Japan 2012 Travel Diary, Day 3

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Thursday started off on a sour note – a combination of late night, rich food and left-over jet lag kept Wifey and I in bed for half the day nursing some unintended nausea. Once we got over this setback, it was go-time again! First stop was heading out to Suidobashi, near Tokyo Dome City, to go budo shopping.

Having studied karate for a number of years with some limited experience in kobudo, I was keen on bringing something back that was practical as well as being a momento from the trip. Following some advice from Sensei Chris Gillies (of Soukoban) and using Google Maps, I found a couple of places opposite Tokyo Dome City to check out. One of the bigger stores were closed up from 2pm onwards so we missed it by the time we got there (my Japanese wasn’t clever enough to ascertain why), but we ended up walking down a bit closer to the Suidobashi Station and happened upon the legendary Suidobashi budo shop run by a now-elderly couple after decades of service in the area (it was also incidentally the store I wanted to visit after reading up on it online).

While my command of Japanese was poor, with some discussion I was able to explain what I was after (a shorter, wakizashi-sized iaito, since I wasn’t confident of squeezing a fuller-sized iaito in our luggage). This done, the sword was bought, wrapped in a purple slip and boxed up and ready to go. Full of gratitude (which I offered profusely, as it was an amazing experience), we jumped back on the train to head to Akabanebashi for the next stop – Tokyo Tower!

As a comfortably-nerdy anime fanboy, visiting Tokyo Tower was a bit of a pilgrimage – it’s been a focal point of so much anime, from Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, X, and has also found its way into a handful of game titles (the most memorable to me being the Tokyo Tower-inspired level in VF3). By the time we made it down to Tokyo Tower it was starting to get dark, and combined with a clear sky, it was an amazing sight to behold as evening gave way to dusk, and then eventually dusk gave way to night.

After navigating back to the first floor (we came up the street ramp which was actually the second floor) and paying the admission price, we headed up to the main observation deck for an amazing night-time view of Tokyo. The night was capped off by a trip to the food court for some ramen to nurse our slightly wonky stomachs before heading back to the hotel.

While it certainly wasn’t the day we had originally planned, the end result was still amazing 🙂

To view all posts on the Japan 2012 Travel Diary, just use the 2012 Japan Trip tag, as the whole series will be added to it over time.