grasp on how to get around and places we wanted to see. Our first day we went back to Ueno Park and visited the zoo, which was way bigger than I thought it would be. Later we went to the National Science Museum and they had dinosaurs!
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The next day we hit up the Pokémon Center. I was under the impression that it was going to be a museum and shop but it was really just a shop, but it was sooo cute I didn’t care. ^^ I picked up a Pikachu in a hula skirt, which I thought was perfect since I was heading to Hawaii in a few months. K got me a Ditto Pikachu too!

After that we meet up with some friends again in Asakusa. Our first stop was the Nakamise Street leading up to Sensoji Temple. I bought a pretty picture that looks like it might be of Hirosaki castle in the spring. Sensoji was done with their renovations and they had their own little chrysanthemum festival going on too. After that we went to Hanayashiki a little amusement park down the street from Sensoji. It is kid themed, but I wanted to go and check out the haunted houses. Unfortunately I can’t find any of the pictures I took there. ; ;
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The first haunted house we went to was called Ghost Mansion, which is an audio adventure. You go into a room decorated like an old swanky dining room and sit down at a setting and put on a headphone set. After that they turn out the lights and you hear creepy music and sounds and footsteps on the floor. It was well done and one little girl got so scared she had to take off her headset. The second was one where you sit in a little car and it takes you through it. It was cute. After the haunted houses we went and took an airship ride. Then did the Space Shot, where it climbs up and then drops you.

That evening we went back Akihabara and wandered around again. We hit up Don Quixote which I really like just wandering though to look at all the interesting stuff. Then we happened upon a shop called Yellow Submarine which is an RPG store. We didn’t even notice it was there last time we were in Akihabara, but I saw a giant yellow billboard with the name and RPG store on it and we had to investigate. We totally scored finding that place, we were able to find a copy of a game K had been looking for called Maid, one of the most popular RPGs in Japan. They also had these adorable handmade mini figures. After that it was off to bed for the long drive the next morning. It was a short trip but it was a ton of fun, and a lot less stressful going the second time.
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Hirosaki Chrysanthimum Festival

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

Late October we went up to Hirosaki for their annual chrysanthemum festival. Despite how many years we had been living in Japan, we had had never made it for this festival. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, I think perhaps a bunch of old ladies and potted flowers is what I had imagined. While there were some, it was mostly these amazing displays made entirely of flowers. I really liked the samurai era displays where all their clothing was made of flowers.
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Hakkoda Mountain Hike

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

Mid October we went on a hike in the Hakoda foothills to see the fall foliage.  I had a lovely time, it wasn’t too cold, the leaves were beautiful and I got to go to a bunch of places I had never been before. It was beautiful, the leaves had changed colors and there was that crisp, pungent smell from the fallen leaves. We started out early to get to this old abandoned farmhouse that was really cool looking. It had a thatched roof with a tree growing out of it and parts of its walls were falling down. It was really fun to photograph, there were also this interesting hay stacks in a field too. After that we drove to this place a local sculptor had set up a bunch of his work. Then we went for a walk on part of the Hakkoda trail. Then we went up to the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. It was such a great day out too, beautiful weather, chilly but sunny out.

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Mikoshi Festival

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

August 2010

A mikoshi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoshi) is a portable shrine used in Japanese Shinto traditions.  A bunch of groups from the community make the shrines and then decorate them elaborately, sometimes in very traditional themes, others in very modern motifs, like based on anime or manga, e.g. Neon Genesis Evangelion.   Then, like in this particular festival, there is a dance contest of sorts where the groups try to outdo each other by lofting the shrine from side to side in beat with the music.  It’s fun to watch and I’m told even more fun to participate in.

Not my best photos ever…

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 I also uploaded some video I took of the festival and put them together into a Dream Studio presentation.


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