Tokyo Trip – Odaiba

The afternoon we spent in Odaiba was very, very tiring! Odaiba is a man made island in Tokyo Bay. Ang dami naming nilakad! There are several malls in Odaiba and we went inside all of ’em.

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Before heading to Odaiba, we passed by the Nippon Television Tower and saw this yellow thingie that Miko called PIKACHU. No kids, that is not a Pokémon. I have no idea who that is. :p

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Odaiba was initially built for military purposes in the 1800s, and  expanded as a seaport district in the late 20th century, and has developed since the 1990s as a major commercial, residential and leisure area

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One of the most popular things to see is the Rainbow Bridge. This is the bridge by day–

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The first mall that we visited (because it’s the closest to the train station) was Decks. Ang ganda. Mukha talagang decks with its wooden flooring. :D

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We had snacks at Anchors,

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just some assorted sausages, juice, and cola.

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But because my newbie legs and feet were aching from all the walking, I begged Miko that we stay a little longer and we had more refreshments. :P

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When I got some of my strength back, we went to Aqua City

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and we saw a replica of the Statue of Liberty. According to Wiki, The French Statue of Liberty came to Odaiba in the late 90’s in commemoration of “The French year in Japan”. Because of its popularity, in 2000 a replica of the French Statue of Liberty was erected at the same place.

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I don’t remember if LEGOLAND is inside this mall, but we decided not to visit it anymore, because there was still so much to see in the area. Like this Hello Kitty Store.

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Akalain mong pati dried fish at dried squid meron si Hello Kitty?

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Look at this Kitty Geisha! Ang cute cute!

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In Diver City Plaza, there’s the famous 18 meter tall Gundam statue!

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Katuwa kasi even the locals seemed excited to see the humongous robot.

 

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There’s this golden structure of some sort that caught our attention. Don’t know what it is, but it’s just magnificent.

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Here’s a better shot. Better kasi may sunflowers. I love sunflowers! :D

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And there’s a kiddie program being shot in the area. No, babe. That’s not Mojacko. :p

 

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And this architectural masterpiece is the Fuji television Headquarters. The building was designed by world-renowned Kenzo Tange. he also designed St. Mary’s Cathedral in Bunkyo. (I’ll be blogging about that soon.)

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Walang pinipiling lugar ang Minions. Pati pala sa Japan, popular sila!

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Hello there, Stuart, Bob and Kevin!

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Here’s our family portrait. Charot! :p

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Of course, Dragon Ball is popular here.

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And lucky cats.

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And this blue dog that’s called LAUGH THE DOG, No, baby. Hindi siya si Snoopy na nalubog sa asul na jobos. :p

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Miko looked for Tekken, but didn’t find the game in the arcade. (Naging successful naman siya when we went to Shinjuku a couple of days after.)

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And look! There’s Astroboy again! Ang sarap iuwi at isabit sa kwarto ko!

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Do you remember the Monchhichis? They used to have an animated tv series in the 80’s. Ang tawag ko nga sa kanila Ewoks. Hahaha. Eh baket ba, pareho naman silang furry.

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Saw this shop that stationery, fans, toiletries, etc. I took a photo of it because I like the store name. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept that deals with  one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is also a noodle shop at The Collective. :p

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Then finally, darkness fell and we saw the lights of the bay and the Rainbow Bridge.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see the bridge’s rainbow colors, but the view was still stunning. The towers supporting the bridge are white in color, designed to go with the skyline of central Tokyo. Lamps are placed on the wires supporting the bridge, which are illuminated into three different colors, red, white and green every night using solar energy obtained during the day.

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The rainbow lights we got to see were from the Daikanransha, located at Palette Town. It is one of the biggest ferris wheels in the world. The wheel is brightly lit by neon tubes programmed to display multiple patterns in over 100 colors.

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Hay Odaiba, nakakapagod kang galaan! But oh so fun!

Next stop– Shibuya!

*featured image from Wikipedia

// listening to Adele – Hello

Things You Need To Know About The Maneki-Neko

You’ve seen this popular pussycat for sure. They say this kitty with a “come here” gesture brings luck that’s why plenty of business establishments, even those small stalls in the streets have one. Here in Manila, you’re more likely to see this in Chinatown. Ahaaaa… But is it even Chinese?

Maneki Neko in Binondo

I’ve always called it Lucky Cat or Fortune Cat, but I found out recently that it’s Maneki-Neko, literally “Beckoning Cat” in Japanese. So yes, one of the most important things you need to know about it is that it originated from Japan and not China. Historians are still arguing if it originated from Osaka or Tokyo, though.

There’s a Japanese belief that a cat washing its face means a visitor will arrive soon. This is related to an old Chinese proverb that if a cat washes its face, it will rain. Thus, a belief was born that a figure of a cat washing its face would bring in customers.

Twin beckoning cats welcome visitors to Imado Shrine in Asakusa, Tokyo.

Twin beckoning cats welcome visitors to Imado Shrine in Asakusa, Tokyo.

Ang labo lang, di ba? Pusa… tubig… hugas mukha… and then boom… A talisman of good fortune! And get this, there’s more to the beckoning chubby arm of this feline figurine. The color, the paw, and the props like the coin and the bib play a part on what kind of luck Maneki-Neko gives its owner.

According to this blog that is solely dedicated to the Maneki-Neko, if the right paw is raised, it invites money and good fortune (usually to businesses) and if the left paw is raised, then it invites customers or people. It invites protection of home or business if both paws are raised. If it’s with a coin, it invites wealth and material abundance, and if it’s with a bib and bell, it relates to protection, as well as wealth and material abundance.

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Here are the colors and their specific charms–

Tri-color Cat: (modeled after the Japanese bob-tail breed, this is a popular & traditional color for lucky cats, beckoning general good luck, wealth, prosperity)
White Cat: purity, happiness
Black Cat: safety, wards off evil and stalkers
Golden Cat: wealth and prosperity
Red Cat: protection from evil & illness (especially illness in children)
Pink Cat: (a more modern color): love, relationships and romance
Green Cat: (also a modern color): educations/studies

Maneki Neko x Hello Kitty

Personally, I don’t believe in objects bringing me luck, but I’d like to get a Hello Kitty Maneki Neko when I visit Japan late this year. It wouldn’t bring me luck, but it would certainly bring cuteness to my room.

* All images were googled.

// listening to Paul Anka – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Of Monsters and Minions

Monsters Inc. is my favorite animated movie. I love it so much that I wanted to go as Boo in our department’s costume party two years ago! (I ended up being Tiger Lily na napagkamalang Pocahontas!) It’s great that even if it took more than a decade, a prequel was still released. Thank you, Disney Pixar!

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Before James P. Sullivan a.k.a. Sulley and Mike Wazowski became big shots in Monstropolis, they were young monsters who dreamed of becoming “scarers”. You know, those monsters who terrify the shit out of children so that the screams can power of Monstropolis. MU deals with how the blue and pink furry monster and one-eyed green goblin became friends.

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Monsters University is colorful, smart, warm and fuzzy! I love the flashback to Mike’s childhood, Dean Hardscrabbles toughlove style, why Boggs/Randall became angry with Sully, that chubby monster who looks like Russell from “Up”, and lovelovelove that apart from having wisdom embedded in the funny dialogue, it reminds the viewers of values such as loyalty, honor, fairness, honesty and perseverance.

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In other words, in a way, this is a movie about monsters teaching people not to act like monsters.

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I was underwhelmed when I saw Despicable Me in 2010. As far as supervillainy is concerned, the main man is still Megamind. And when it comes to adorability, Agnes is adorable with her chipmunk cheeks and fluffy unicorn but Boo is still my favorite girl. Anyway, who really cares about Gru or Agnes? Never mind if the synopsis in every movie website says it’s about ex-villain Gru outgrowing his ineptitude as a parent, falling in love and saving the world. No. This is a movie about those yellow creatures who speak in Italian-Spanish-and fruit.

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Despicable Me 2 or what I call Minions + Gru and a bunch other characters is funny and silly. A movie for kids– even if it’s really the adults who collected most of the Happy Meal toys for themselves. Haha! Aminin! The movie is cute, bur not as cute as the squeals of the delighted kids in the theatre. Personally, sana sa dvd ko na lang pinanood.

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Half of the movie is probably dedicated to the Minions. I have to admit that they are cute, especially in their song at the end. In fact, I like their version better than All 4 One. Grabe the addiction of some people to these yellow creatures! I have friends even older than me who flocked to Trinoma just for the meet and greet with the minions. And I’m sure your newsfeed was also flooded with the Happy Meal toys. Even my super macho friends collected!

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I overheard a couple of senior citizens talk about Despicable Me 2, that it is more popular than Superman. Sabi nga ni lola, it’s because they (the minions) are cuter. Well… Can’t argue with the majority. And the majority should be very happy that the Minions will have their own movie on 2014.

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Monsters or Minions? I say if you’re after the story, go for Monsters University. If you’re after cuteness, watch Despicable Me 2. If you have a lot of time to kill (like me), watch both. :) Enjoy!

// listening to the replay of The Voice of the Philippines