Japan trip 2018 pt 2: Swords, Asakusa, Tokyo Tower, giant ice cream, friends

I was so excited for Monday morning’s pro practice at Groundslam. I hoped to see all my old training partners, especially famous veterans like Caol Uno and Hideo Tokoro who are still fighting. They always trained well with me, using great control, but going hard enough that I didn’t feel like they were babying the ‘girl’ fighter, you know?

So class was supposed to start at 9:30 and I knew everyone came late. Seiichiro-san opened the door at 9:30 and Serena and I quickly changed and started warming up. Nobody came. Like an hour later, Nakadai “The Shark” came, but I’ve never really trained with him because he’s huge and scary. lol (nice guy, though) Seiichiro-san had a broken nose so he wasn’t training. The gym owner and head instructor Katsumura-san said numbers have been low lately because people don’t have fights coming up. One young guy who was fighting in Pancrase came and Serena and I both sparred him, in addition to each other.

I’m glad we got some training in!

After that, I took Serena to where I used to live in Hirama and we had sushi with my host mother from my study abroad days. It was nice to chat with her again! She’s in her early eighties so I’m just glad she’s still healthy and moving around. She took a train an hour to see me! <3 After that, we still had time before dinner with Mami, so we went to Ikebukuro and found the giant Animate anime/manga store.
I didn’t find any Boruto stuff I wanted, or Hakuouki, or most of the other stuff I was watching… I already have some cool My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan stuff. I was kind of disappointed, actually, that they didn’t have merchandise for the anime I was currently watching. Oh well.

On the way back, we found Shakey’s Pizza Ikebukuro branch and ordered a GIANT ICE CREAM PARFAIT!!!!! 😀

Brittany and I used to get them in Yokohama all the time, but they stopped serving it for some reason, and were very hard to deal with, so we started boycotting Shakey’s. lol I’m so excited that Shakey’s Ikebukuro still serves them. The waitress said it’s on the ‘secret menu.’ YAY! 😀 Why secret?!? It’s sooo good! Yay I’m so happy! we ate it all. 😀 The waitress said, “It’s usually for 3-4 people, are you okay?” I was like, “Yeah, we’re Americans, it’ll be fine!”

We met my former student friend Mami in Noborito and had dinner at my favorite Izakaya restaurant, Tofuro! 😀 Delicious food and cool Edo atmosphere. I try and see Mami every time I visit Japan, but last year she was away, so it had been two years since we last met. 🙂 She got lots of good English practice listening and talking to Serena. 😀 I miss you, my friend! <3

On Tuesday, I worked out in my room, doing hot yoga, 100 push ups, 120 sit ups, squats, arm curls and presses with the heavy table and chair in my room, and whatever calisthenics I could do.

It was supposed to rain a lot due to the typhoon coming, so although we had plans to visit Asakusa, we changed them and visited this sword museum that a friend recommended. It was great!

I knew there was a long process involved in making a sword involving folding, but I didn’t know the details. Well, I learned them! It was so cool! They had English explanations and models of swords in various points of creation.
Grace met up with us, my former co-worker friend. I’m so happy she happened to have the day off! 😀 I really enjoyed spending the time with you, Grace!!

After that, it still wasn’t raining so we decided to go to Asakusa after all! We ate lunch at a small Japanese restaurant and then went!
The paper lantern at Kaminari Mon was half pulled up…maybe because of the typhoon??

It’s a good idea.
I bought and ate lots of kaminari okoshi and ningyo yaki! 😀 And Black Sesame ice cream! XD

We saw Sensoji temple. It was so awesome. I always take my first-time-to-Japan friends here, but I really enjoy it myself and sometimes go myself. Just like I’m an MMA fan in addition to being a fighter, I’m a Japan-lover myself in addition to being a resident. lol

In the evening, we had dinner with my old coach and friend Kunioku-san! It was fun to hang out and eat Brazilian BBQ!

On Wednesday, Serena and I visited Gold’s Gym in Oomori and did some strength training, as well as light grappling and striking, since we left our gear at Groundslam. ^^;;

We then went to Tokyo Tower! 😀 It was sunny and relatively nice weather.

They had a One Piece exhibit that I kind of wanted to go to but resisted. Instead, I took a most awesome picture with life-size Luffy and Chopper! We’re both of the same mind…. Become the strongest Pirate King! Become Champion! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

The One Piece anime inspires me so much.

AND I FOUND HAKUOUKI MERCHANDISE BUT THEY WOULDN’T SELL IT TO MEEEeeeeeeeee… I considered, for about ten seconds, running off with the life-size cardboard cutout of Hijikata. *_* I settled for being an adult and taking a picture. It was very difficult….

So you see, when I go to Japan and go to Animate, I often see merchandise for anime I’ve never seen because it’s popular in Japan but hasn’t made it to America yet, so I take a picture and look it up when I get home. Sometimes, like Hakuouki and Noragami, I LOVE IT and wish I had bought something, so when I go back the following year, I look for stuff but they’re all GONE-ZO because it was ‘last year’s thing.’ ;_; So therefore I’ve been looking for Hakuouki stuff for the past two and a half years but couldn’t find anything. I also couldn’t find stuff online. TO FIND stuff and not be able to purchase it was soooo frustrating.
Roxy: Can I buy this?
Staff: No, it’s just a display model.
Roxy: Please?
Staff: No.
Roxy: Please?
Staff: No.
Roxy: Please?
Staff: No.

We had a little time before meeting my friend Ben, and Serena wanted to stop by Akihabara so we did. I’ve only really found video game places, no real anime places, so I was like whatever. BUT the FIRST store we went into had NINE FLOORS OF ANIME GOODS PARADISEEEEEEEE. And I FOUND HAKUOUKI STUFF!!!

I got a magnet, a wall scroll, and a “laughing under the clouds” figurine! That’s another ‘take a pic and watch later and next year can’t find merchandise’ example that I’ve been struggling with for about three years now. YAY K-Books! I love you! And good call Serena!
Serena said, “Our wallets were getting beat up, taking hit after hit!” haha so true. That wall scroll was $30 and I dished out that money so fast I almost dropped my wallet. lmao

We met my friend Ben in Kawasaki and enjoyed a few hours of tea! 😀 It’s been too long! I forgot how much I enjoyed our intelligent conversations.