10 Days to Takeoff!

Let the countdown commence!

So… today it’s only 10 days left to takeoff! And I must admit the last few days have been a lot more stressful than before…

I really do look forward to going to Japan and even though it comes and goes in waves the sudden urge to just be there already I’m always thinking about it now and can’t put it out of my head, especially not since Adolf is already there!

This will be my first post to actually get this blog started and I must first say that I am not satisfied with the functionality and look of my blog. But this is the closest I’ll get to what I want right now and I do not wish to pay for either a theme or a billion different plugins.

So, in just ten days I will fly away and be gone until the 8th of May. It will be wonderful and I really miss Japan and look forward to whatever this year will bring in terms of experiences, food and adventures! 🙂

So in reverse order, let’s list the top 10 things I look forward to during this trip!

Number Ten (10)

This time around I’ve finally gotten myself to actually book an apartment through Sakura House.

I will be sharing the apartment with two other people and I really look forward to testing this. I first got recommended to use Sakura House through my Japanese teacher, Tomoko Okamura back during my first trip 2008. But back then I could not afford such living and also they require you to stay at least for 30 days which I also couldn’t afford back then.

Anyhow, now we’ve gotten an apartment to share here is the video and pictures from it! 😀

Number Nine (9)

My second trip me and a friend of mine called Drak went to see something in the Japanese cinemas. We ended up with watching Clash of Titans even though it was misspelled on the ticket where they had namned it Crash of Titans. A very easy mistake for Japanese people to make when they spell English words. But it’s still fun when you get an official paper with those misspellings.

Anyway, with a few exceptions I’ve come to like to watch at least one movie in the cinemas if I can get away with it in Japan. So this time I hope I can at least catch one movie on the big screen. And hopefully I can do a repeat and catch an anime movie. But time will tell.

Right now I know that Ghost in the Shell is in the cinemas and while we’re in Japan Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is released as well so hopefully I will have time to see those and at least 1 purely Japanese movie.

EDIT: I found what I want to see! LOOK! 😀

Number Eight (8)

Japanese music is an offshoot of my general interest to Japan. Like the previous post mentioned, anime intros and outros have a special place in my heart. They are full of emotions and memories, two things very dear to me and that was in the end what made me start liking their music outside of anime as well.

First trip I went to Japan I went to two concerts and this time Adolf has one or more concerts in mind that I hope we’ll go to. I hope it will be as great an experience like last time but who knows. At least it will be the first time since 2008 for me to watch live music in Japan again so I bet it’ll be awesome 😀

One of my favourite bands!

Number Seven (7)

Adolf found out about about a big entrepreneur event being held in Tokyo called Slush. I became intrigued and first thought about applying as a entrepreneur since I’m planning to take over BoardGames4U this summer. But I chickened out when the form for applying as a new company was way longer than the attendee and also included a lot of options concerning computers and programming which made me think that it was the wrong audience for me.

Anyhow we are going and it seems like a lot of information and booths and seminars about entrepreneurship and especially about the future computer science will be discussed and displayed. It seems cool so I hope I will understand enough to actually make use of what I can learn there.

Read more about it on Adolf’s Blog.

Number Six (6)

There are many and numerous occasions where I have ended up in the small Japanese pubs called Izakaya. They vary a lot from place to place but it is mostly places where you can eat and drink and have conversations. Unlike my experience of the bars and pubs I’ve been to in Sweden and the west, it’s cozy and also they have a great number of different small appetisers available that are quite cheap and very tasty.

The norm in Japan is that you usually order as a group and order a lot of stuff and then share it all while getting to know each other and relaxing. Drinking beer or alcohol is not required and you can do this without feeling the invisible pressure of that “I am drinking, why aren’t you” in these places. At least that’s how the mood has been for me in these places, drinking or not.

I like the feeling of coming to an Izakaya, from the very modern Izakaya where you order from a tablet at your table to the super cozy traditional Izakaya where you can barely fit through the door and even so you fit like 30 people in a room not big enough for 5 people 😉

I look forward to these nights because it usually means that you meet a lot of new people and you are doing it in a more… Japanese-like way.

The tablet on which you order at one of my favourite chains of Izakaya
Intimate smaller booths that grants a varying degree of privacy but also ordered crowd

Number Five (5)

One thing that I was super disappointed with during my first trip in 2008 was the arcades in Japan. Everybody was smoking, it was hard to find any games I wanted to play and everything was loud and noisy.

Well, that changed pretty quickly.

Back in 2008 I was the only one that wanted to go into these places and since I was alone or with people not interested in games in any way I never understood how to play properly or where to find games I liked. Since 2011 I know and I love it! <3

The main game I look forward to the most is Jubeat. In this game you play music while you tap on different buttons to the same beat and trying to fix different patterns to match the song. It is very addictive and fun and I also have the app on my iPad and that app has broken my iPad, or more correctly: I’ve broken my iPad because of I’ve been playing that game so much that my iPad has been physically damaged.

I also liked a game called Lords of Vermilion which was super-fun, but last trip I completely lost interest in this game. Sure it is appealing with having a CCG (Collectible Card Game) that turns digital but it is too complex to play at a certain point without the ability to read and also they changed LoV 2:re to become something which you play 5vs5, I much preferred to play 1vs1 instead.

But there are many games other than these, music games as well as normal arcade games that I hope I’ll have more time than before to play.

Number Four (4)

So far I’ve been to the following cities and villages in Japan:

So I’m a little bit excited to go to a completely new city and also go to one of the 2 Japanese main islands I haven’t been to yet! Kyushu and Fukuoka here I come! Now only Shikoku remains! But right now I hope to have a good time in Fukuoka and maybe I’ll save Shikoku til later.

Midnight photograph from Fukuoka

Number Three (3)

Last time I went to Japan, 2016, I as always looked up something fun and different to do in Japan in my online groups and I found something called Samurai Meetups so me and Adolf joined with a team of youngsters and tried something called Oden. I had seen this strange dish before, it is served everywhere on 7/11 in Japan, but it smelled awful so I had stayed clear of it.

But this evening was pretty amazing. I still was very, very sceptical about the food and a little bit too cowardly to taste everything, but it still was a very educative experience and we also got to taste Sake (Wiki) with a professional Sake Sommelier. Well, anyhow to shorten the story the trip 2016 ended up becoming one of the best (shares the 1st space with 2008) trips I’ve ever done.

And it is all thanks to Samurai Meetups because they made the trip funny, educative and I got to meet so many amazing people doing amazing things. One of the most amazing people I met there is Koki Miyashita, you can also find him on facebook if you want to know more about him. He is a very driven young man that impresses me with his unrelenting energy and I just want to tip my hat to him for making 2016’s so amazing!

Number Two (2)

If there is anything I like more than Izakaya then it is the Japanese way of Karaoke. I do not like the ‘normal’ kind of karaoke where you have an open mic at an stage and sometimes a big screen with words and so on. Sure it follows the basic principles of what karaoke is but that has always been boring to me.

The Japanese way, has totally won me over. It is cozy, super fun and also, for those who know me, I like to sing. In this way you can usually sing and have all you can drink (alcohol or soda, soda is cheaper) as long as you have your small karaoke room and sing together with friends, or strangers if you like for as long as you want.

Karaoke usually becomes the midnight activity if you miss the last train or is stranded in some place late at night. It is fun and before you know it, it’s early morning. And you never know the crazy memories you’ll make singing your heart out all night. 😀

Karaoke is crazy! 😀

Number One (1)

So, those who know me would without a doubt have guessed that food would be on the first place. Well, there is no secret that I like to eat and that I usually can eat quite much for my size. And my fondness for eating is the second thing most people remember about me after meeting me the first time, the first thing being my afro.

Well, one thing that Japan has is their food. It is not the main reason why I go back. Not even close but somehow when someone asks me what I look forward to food is always the first thing that comes to mind even though it is so much more.

But to specify a bit I will actually go through my top 5 foods in Japan and also add one that will be special for this trip 😀

They are ordered from my most favoured to my least favoured, but note that all of them are in my top 10 foods of all time 😀

Ichiran Ramen

Without a doubt, my most favourite way of eating noodles and also according to me, the best.

These noodles are so amazing and full of the perfect flavour that I probably wil never grow tired of them. The only downside to Ichiran is that it is not cheap to eat compared to like Japanese curry places or yakitori.

But it is a special experience plus the taste is as I said, the best.

Pepper’s Lunch

This isn’t actually Japanese but it’s only here I’ve encountered this chain and brand. I like them very much and the way of eating meat you’ve made on a hot plate yourself is very good.

In Japan they have several teppanyaki places which cooks food on a big girdle often in the middle of the table. That is very similar to this, but Pepprs is… more fun and like a fast food chain but with meat, a lot of meat! <3

First time doing peppers in 2008!

Shabu Shabu

This is very similar to another western favourite food of mine, the fondue bourguignonne (the one with oil), the exception here is that Shabu Shabu is made with broth or liquid and then you have thin slices of meat that you use and not only dip but drag back and forth in the bowl till it’s done.

Either way it’s as fun as fondue and has the added benefit that you can modify the flavours more with changing the content of the bowl. It is fun and mostly it’s not that expensive since it usually is a all you can eat that is limited to a time.

Shabu shabu <3

Yakiniku

I like meat, it should be obvious since most my favourite foods are purely eating meat in one way or another. Yakiniku is like having a mini barbecue and grilling small slices of food over a charcoal grill. It is very tasty and also very good to beer. Downside is that it usually is very expensive but all in all, it’s very good and something I eat at least twice while in Japan.

Yakiniku at its best! 😀

Sushi-Ro

Going to Japan and not eat sushi wouldn’t be right. And also I must admit I wasn’t that big of a Sushi fan the first two-three trips I went here. I don’t know when or how it changed, but it did.

Now I like Sushi in general even though I am not that varied in my choices. I do not like ebi (shrimp) or too smelly fish but I really like Tuna and Salmon. Sushi also taught me that I hate nori.

Sushi-Ro is probably the cheapest place to eat it, and also my favourite since you can order through an tablet and eat without too much people all around. But it is also a place where you often have to wait before you can get a table.

First time eating Sushi like this in Japan.

 

And with that ends my first post!

I will try to post something every day before Takeoff and after take-off the goal is to post at least 3 post each week and if adolf.blog accepts my challange (I haven’t made it yet) then it will be every day 😀

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