Friday, June 23, 2017

My First Week in Japan Part 2

Here is the rest of my first week here in Japan.

On Saturday, I went on the train to go to Nara with two people from the summer program and two Japanese students.

Sometimes in Japan, they have promotions on the trains. I had no idea that Thomas the Tank Engine was so big in Japan. It reminded me of my childhood so much.
As soon as we got to Nara, we first got maps and fliers of the place, then we first went out for lunch.

I had curry with pork cutlet on the side. I also got an orange juice that came in a glass like the kind you get at A&W when you order root beer. It was really good.
In Nara, there is this shop there that sells mochi. The shop itself became famous on YouTube when someone posted a picture of them making mochi. I managed to get one fresh off the pounder for only 130 yen. I personally didn't like it that much because it had a red bean filling and I don't like beans, but I'm very glad I tried it. If you are in the area and you're okay with beans, definitely try it.

I personally didn't get any pictures of the mochi (I was too far in the back), but here's a video from YouTube that gives the overview.




Nara has many old temples, but the thing its most famous for is the deer; they are super friendly. You can buy some deer crackers for about 150 yen to feed them with. However, you have to be very careful; if they see you eating something and you don't share, they can get vicious. We heard this one kid yell out "They're carnivores!" I talked with one guy who is from Nara when walking back to the seminar house one day and he was a bit shocked when I told him that in America, deer are food, not friends.

Here are some pictures on how close I was able to get to the deer.

The deer will literally allow you to pet them. It works best if you have food.
This is me feeding the deer. There are much smaller in Japan than they are in America.
The baby deer are still a little scared of people, but they'll get used to people soon enough. Give them food and they'll be fine.

We also saw two different shrines in Nara. The first was called the Todaiji Temple.







This is a recreation of different areas.

 
This is an example of old writing in Japan.

This statue has a special property; if you rub the part of its body that's ailing you, it will get better.
The second temple we went to is called the Kasuga Taisha Shrine. While I was there, I also did a small prayer at one of the smaller shrines there. I unfortunately only took one picture of the area.

There were stone lanterns everywhere. On the lanterns are people's names.
We also sat at a little cafe to rest our feet before heading back to the train station and going back to the seminar house.

On Sunday, my roommate, Yuuka, and I went with her parents to Toei Kyoto Amusement Park. Toei Company Ltd. is a company that does film and TV production and distribution. The company itself has had a huge impact on Japanese pop culture over the years: it produces the Kamen Rider, Super Sentai (Power Rangers), and Pretty Cure series as well as having created the highly popular Gintama movie. The company has created a lot of different tokusatsu (live action dramas that use special effects) and jidaigenki (historical dramas). It's not an misstatement that Toei has had a big hand in Japan's pop culture.

Here are some pictures from the inside the museum part of the park.

These girls are from most of the different seasons of Pretty Cure, a magical girl series for little girls. The best description of it would be if Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon had a kid. The one with rabbit ears, Cure Whip, is from the current season, Kirakira PreCure A la Mode.

Many of the different Kamen Riders and Super Sentai/ Power Rangers from over the years.

Kamen Rider Ichigou (literally translates as Masked Rider First). The name is fitting because he is the first Kamen Rider on TV.

This is part of a timeline. It shows a lot of the different shows that Toei has created over the years. This part shows specifically Kamen Rider and Super Sentai.
From left to right, Akaninger, ZyuohEagle, ShishiRed, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Kamen Rider Ghost, Kamen Rider Drive. They are from the most recent/ current season of Super Sentai and Kamen Rider. Akaninger's season is currently airing in America under Power Rangers Ninja Steel.

Posing with Kamen Rider Ichigou and Nigou (Second). Nigou has red gloves and bots. They are both from the very first season of Kamen Rider. The reason Nigou was introduced was because the actor for Ichigou broke his leg while filming episode 10.
Riderman and Kamen Rider V3. Riderman is the only Kamen Rider ever have a name that includes Kamen Rider, but also the only one with a part of his body showing after he transforms (his mouth).

Kamen Riders (from left to right) Amazon, X, and Stronger. Amazon is currently being rebooted as Kamen Rider Amazons on Amazon Prime Japan.
Kamen Rider Black RX. This is the only Kamen Rider to ever have truly evolved from one Kamen Rider (Black) to another (Black RX) since it is still the same character. It is also the first of two American adaptations of Kamen Rider; Kamen Rider Black RX became Saban's Masked Rider.
Kamen Rider Kuuga. There were only a few movies in the 90s and Kuuga was the season that restarted the franchise. It is arguably the most important season as it threw out the old formula and allowed the series to grow into what it is today. Kuuga is the last series that the original creator had any input on since he died before the first episode aired (said episode is also dedicated to him). It also coined the term Odagiri Effect (you should read it, it's seen in a lot of different shows).

Akaranger and Ace Spade from Himitsu Sentai Goranger and J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai respectively. These are the first two seasons of Super Sentai and the only two to not feature a giant robot that they fight in.

With the exception of one, all of these suits are from Super Sentai only. The next pictures, with the exception of two, are from both series with one of the exceptions having their sixth ranger being in Power Rangers instead.





In the back side of the studio, there is an actual movie set. It is used in some productions and is open to the public. Once in a while, there will be shoots going on. There wasn't any going on the day I went, but there are still some really cool things to see there.


Yuuka's sign says something to the effect of "You are a bad person." Mine says "Not as bad as you are."

There are small shows going around the park sometimes. After this show (which demonstrated how to be a samurai), you could take pictures with the actors. Yuuka, Yuuka's parents, and myself are in this picture.

This is actually a recreation of a bridge called the Nihonbashi that is/ used to be in Edo (now Tokyo). It was the start of the five paths/ highways that went to other parts of Tokyo.
This is a picture from the top of the bridge.

Worst. Ninja. Ever.



You can go inside, but you have to take your shoes off because you'll ruin the tatami mats otherwise.


We also went inside of a trick house that was there.




There was also a stage show going on that showed the behind the scenes of samurai movies. I've included clips to the show that other people have recorded and posted them on Youtube, however the full one of them is in 360.



I have to say, my favorite thing that I did there was meeting the main heroes of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and Shishired respectively. I got to shake their hands. The pictures that I got were terrible, but luckily Yuuka's mother shared the photos she took with Yuuka who then shared them with me. Thank you so much!


Afterwards, we went to a nearby area (that I believe is) called Arashiyama. We went up to a shrine area and prayed. You throw in a five yen coin, ring the bell twice, bow twice, clap twice, and then pray. When you're done praying, you bow once more. This particular shrine is made for lasting relationships with people.

Yuuka's parents went first so that I could see how it was done.
Afterwards, we got pickles on a stick. Yuuka's mother also got a picture of me eating one.

We then made one last stop at a foot bath before heading out. For my tired feet, it was a godsend since I was walking all weekend.


This is the view from the foot bath. It's very beautiful view of the river and the mountain.
I had a pretty eventful weekend. I can't wait to see what I do and where I go next. I will hopefully be posting more things soon.