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Sebastian  P.

Trip to Tokyo

Let's take a vacation from regionals and visit the beautiful city of Tokyo.

10/21/2015 by Sebastian P.

Intro

 

Hey guys, today I want to take some time to talk about my recent trip to Tokyo.
Before we start I'd like to thank both 60cards and most importantly you guys for voting on my article in the most recent contest, that playmate will definitely become a valuable companion.
Also congratulations to the other winners, Mario, Luca and Jesper, as well as the author who won the display, who's name has yet to be revealed.
So without further ado, let's dive right into this casual article, to ease our minds after the regional events, for the next one I promise to include more Pokemon related content again ;).

 

Tokyo

 

After finishing my bachelor thesis early in September I decided that it was time to take a vacation from the hectic life. Japan is a country that has always fascinate me, not particular due to the Manga, Anime and Kawai culture that is so popular here in the west, but rather due to the landscape, the history and the lifestyle, so I checked in my local travel agency and found an affordable 7 day trip to Tokyo.
The first thing I noticed on the first day at my hotel in Shinagawa was the absence of any westerner in the entire hotel, which had almost 500 rooms on 19 floors. Apparently the area wasn't particular sought out by tourist and after strolling through the neighbourhood I could understand why, because Shinagawa had the charm of your ordinary suburban area, the biggest attractions being an aquarium, an old post office and a Japanese garden of roughly 33000 square meters. Nothing to fancy, but perfect for my intention to relax and experiencing the local customs. Although my Japanese is roughly on the level of my French, which is usually describe as “good enough to order a croissant, but that's about it”, it was quite easy to navigate my way trough town, using a mix of English, Japanese and the good old sign language. What I particularly enjoyed was the notion to simply walk in any direction in the morning, not knowing where my foot would take me, which lead to me missing a lot of the tourist filled “hot spots”, but instead enjoying such trivia content as a local little league baseball game, grilling with a Japanese family I met 5 minutes prior and joining in on the practice of a local tennis club. The greatest delight was definitely the people I met there and the general mentality displayed by the society. Being polite and friendly to each seemed to be as natural as breathing and it is no wonder that Japan has one of the lowest crime rates on the planet.

 


On the 3rd day I jumped into the quite complicated system of trains, subways and buses, that would eventually carry me trough Tokyo for the following days onwards, as there where a couple of locations I did not want to miss, including the electronic and entertainment district in Akihabara, as well as well as the "National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation Miraikan" in Odaiba, but will come to that later.

My first trip to Akihabara can be compared to a child walking into a candy shop for the first time. No matter who you are, your first visit to this place will fill your taste for loud noises, colourful lights, anime characters and geek culture for the next weeks, because over the course of several blocks you are literally bombarded from each side by another crazy attraction. Arcade machines, action figures, electronic devices, suspiciously looking anime dolls and everything else the nerd heart could possibly want, all combined with a crowed of interested tourists, locals with a bad taste in personal hygiene and Japanese girls who constantly want to take a picture with you in their impressive cosplay outfits, for money mind you, all of those things combined and more, that is Akihabara.

 


After overcoming the first shock I found my composer and remembered what I was looking for, a store that sells “Magic the Gathering” cards, as I wanted to pick up a couple of small pieces for my collection. On the way I stumbled upon a card shop that was mainly into “Yu-Gi-Oh” and of course “Pokemon”, where I witnessed an ongoing Expanded tournament with a quite interesting deck coming in first place.

 


According to the pilot he used it mainly as a tool to fight Yveltal, as well as providing an edge against the Jacob Van Wagner list and in other match-ups as well. He eventually took home first place and although my own testing with the list haven't been as successful, especially against the ever so popular Girantina-Toad deck, I still like the general thought process behind the deck.
Another thing that caught my attention was the impressive collection of cards in the store, most importantly their low prizes on current cards. I saw multiple Shaymin-EX for 2200 Yen, less than 20 Euro, though I still had the mission to hunt down MtG cards, so I passed on the bargain for that day, swearing that I'd come back in a couple of days if I had enough cash left.
Unfortunately God punishes the timid ones, so naturally all of the Shaymins were sold out when I returned. Angry at myself I proceeded to buy 5 5-card packs for 150 Yen each, as well as a couple of card stacks for 100 and 200 Yen, that would usually include up to 100 cards from various sets. Nothing to fill my decks really, but hey, it was only 100 Yen.

Was it worth it, well, take a look yourself.

 


Opening the SR M-Rayquaza did lighten my mood from missing out on those Shaymins a bit.

 

Small interlude: Last week I stumbled upon a tournament rule that more or less blew my mind – the one that deals with foreign cards. So as an European I could face somebody from Spain, whose entire deck is in his native language, a language I don't speak mind you and this would be fine, however if I played against the same person with a set of Japanese Shaymins it wouldn't be allowed, because he can't read them ?
Please tell me that this rule isn't really taken serious in tournaments.

 

Later on the same day I took a stroll through Odaiba, located at the Tokyo bay, where I visited the current Pokemon exhibition in the above mentioned museum Miraikan.
Although I did not understand every task at first, it was quite some fun to slip into the role of a lab assistance, you know, those guys in Oaks laboratory that apparently only speak a single phrase, and learning about communication, evolution and the long term appeal of the franchise first hand.
In Odaiba I also met two signs that couldn't be more different,t yet somehow resemble the spirit of the whole place.
Upon the gates of the “DiverCity Tokyo Plaza”, a place especially sought after for his famous restaurants, I was greeted by a 30 meter tall Mech from the popular anime series “Mobile Suite Gundam”. In the middle of parks, the bay area, modern architecture and gourmet food, you'd expect that nothing could be more inappropriate than a giant robot, yet remarkably it did fit into the entire scenery with ease, because it is that certain love for the extravagant that makes this country so special.
Walking along the pier I gazed upon a sign that I'd never expected to see in Tokyo: Lady Liberty herself. Given the past between Japan and the USA, it was quite remarkable to see that this miniature statue is now a beloved sign by tourists and locals alike. Quite appropriately I had diner in a Hawaiian themed grill afterwards, listening to songs of Elvis Presley and enjoying a surprisingly good cheeseburger.

 

 

Eventually all tales have to come to an end and thus I'll stop here, although I could have gone on for a couple of pages more, but this would exceed the boundaries of this blog, so let me finish by saying that my week in Tokyo was one of the best experiences I had in recent years and that I'd fly again any time.

 

 

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