You may or may not have noticed from my post of our trip to San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay, but aquariums are among one of my favorite places to explore. As a child my grandparents would often take me to the Sea World in Ohio during my summer visits, which instilled an appreciation for aquatic lifeforms in me early on. While the ethics behind parks like Sea World are certainly questionable, the effect of seeing the majestic denizens of the seas and shores has had isn't.
On one particularly lovely summer day in the Tokyo Bay area, I decided to pay a visit to Kasai Rinkai Koen. One of the more striking features of the park is this glass dome that houses the entrance to the Tokyo Sea Life Park, visible from the Keiyo line trains as they roll up to the station. The park itself is quite large, with expansive bay-side areas, grassy picnic fields, gardens, the Diamonds & Flowers Ferris wheel (2nd largest in Japan), a beer garden during the summer and much more!
I've written an article about the park for Tokyo Cheapo in the past, so feel free to check it out!
This post will focus on the aquarium, with another post covering the Diamonds and Flowers ferris wheel and the rest of the park coming soon!
It's a lovely art museum nestled into a quieter neighborhood of Tokyo, one not particularly bustling with tourists. Walking there ended up being something of a mission all in it's own, as my gps signal was unreliable and I found myself exploring wonderful little pockets of the town I hadn't expected to encounter!
As is prone to happening in life, sometimes even our most reliable of things let us down from time to time.
My car, Svetty, is an old dame.
She runs exceptionally well most of the time, but this past summer she's begun experiencing an ongoing procession of hiccups and age related problems that has resulted in several costly replacement part installations. Between batteries, spark plugs, cables, hoses, and now a fuel pump, she's gobbled up a good portion of my finances. It's all well worth it to me in the end if I can get my old car up and running again, as I genuinely aim to keep her until she falls to pieces. Ideally I'd like to get her into the million mile club, but to get there I'm going to have to overcome obstacles like this from time to time. It's all part of the process.
As she was incapable of driving, I ended up going with YourMechanic for the repairs as they were a mobile mechanic company that could diagnose and repair issues without having to leave your home. My mechanic, Patrick, was exceptionally pleasant and didn't mind my hanging around watching, photographing or asking questions throughout the process.
Candy Warpop, in case you've been orbiting Pluto and haven't heard of them, are a badass group of musicians who craft some glorious angst anthems. With Anisa on drums, Josh on guitar, Jonas on bass and Amy on vocals, they combine their individual talents into a passionate performance every time they do a show. We've actually done a show with them before, back in the early days of 710 Visuals!
Trust no one who dislikes the song White Rabbit.
It's fun seeing these old videos as it really demonstrates how far we've come since then!
This show was at the Double Down Saloon, which is renowned throughout Vegas for their ass-juice and punk-rock aesthetic. The show went really well and we had a great time!
Well, that's what I'm going to share with you today! This is an absolutely fantastic project that my from CeeDro set me to task on, and I'm immensely grateful that he did! It's been a wonderful learning process and a whole lot of fun. I've always been really curious about customizing instruments and immensely flattered whenever anyone mentions their interest in such a project. This was one commission I took with great enthusiasm!
Walking home from work many nights, I'd pass along Maihama station.
Maihama station is the official Disney resort station for the Tokyo Disney parks with busses and taxis available to take guests to their points of destination (be it the park or a nearby hotel), so it's usually quite the bustling hub of activity. I could catch one of the many busses that left the station for nearby neighborhoods but they were often crowded with a long queue as Maihama is also a popular residential area for young families. As someone who finds unwinding in quiet optimal for relaxing after a long day, the walks home were generally my preferred route. What better way to get to know my neighborhood and the little joys of life in Japan?
If you're a fan of animation then you've probably heard of Studio Ghibli, and if not, you should! Seriously, these guys are often referred to as "the Disney of Japan" and for very good reason!
Stunningly detailed imagery drips from every frame, lush in all of their films and their iconic characters have become beloved icons the world around. Primarily focusing on a hand-drawn aesthetic, everything from the minutae of everyday life to resplendent scenes of mythological beings or nature are rendered and exaggerated with loving detail until every scene oozes with atmosphere and life.
Pretty legit stuff, guys.
So it was with great excitement that I agreed to go to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka with some of my friends. Tickets had to be purchased in advance through a kiosk in either Lawson or Family Mart, and they could sell out quickly if you didn't plan ahead! We found a date that worked best for everyone and set our calendars.
Working at Tokyo Disney Sea, I often had to overexert myself physically just to match product demand. People would be lining up for drawings before we even opened in the morning and there were many times when the wait time was over three hours…that's right, three HOURS! x_x;
Most of the thrill rides have wait times that long, but for a simple drawing? They really like their drawings! ^_^
Drawing endlessly for 40-50 hours a week caught up with me pretty quick, and my muscles and joints became increasingly more painful and stiff. My coworker, Gamini, lived out in a quiet suburban village in Chiba and recommended an acupuncturist/physical therapist there. Being 20-30 minutes from Tokyo, the doctor was more reasonably priced than some in the city and had an affable and earnest demeanor that was endearing. Despite the shock-white hair that perfectly matched his scrubs (and socks, because no shoes in the clinic, thanks) he was an energetic young gent at a spritely 70 or 80 years young. During the massages that would accompany the acupuncture, he would often climb atop the table and dig his big toes into knots in my shoulders with deft dexterity and surprising agility.
The view of Ginza from the restaurant we had our dinner in, including the famous "Marui" building.
Ginza's name is derived from the silver coin mints that filled the area in it's earlier years and now-a-days it's a ritzy, classy neighborhood with glittering high-rises and gussied up pedestrians dipping into high-end restaurants or shops. It's not unusual to see women in fancy kimono or exorbitantly priced stilettos strutting the streets of Ginza. Even with it's high-class image, there are still plenty of reasonably priced activities and shops to take in!
Working at Disney, I made a lot of friends but the Ishizawa Sisters were among the first, the friendliest, and the funniest. Unabashedly silly and fun-loving, I could always count on having an adventure when we'd get together.
After Kanae moved on from her position with us at Disney, she began working at a lovely little cafe called Cafe HOM+! Yuka and I ventured out to show our support and try their tempting treats!