OPERATION: DOWNFALL (The Invasion of Japan for Otaku Purposes [aka ODTIJOP])


Day 6: Monday, October 17th, 2011

Mehve and I got up at 9AM, did our Japanesey morning rituals (cleaning ourselves up, me eating a sugary, delicious, quick breakfast, all while watching some insane TV show on the small television in the room), and then made it to the railway station near the giant Senso-ji Buddhist temple (that we visited that Saturday) in order to catch the only train heading to Nikko for the much vaulted Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival of Powah.

Mehve had read up on this Japanese fiesta and found that it had traditional fair stalls (games and food), a parade with thousands of men and women in historic costumes (the Hyakumono-Zoroe Sennin Gyoretsu), and war horses, weapons, and everything traditionally cool about ancient Japan on display! It sounded pretty sweet when he proposed it as the day's activity, so I jumped in on it immediately. The Parade of the Ages was to begin at noon, but we figured we had another costumed parade scheduled for later in the trip, and that if we just went for the mountain shrine and temple atmosphere and basic celebrations we'd still have a great time.

So anyway, we made it to the Asakusa Station by 11AM, couldn't figure the train schedule out to save our gaijin lives, and essentially just stood around the ticketing office for a few minutes looking confused as fuck (not an act) until an extremely nice agent came up to us and asked us what we needed. That's when my Engrish kicked in.

Ticketing Woman: "Herro, how may I herp you?"

That's a spicy curry!Me: "Ahhh, herro, ticket-san. Hai. We want to go to Nikko. Hai. Biiiiiiiiiiig-u festivar in Nikko-cho. We want to see many beautifur costumes-u. Prease-u herp us to go to there. Arrigatou gozaimas-u!"

Ticketing Woman: "Oh no! This is terrible! You go too rate! Parade over in one hour. No. You no want to go to Nikko. Iye."

Me (confused): "Ahhhhhh soooooo.... Ummmm, hai, we stirr-u want to go to Nikko. Sumimasen. Nice-u temples and shrines, and fun Hyakumooooo.... Hyakumomo-Zo.... Zoro......... Fun festivar to eat and dance good times-u at! Hai! Arrigatou!"

After a few more minutes of back and forth semi-intelligible banter like this Mehve and I thought we'd understood the poor helpful woman. She was telling us that the parade started at noon and was only an hour. Even if we took the Super Speed Train (I swear that's what they called the direct line) at 11:30 we'd still not make it to Nikko till 1, and not to the temple and shrine area of the town until 1:30. Yes, we understood her... The parade would be over in an hour and we'd miss it. Big whoop-di-do. We assured her it was okay by us, and she was even kind enough to book us a full Nikko package that included the train tickets, busses to and from the temples and shrines, and admission fees for the temples and shrines. We high fived each other as we boarded the Super Speed Train and yelled out "Gaijin SMASH!" as we took our seats.

Two gaijin fools on a train

And so it began... the journey of a lifetime of that morning.


Beautiful countryside.


The train ride was quick enough (Mehve insisted on buying a pretty groady boxed lunch on the ride, but I declined because I like my stomach and didn't want to start any trouble with it), and the bus ride up to the temples and shrines was kind of crazy (well, we were trying to translate the purely Japanese maps we were given by Ticket-san to figure out what stop we needed to get off at), but we eventually made it to the festival grounds at 1:35PM on the dot.... and it was OVER. Done. Fin. Kaput. No more. It was an EX-festival. About 10 food or souvenir stalls were still being dismantled (with maybe 3 still selling their leftovers... I quickly grabbed some fish cakes), all the rest were already taken down and taken away. There were no people in period costumes to be seen either. It was absolutely amazing. Within another 15 minutes of our arrival even the stuff that we had bought snacks from was gone... If somebody had arrived at 2PM that day they would NEVER have known that there was any parade or party that went on that morning. The Japanese are so weirdly efficient to the point where it hurts them commercially. They could have been selling sweets and octopus balls to shrine/temple goers all day if they wanted to (the place got pretty packed that afternoon). So strange...

Nikko, japan

Nikko is the epitome of the term "small mountain town."


No food left in Nikko, japan

This is all that was left from what was described on the website as "The greatest costumed festival in all of Japan! Super delicious food being sold for your purchasing, and many girls to look at in costume and not in costume of period. Many super good times for you and family to be doing in Nikko! Hello." Just 4 partially disassembled food carts with only one still selling anything. Apparently no gods of Capitalism made it to the shrines this deep in the woods.


Mehve and I then spent some time walking around all the shrines and temple grounds (collectively known as "jingu-ji"), laughing at all the children on their field trips, mocking the other few gaijin we came across who had yet to master the Gaijin SMASH, and pretty much just took as many awesome pictures of the area (my GOD was the scenery magnificent!), the buildings, and me doing photogenically sweet things in front of ancient sacred shit as we could.

We hung around, hitting all the temples and shrines that we had admission tickets to, until around 4PM that day, then we caught the bus back to the train station. We found that we could take the 5PM regular train (no Super Speed Train until much later, if at all [I don't rightly remember if a return Super Speed Train was even an option for the day]) to Tokyo, and it would get us back to the Asakusa Station by 7:20. In the mean time, we went over to the Cutie Cats Cafe (just a local "family restaurant" across from the Nikko Train Station that had a bit of everything on the menu) and had a late lunch.

Nikko, japan

The biggest ancient building they had up in Nikko was unfortunately under construction in order to fix up, well, pretty much everything. They were taking donations and stuff, but they didn't allow photos inside the complex and I as they pushed me out the back door for brandishing my camera and allowing my flash to go off in their "sacred place" I pulled out a ¥1,000 bill, wiped my ass with it, then spanked my ass, then waved the currency at the angry pushy people, then shook my head and put the moneys back in my wallet. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck 'em.


No food left in Nikko, japan

I am in soooooooo many Japanese tourists' vacation pics for these glorious 2 weeks. I just know it. It's not like I was intentionally photo-bombing them or anything, they just took 50,000 photos of the same shit and never got out of the way. I was in *BAM!* out *ZIP!* done with all my shots. Japan, for a camera-hungry nation you still gots a lots to learn about trip photography.

Oh, and if you were in Japan for the 2 weeks in question (mid to late October, 2011), and you find me in the background (or foreground) of any of your shots, I will give you a prize!*

(*this prize will be a naked picture of me... take it or leave it)


Shrines and Temples

Japanese people are short. That's the joke.


Shrines and Temples

Just look at the gorgeous and breath-taking scenery! THIS is what Japan is all about. And I just make everything better.


Shrines and Temples

See what I mean?


Nikko SG-1

Okay, as cool as their primitive Star Gates were that they had in the shrine and temple grounds, I was missing a testicle when I came out this portal on the other side of the giant jingu-ji property. Mehve lost his right buttocks, so I guess I can't complain too much.


Shrines and Temples and Ryoko

Goddammit! Then Mehve had to go steal the shrine priest's keys and wake up the sexy demon imprisoned on the land. My god her titties were magnificent!


Shrines and Temples

We were told that the ring toss could bring one great luck.... I missed every throw. But I still survived the Kaiju attacks, the radiation from Fukushima, and I never got convicted for killing any locals after my Blind Canadian Rage went off like a Hulk-powered atom bomb when they kept pointing and sniggering at me.... Pointing... Laughing.... Gesticulating..... Guffawing..... No... It's okay, I'm okay.... Deeeeeep breath. I'm good.


Shrines and Temples

Fuck Christianity: "Here, read this book about talking snakes and zombie carpenters, then come to church and pray every Sunday while you never touch yourself again or think any naughty thoughts about sexy nuns for as long as you live!"

Buddhism's all like: "Just walk the route to happiness.... Here, we'll even show you where it starts and where it goes."


Shrines and Temples

Lots and lots and lots of steps all over the goddamn place in that jingu-ji. Do NOT go on any cultural tours of Japan if you have a bad back, shot knees, or are just one fat motherfucker. Especially that last one. The ambulances over there just can't handle your fat gaijin ass. Do some treadmill stuff, fatty.


So, back to the Cutie Cats Cafe (or whatever the hell it was really called). I was dying to try some local Japanese curry after Mehve talked it up like crazy the previous day, so I ordered that and a Kirin biru; Mehve got himself an omulettu rice-u.... Holy shit... That thing... Ugh. Now, I've seen omelette rice made and served in countless anime before (usually with somebody's name or a "heart" drawn on it in ketchup), but it didn't prepare me for one in real life. That thing looked absolutely disgusting once Mehve started diving into it... "Omulettu rice-u" is basically a very flat omelette folded over rice that looked like it was bathed in ketchup, with squiggles of ketchup on top. Yeah, my Japanese curry looked gross too, but at least it was edible (if not way too sweet, and not spicy in the least). I tried some of Mehve's dish and immediately regretted it. I needed another Kirin just to make the flavor go away. Mehve was nonplussed though, and quickly finished it all off. Then we both had girly meron soda floats for dessert because fuck you! Okay, THOSE femaley sweets were the most excellently perfect confectionery dish I had ever had up until that day... At least they tasted that way to a parched me after a so-so "baby" curry and a few birus. I wish I could get meron soda by the gallon in the States...

Nikko, japan Cutie Cats Cafe.

I could make any number of pussy jokes here, but let's just pretend we're grown ups for a minute, alright? Good. Now just let it go.


Disgusting meal time!

The SECOND least appetizing meal of the whole trip. Trust me, number one trumps it by a landslide. For the most part though, the rest of the meals we had were pretty dang spectacular. This was definitely one of the rare ones.


No food left in Nikko, japan

First, please notice that I actually did eat all of my Little Prince Curry. It was tough, but I was very hungry. Second, make note that only I can make sucking on a meron soda float look absolutely goddamn sexy!!! Wow!


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