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Author Topic: Lost in translation: Japan tour diary  (Read 12338 times)
jarmo
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« on: August 14, 2007, 04:38:26 PM »

Before I start, just a little warning, these are just some notes about what happened in Japan. Lots off sightseeing, some observations and just a story about how the trip was.

It's not filled with details about the shows or anything like that, so if you're looking for that, this isn't the thread.  Smiley









July 10th: Europe -> Japan

We're on the plane to Tokyo and it doesn't take long for the first "Lost In Translation" moment.

Since we're flying KLM, everything is first said in Dutch, then English and then Japanese. It seems like the first two takes half the time compared to Japanese (in the movie, the main character is filming a TV commercial clip and is given instructions in Japanese which is then translated to: He want you to turn and look in camera. Okay? ).


July 11th: Tokyo

We arrive in Japan at around 9am local time (which is around 1am back home).

The flight was the longest I've been on, but it went fast. Everything was on schedule and I even managed to watch a movie on that tiny screen.

We walk from the plane to immigration. I'm standing in the line, waiting to get to the immigration officer and it feels very unreal to be here.

Also, as soon as you get off the plane you notice the different climate compared to home. It's humid!


After getting through immigration and getting the luggage, we walk outside where we get the hotel shuttle to our hotel.

The first thing I noticed is that people are very polite here. The driver, the people at the hotel. I'm not used to this kind of service. You want to tip them, but tipping isn't the custom in this country.

We check in. and log in. Broadband in hotel rooms rule!

Our room has a nice view of the Tokyo bay, even though it's a grey day.

AdZ starts pushing the buttons on the washlet (Japanese toilet with a heated seat and shower....). Pretty soon the bathroom floor is wet.



In the afternoon, we walk to the nearest train station. We even manage to buy train cards even though the girl at the ticket office doesn't really speak English.

Take an express train to Tokyo (that will cost you extra, now we know) and then change for the Yamanote line to Shinjuku. Tokyo station is huge. To walk from the Keiyo line platforms to the subway/train took us a while.



So, we get to Shinkuju. Our goal is to find the Metropolitan Goverment Building where you can go up to the 45th floor for free.

I thought it'd be a good way to get an idea of just how big this place is.

After lunch and more walking around in Shinjuku, we took the train to Shibuya. Shibuya is full of shops and a huge video screens advertising stuff. It's kinda like Times Square, only Japanese.


It was around 6PM and I started to feel the effects of not sleeping on the flight over.

Head for the train and one hour later we're at the hotel.

Instead of just passing out at 8PM and waking up in the middle of the night, I decided to go for a walk. Ended up at a 7-11 since I figured I'd buy some water.

The girls working there were practicing their English as I was paying.

"Hello, how are you?"

"Where are you from?"



I said "Finland" and one of them told me she had written Santa Claus (in Finland) a letter. She had even gotten a reply!

Then at around 11PM, I just gave up and passed out.



July 12th: Tokyo


Woke up really early and didn't feel tired at all. Weird.

After checking e-mails etc. (as I said, broadband at hotel rooms rule!), it was time to find some breakfast. We walked to a nearby mall where we found a sandwich shop or cafe. Not sure what exactly it was supposed to be. It was kinda funny trying to pick a sandwich based on how it looked and guessing what it was.

Came back to the hotel to get my camera and headed for the train station.

After a while we were back in Tokyo and headed out to find the Imperial Palace. First we had to find the right exit out of the station, and when we did we didn't really know where we were supposed to go.

An American guy working in Japan happened to pass and gave us directions.


After a couple of minutes on foot we arrived at the Imperial Palace gardens.

Most of the time it was raining. At least it wasn't crowded.

A subway ride later, we were in Shinjuku again. Managed to find a pretty cool record store called Disk Union during our walking.

Did more walking around and had lunch in a noodle shop. Ordering was easy, look at the menu with pictures and tell the guy what number you want. I got 12 which was noodles with some onions, seaweed and pork.

After our late lunch, we headed for Harajuku. There we did the same thing we seem to do every day, walk around and look. Being tourists basically.

Harajuku has a lot of small clothing stores with funny names. Sort of like Camden Town in London, only cleaner and trendier.

Then we had the brilliant idea that we should have something cool to drink after all that walking in the hot humid weather. We found a little bar and ordered our drinks. Apparently Corona spoken with an English accent sounds like Coca Cola.... Fosters said in with a Finnish accent on the other hand is still a Fosters.

Before leaving Harajuku, it was time for yet another coffee!

We've learned that ordering cappuccino is better than trying to order a black coffee. I got my cappuccino and AdZ got a iced black coffee. At least it wasn't a Coke this time.

The day was starting to become evening, so we went back to Shinjuku for drinks before heading back to our hotel.



July 13th: Tokyo



Started the day with breakfast at a coffee place and from there we went to a supermarket. It doesn't take much to get a small town geek like me excited. A Japanese supermarket with an arcade is more than enough. Wink

AdZ beat me in that drum game where you're supposed to drum along to the song and keep the beat  (no pun intended).

After that we headed to Tokyo, Shibuya to be exact. Visited HMV and walked around. Saw a place called Ghetto Family Dining. Didn't visit it though.

We also went into this six storey place filled with junk. Everything from shampoo to bikes. Total chaos!

As it was getting closer to evening, we took the train to Akihabara to see the place where the geeks hangout.

Lots of electronics stores and stores selling Manga stuff. Must be heaven if you're into that. Personally I have no idea what it's all about.

It was becoming evening so we thought it'd be nice to have some dinner. A walk around the area resulted in us sitting at Curry Kitchen.

You buy a meal ticket in a machine, give it to the person at the counter and after a while your meal arrives. For those who care: Japanese curry and rice isn't as spicy as Indian curry.

The food made us thirsty, so we decided to go check out Ginza. First we thought about going to Roppongi, but Ginza was closer.

We found a bar, which isn't always easy because they're not all on the first floor facing the street. We ordered drinks and sat there for a while before heading out to find another place.

The funny thing is, we found an Irish themed place where they were waiting for the Japan vs United Arab Emirates football game to start.

They had like two kinds of beer: A Japanese kind and Guinness.

The place eventually became packed which meant there was about ten people in there.... One of the regulars was a Canadian guy who's lived in Japan for ages. So there we are in Japan on a hot July day talking about... Ice hockey!

Made it back to the hotel without falling asleep on the train.



July 14th: Chiba

Show #1.

Met Hiromi and her husband at the hotel before the show. They were actually staying at the same hotel as we were.

Then walked in the rain to the venue which was across the street.

Made it to the venue as the doors were opened.

As the doors opened, security didn't allow the fans to run to get to the barricade. Instead, they were first led down to the floor from the entrance, then as they were escorted onto the floor, they startd walking towards the front. Those who tries to run, were slowed down by security standing in between them and the front rows. I'd never seen that before.

Show time and those fans were really into it.

I was doing updates until my phone died. Must be the fact that it was on in the subway where there's no network...

Everybody thought the show was over until Ron and Axl came back. Ron did his solo and then Axl joined him on Don't Cry.


Amazing experience.


Met up with sukeberon and Hiromi after the show. I  also got to use sukeberon's phone to e-mail confirmation that yes Axl did sing Don't Cry with Bumblefoot after Paradise City.


Since we're in Japan, the show ended but it was still kinda early so we went and had dinner. Had some sake before the dinner.

Typical Japanese food, which was nice as I hadn't had the chance to try much of the food. NICE!

That was followed by drinks. A few of them....



July 15th: Chiba

Walking back to the hotel in the morning we can see a blue sky for the first time.

We were told the typhoon would take the rain with it.

Get some sleep and then head to Pronto in th afternoon where we were supposed to meet some people from the board. I had some coffee and waited, but we didn't see anybody.

The second show in Chiba was at least as great as the first if not even better. The crowd was simply amazing. Again.

After the show, we once again had a few drinks and got back to our hotel at 8AM. We both actually fell asleep on the train and missed our stop.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 04:52:24 PM by jarmo » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2007, 04:41:01 PM »




July 16th: Tokyo -> Nagoya

I took a three hour nap and checked out. Oh, apparently there was an earthquake too. I didn't notice it.

Then we got the Shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya. It's a very comfortable way to travel! Nicest train I've been on.

Arrived in Nagoya, checked in and went out for a walk/lunch.

We also visited a Sega arcade. Played some games that made no sense since we didn't understand the instructions.

AdZ beat me again in that drum game. Our reaction times were a bit slower than usual due to the lack of sleep.



July 17th: Nagoya

Tuesday morning in Nagoya, we went out to do some sightseeing. Gotta make the most of the time in Japan.

We took the subway to Nagoya Castle and walked around the parks there. We still had time before the show, so we headed to this neighborhood called Sakae and walked around more.

One of the stops was the Robot Museum shop. Lots of robot merchandise. Geeky!

I think we covered a lot of that area by foot before having a really late lunch. Then back to the hotel and to the show.

As it was getting close to evening, we had to figure out what train to get to the venue. Or the station closest to the venue.

The train station is a 15 minute walk away and it was pouring down. Good thing they sold umbrellas at the station!



Got to the venue and went outside to see the exterior of the venue once it stopped raining. Lots of fans walking around, smoking and buying shirts.

The show itself was once again great with a great crowd. The band was laughing a lot.

This was the first time I've seen a show with seats in the floor, but that didn't stop the fans from enjoying the show.


Met a guy who was called Mini-Axl. He had the tattoos and everything!

Went back to the hotel after the show since we had an early train to catch.






July 18th: Nagoya -> Tokyo: Budokan


Wednesday morning around 7AM we were on the Shinkansen to Tokyo. At the station I bumped into sukeberon.

Before we left Nagoya, I took a pic of Tom and AdZ.

Got some breakfast before heading to Harajuku and the Meiji-Jingu shrine. Nice to find such a calm place in Tokyo.

In the afternoon we checked in at the hotel (and I posted the photo from that morning) before going to the legendary Budokan for the show.

Tried to meet Hiromi before the show in a coffee place, but she was out shopping.

Once again, the Japanese fans knew how to do it. The band played songs that hadn't been done at the Japanese shows (Liquor & Whores and Used T Love Her). Bubbles made a special appearance.

This is the best show of the Japanese ones in my opinion. One more show to go. Wonder if they can top this...


Ended up getting drunk after the show somewhere in Roppongi.


July 19th: Tokyo

Woke up in the afternoon and went to have some dinner. We found an Indian place not too far from the hotel.

Went back to the hotel and checked e-mails and stuff like that. AdZ passed out again.

Quiet day.
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2007, 04:51:16 PM »




July 20th: Tokyo -> Osaka

Woke up at 6:30 in sunny Tokyo.

By 8am, we were on the Shinkansen to Osaka where we arrived after a smooth journey at around 11.

Went out and got lunch before going to the hotel. We had to wait for a while before checking in and then we went out again to do the tourist thing. Ended up in Umeda where we went to the Umeda Sky Building.

Had some dinner in Umeda before meeting Tetsuya (we've been on the same GN'R mailing list for ages) who took us to Shinsaibashi and Amemura for some shopping. I went into this tiny store to check out their t-shirts. Tetsuya started talking to one of the guys who worked there and I guess he mentioned that we were in town to see GN'R. They told us some GN'R members had just been in there. They showed us a signed pic with Chris', Frank's and Ron's signatures on it as well as pics on their digital camera. Funny timing.


Then we went to a yakitori place around the corner for chicken and beers. Nice!


July 21st: Osaka -> Kyoto -> Osaka

The plan was to go to Kyoto yesterday, but since the tourist spots close at 5PM and we checked in at 2PM, we decided to go to Kyoto before the show on Saturday instead. As I mentioned earlier, gotta make the most of the time in Japan.

So we got up early and took the train to Kyoto. Arrived an hour later and went up to the tourist office at the station.

They gave us maps and directions on how to get to the Golden Pavilion Temple by bus. It took longer than expected, but we got there and walked in.

The Golden Pavilion is the ultimate MTV Cribs episode. The entire pavilion, except the basement floor, is covered with pure gold leaf!


Kyoto is so different from Tokyo and Osaka so it was very nice to get to see that. Even if out visit only lasted for a few hours.

Hopped on the bus back to the station and back to Osaka to get ready for the show.



Walked from the hotel to the venue and the sun was shining. It was the hottest day of our stay. The sun starts shining when our tour is ending.

Met up with Hiromi, sukeberon, djcleaver, suntorytime, tetsuya and company at the venue. Nice bunch of people.

The last show of the tour was the best one of the five I saw in Japan.


Everything just seemed to click and once again, great audience. I was told that Osaka is a rock city. I guess they were right.

Afterwards I ended up in a club doing shots before going to another place where several band members jammed on a bunch of songs.

Early in the morning, we had to leave to check out and get to the airport.

So we walk out, hail a cab, get to the hotel, pack, check out, get a car to the airport and then wait since the check in desks for our flight weren't open yet.

I tried to stay awake until check in opens. I think I managed, but I'm not sure.

One person who didn't manage to stay awake was AdZ. He passed out as soon as we sat down. Then when I woke him up for check in, he wasn't exactly happy.

We check in, pass through security and go get some breakfast. The place is the worst place I've encountered in Japan. They have food which is basically microwaved as customers order them.

Eventually we get on board the flight to Amsterdam and both of us just pass out. Land in Amsterdam in the afternoon and I have time to kill. I just walk around Schiphol to stay awake before passing out on the flight to Sweden. Eventually I arrive at home around 1am. 24 hours after we left the hotel in Osaka.

What a trip it's been!

I would've done it all over again the next day!




Thanks to everybody who made this an amazing experience.

It was nice meeting some of you who post here, and also those who don't post but know of the site.  beer




/jarmo

« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 03:34:11 PM by jarmo » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2007, 04:58:13 PM »

Unreal.  How lucky you were, and how jealous I am.  Thank you for sharing the photos and experiences...   beer
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2007, 05:02:42 PM »

cool man, woulda' loved to be in your shoes those weeks Grin
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2007, 05:05:40 PM »

Sounds like one hell of a trip, although that's to be expected.  Thanks for sharing the stories and the pictures Jarmo
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2007, 05:19:29 PM »

What a great read Jarmo, congratulations. It seems it was an amazing adventure, and you dont have an idea how I envy you for attending the last japanese show with that hell of a setlist

Ended up getting drunk after the show somewhere in Roppongi.

that's the rock and roll attitute  hihi
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2007, 05:27:06 PM »

Jarmo, can we trade lives?
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2007, 05:39:15 PM »

I didn't read it all but I like the photo presentation Jarmo.

Was that a template from somewhere?
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2007, 05:46:51 PM »

I didn't read it all but I like the photo presentation Jarmo.

Was that a template from somewhere?

No, I just threw it together tonight.



/jarmo
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2007, 06:05:58 PM »

I always dreamed of going to Japan. I'm very respectful of their culture and traditions and it sound so interesting to me for some reason. And obviously, I know a little bit about the rock band Guns N' Roses and enjoy their concerts (Grin), so...all I can say right now, after reading your diary is...how to put it nicely...? You're a fuckin' lucky motherfucker and I wish I had been there.

Wink

* sips a glass of French wine in despair *
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2007, 06:20:51 PM »

Do you ever get to talk to Axl?
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2007, 06:26:01 PM »

That was a nice read...  ok
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2007, 06:48:05 PM »

I didn't read it all but I like the photo presentation Jarmo.

Was that a template from somewhere?

No, I just threw it together tonight.



/jarmo

Looks good.
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2007, 06:49:22 PM »

I didn't read it all but I like the photo presentation Jarmo.

Was that a template from somewhere?

No, I just threw it together tonight.



/jarmo

Looks good.


Thanks.

I think it turned out quite nice......  hihi



/jarmo
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2007, 06:59:52 PM »

Thanks for putting that together for us to read Jarmo.

Glad you had a great time.
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2007, 07:04:20 PM »

I enjoyed reading about your trip. Do you have any pics of "Mini Axl?"  hihi
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« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2007, 07:35:33 PM »

Thanks for posting man, that was a good read.  must have been quite the vacation!!!!
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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2007, 07:52:50 PM »

great read! glad to hear you had a great time jarmo, pictures were amazing.

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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2007, 08:12:05 PM »

that is so kool !
i love the mini axl part lol.
glad you had a good time !
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