Wednesday, 18 March 2015

東京 | Tokyo (7) - The Last Day

Found this set after scouring Japan these past 3 trips. Just after buying a slightly-less-cool one.
Our last day was a bit of a weird one, because we knew we'd be ending it early in order to go grab our luggage and head to the airport for a less-than-comfortable sleep in the waiting room.

We ended up not risking doing anything too major, and just went back to Akihabara to spend the last of our yen and play some last few games.

My mantra for this place: I do not need any more plush toys. Repeat.
I could never live in Tokyo because I'd always be painfully poor and would probably die in an avalanche of anime memorabilia crammed dangerously into my cheap little 4-tatami bedsit (that I can't even afford because of my terrible spending habit). Oh well. Go out doing what you love, eh.

I wanted this so badly.
You can buy room interiors for your figurines and the displays are incredible.
Learning from experience, we got to Akihabara at a decent time and found it as busy and hectic as we'd been expecting the first time around. It probably helped that it was a weekend.

Girls cosplaying as an Idol group, quite possibly selling something.

A juice carton punching a slice of tomato while some sort of alien looks on: This place in a nutshell.
The ludicrous display outside encouraged us to step in and have a look around, rewarding us with various niche cosplays, a gigantic marble run, snacks, and...Occulus Rift demos?

Finally, having whittled our money down to mere coinage, we proceeded to spend it all in one of the enormous, towering arcades that can be found seemingly every few feet.

My highest score yet, I think!
We also FINALLY managed to get to a purikura booth
The purikura booth was far more confusing and convoluted than any photo booth has a right to be. But then this is Print Club. The first rule of Print Club is...I dunno. Something about looking flawless and going to any means to get that perfect photo?

In fairness these are pretty hefty pieces of kit. We went into one particularly eye-blindingly bright booth and spent about 5 minutes trying to work out where to put the money in. Turns out most modern purikura booths have 2 parts to them, the photo studio and the post-processing studio.

After blagging our way through several screens of indecipherable Japanese and panicked yelling because everything here has a timer attached to it (which I guess is fine if you can actually read what's on the screen), the touchscreen prompted for us to finally enter the booth, where we were faced with a gigantic lens attached to what I'm pretty sure was a Canon 5d. Not bad for a photobooth.

There's panels of light EVERYWHERE and a green or bluescreen descends from some hidden part of the ceiling, at which point you're prompted to start...doing something. Who knows. We probably stood there posing for a while before realising we were actually supposed to be calibrating the camera so it was the right height. A NICE ADDITION, THANK YOU.

Anyway, we muddled our way through the confusing screens, should we pose? Are we supposed to be doing something? And in the end felt pretty sure that we'd have some works of art coming our way. The thing ended and prompted us to go outside and into the other booth in order to edit our photos. Again, we were faced with too much writing and not enough understanding, and after randomly selecting a few seemingly-identical options (who knows what we chose or missed out on!) we were finally able to get on with what I knew purikura for:

Drawing all over your beautiful poses.

Really, it was more of a case of clicking randomly and hoping for the best through trial and error, which didn't work out too badly. But again, the timer was a rather looming threat. Not to mention the sheer amount of time we spent marvelling aghast at how many liberties the machine had taken with smoothing out our faces, enlarging our eyes and tidying our hair. There's two stylus pens and a touchscreen split into two, so you can maximise on your editing time by having two people hurriedly working on two photos at any one time, which is nice.

Apparently they don't expect males to use their machines, because it slapped a faint sheen of lipstick on all of us by default. Maybe there's a way to turn it off, but it was too hilarious to bother, and we actually ended up adding more makeup in a few photos, including gracing Nick's face with false eyelashes.

Finally, the timer ran out and we were presented with our masterpiece. Grotesque and gorgeous in one kawaii package, everything I'd ever hoped for.

Samurai/Shogun redesigns of Darth Vader and a Trooper in a little free exhibition we found.
Tokyo in a nutshell, part 2
We continued wandering until we decided it was time to head to the airport. We took the same train that we'd used to get to Ikebukuro on the first day (more expensive this time, though), checked our main luggage, and began the slow descent into waiting room hell.

If bored: take selfies.
To give an idea, I started off at about 7 or 8pm pretty happy to lounge around the empty airport, using the wifi and generally being a nuisance to my friends. The airport is open 24h a day, understandably. However, they do shut off some areas late at night to make things easier to control, so we ended up having to set up camp in another part of the departures lounge. I was alarmed that we'd end up really hungry, as the 7-11 we'd been planning on visiting for food later on was in the area that we'd just been booted out of.

Worry not. A path had been set up so people could walk to and from the shop, so later on in the evening we stocked up on various things, and continued to play those sort of ridiculous technology-less waiting games that only the truly desperate play.

After a while everyone else went to sleep, leaving me mysteriously awake, and further unable to sleep thanks to some random Tito a few seats away who had apparently taken it upon himself to Skype the Philippines at about 3am and proceed to yell in his best Filipino-on-the-phone voice. Sus!

I'm happy to announce we arrived safely back in Incheon without any blood on my hands.

Oh! And when we finally collected our bags and went to get the bus home, look who we bumped into!

Photo stolen from Nick
Yoo Jae Suk! One of the few Korean celebs I actually recognise and know the name of. We wanted to try and get a photo with him or signature or something, but there were too many other people, so this oddly artistic photo, and the knowledge that he waved at us (before coming through the arrivals gate and before we'd realised who he was - we thought it was just a really friendly guy, damn!) will have to do.

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