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


Day 4: Friday, October 14th, 2011

We woke up at 8AM and got rolling as quickly as we could. I slept like a log for the most part, despite a paper-thin pillow and Mehve's slight snoring (which I would remedy by either shouting out "Hey!" while shaking his bed like an earthquake, or throwing my paper-thin pillow at the source of the chainsaw-like sound coming from his side of the room).

Micu Reebu

I was absolutely amazed at what I saw on the streets that day: the goddamn MicuRibu sandwich was at Japanese McDonaldses! I thought this was only an Asian thing, and that they had always existed in the Land of the Rising Sun, but as soon as we got back home I found out that it was a limited time global occurrence, and that Japan wasn't as special as I once thought... It's like finding out about Santa Claus..... You know, that he hires underage elf prostitutes and pays to have them fuck him up his jolly ass with giant candy canes. Your world is just shattered...


Real school kids in dorky hats!I ate all my Pocky and we were out the front door and into the warm and sunny Tokyo morning by 8:45. We decided to go North this time (we had gone South then East the previous night), and so we just started walking. We took our time, took every back alley mini-shopping arcade we could find, made some mental notes for where some decent restaurants were (at least according to the plastic food they ALL had in display cases near every restaurant door), and after a few hours of stumbling along the Tokyo city streets, noticing just how many Lawsons, Family Marts, and 7/11s there are (to the point where every block we'd stop, point at a new convenience store sign and say "Oh! Thank God! A Lawsons!" or "Oh! Thank God! A Family Mart!" Yeah, it got old fast, but we kept doing it [even just looking out the windows on trains and buses], and it eventually got funny again. Super funny in fact!), and wondering just what in the hell all the yellow lines with regularly placed bumps in them on every sidewalk were all about, we came to a clearing and saw Tokyo Tower fully with our own eyes for the first time!... Meh, it's just a total rip-off of the Eiffel Tower, but candy canier. I was more impressed by Gamera truth be told.

Gamera! Gamera!

Tokyo Tower never really impressed me. I mean, it's the world's biggest and most obvious architectural rip-off, only painted a gaudy orange and white. True, it does get leveled by a giant kaiju every other year, but that's more of a detriment than a reason to go see it. That's like being told that the World Trader Center buildings were about to be hit by terrorist-flown jets some time in the late summer or early fall of 2001, and then rushing over there and going up to the observation decks to see if they're coming every day until you die a fiery death... Why?


Super secret shopping arcadeAs we were wandering around trying to find the best angle to get me, the Tower, and Gamera in the same shot, I saw my very first high school girl in her school uniform! It was an amazing sight, and I didn't even have to point out to Mehve what I had seen that made me smile like a stoner seeing a lava lamp for the first time — he saw it too, looked back at me and just said "Niiiiiiice" while slowly nodding his head. Unfortunately he refused to take a picture of me pretending to squeeze her ass. I think that's all our losses.

After a few more touristy photos we looked at our watches and realized that if we wanted to get some lunch before our afternoon tour we'd have to book it. So we began walking quickly through the semi-empty streets, trying to find our way back to one of the side-alley restaurants we had seen earlier. Well, we got lost like 5 times, but eventually found the little fox shrine down a 5-foot wide passage behind two apartments that looked haunted with scary Japanese ghosts, and we took a right, another right, and then a left and found the sushi bar we had made a note of earlier that day.

We walked in at around 11AM and were the first customers there. We got the (soon be expected) "Irashaima--....." which always trailed off when 6'4" white me walked into any place of business and they got their first real look at my giant form. The old people who ran this sushi place though recovered quickly enough, sat us (near the front of the rinky-dinky place! I was shocked and pleased that they didn't mind if their regulars saw me), and we ordered from the picture menus. We each got some big sushi samplers and some mizu. Not because we thought it was too early to start drinking heavily, but mainly because I found I loved saying "mizu onegaishimasu."


God fucking damn this was good. If you like raw fish, you need to go to Japan. Or become a bear. You know, move out to Alaska, eat fresh spawning salmon. The occasional dirty, nature-loving, douchebag hippie... But mostly fresh spawning salmon.


The food was absolutely fanfuckingtastic! Primo sushi chef! And they were so nice to two hapless, obvious, and oblivious gaijin such as ourselves. And the check in the end was super fucking cheap! It was only something like ¥1400 for each of us! Trust me, for sushi, especially in Tokyo, and especially especially that good, that's like getting a perfectly prepared 20-ounce prime rib for only $5 in the states. WITH a baked potato. And this sushi place never had anybody spit in our food either! (Trust me, it's hard to hide a loogie on a piece of rice and raw fish. And if they were able to hide any expectorations, then damn, I deserved to eat it.)

After our early lunch we resumed our hurried race through the winding and twisting streets of Tokyo back to our hotel in order to catch our 1PM tour... Our tour to the mothafuckin' Ghibli Museum, bitches!

Ssssuchi and Mc-uFlurry!

Yeah, I did make Mehve stop on our run back to the Prince Hotel in order for me to get a MicuFrurry... And no, it wasn't really the absolute bestest follow-up to incredible fresh sushi. In fact the MicuFrurry was pretty fucking awful. Look at it, I think those Oreo crumbs in it were an accident. Christ! In America you'd have the ice-cream pouring over the top of the plastic cup and at least half a bag of Oreos in that fucker! And this mini-Japanesey MicuFrurry was about $5 American. Fuck you, Japanese McDonalds! Yeah, you're one up with leading the charge with the MicuRibu, but you screwed up the MicuFrurry. Burn in Hell.


Oh yeah, that was one of the first things Mehve and I agreed upon: going to the Ghibli Museum and paying homage to the fantastic movie studio for all the joy and awesomeness they've brought the world over the years (mostly for Miyazaki's fantastic films, but also for The Cat Returns, Grave of the Fireflies, and Arrietty). The only real question was whether we wanted to open with Ghibli on our first full day, or push it off until later. We chose to open with an otakugasm BANG.

My first tissue hand out!

Ohmygawd! I am so proud of this! This is my first tissue hand out! As we were racing back to the hotel to meet up with the Ghibli Museum Tour, we came across some poor schlep on a street corner whose sole job was to pass out tissue packs with advertisements on them! Just like all those anime shows and manga when the loser main character can't get another job and has to settle for the absolute WORST form of employment ever, where people constantly ignore him or treat him like the pariahcal shitstain that he is! I of course grabbed a pack from him since it had a picture of a smiling sexy girl on it, but when I called the number on the back it just turned out to be a hotline for some wannabee facebook/myspace startup... At least that's what the woman behind the counter in the hotel lobby told me when I forced her to translate what the sexy voice on the other end was selling/saying... I had my credit card out and everything... They need to be sued for false advertising. I mean, it's a TISSUE pack! With a SEXY GIRL on it! What the hell is a horny guy supposed to think?!


Ghibli Tour GuideThe Ghibli Tour picked us up at our hotel's lobby, but we were then quickly bussed over to the Sunrise Tours bus terminal where we met up with the rest of our group and our tour guide, who then got us bussed over to a nearby train station where we were then trained over to the suburb of Tokyo where the museum's located. It was actually a pretty long ride, but it gave us time to get to know our small group of fellow Ghibli pilgrims, and our kick-ass tour guide (this older woman who taught herself English, who was better than most English-as-a-second-language people I've talked to in the states who've lived there for years).

Our group consisted of Mehve, me, a couple from Great Britain, and two guys from Los Angeles who were mostly in town for the world gymnastics tournament. Hey, to each his own I say. We all talked about how long we were in Japan for (the Brits had like 8 weeks of vacation they were using up!), what we were doing next, and which Ghibli movies were our favorites (oh, and our tour guide corrected us — it's pronounced "Jee-blee," with a J-sound, not like the GH in "ghost," FYI). Mehve of course said that even though it wasn't technically a Ghibli flick (pre-Ghibli), he loved Nausicaa more than anything else, I was divided between Kiki and Porco Rosso, the Brits loved Spirited Away, and the Los Angelans just looked like deer in headlights. It turns out they weren't really hardcore otaku, they just heard the museum was coo' and wanted to see what the fuss was about. We didn't hold it against them (well, not to their faces. Mehve and I did mock them mercilessly behind their backs though, and we set a pox upon their families!... Well, maybe not Mehve, and maybe not behind their backs. And there may have been some rude Italian hand gestures thrown in for good measure. And I may have chanted "Totoro! TOTOROOOOO!" as I raked at the smaller one's face with my nails).

So we got off the train at the stop for the little burg that the museum was in, and waiting there for us was a goddamn Ghibli Bus. I think I shit my pants in joy. After a short ride on the Ghibli bus we got to the fabled Ghibli Museum, and if I don't show up as the number one Google search for "Ghibli" after this page is done, I'll know that that thing's fucking rigged! Ghibli.

Ghiblil Bus for the win!

I don't know why anybody'd want to ride on any other bus ever again. I will do my damnest to graffiti every bus I come across from now on to look like the Ghibli Bus.


She could. I seen it.We hung around by the Totoro ticket booth for a while, then everybody just walked around in awe, taking pictures of all the awesome details in the building, the outside gardens, and even the front Ghibli-ized gates. Soon our guide herded us into the entrance to the actual museum though, and we were disappointingly told "NO PICTURES-U" by the cute girls behind the real ticketing counter (meaning I think Totoro's ticket booth was just a con job for the big guy to try and make some quick snortable dust-bunny money).

The Brit woman and I shouted out "What?! WHY?" at the same time (well, I actually screamed "Nani! Nandatte?! Anta baka?!" but it was the same context), but we were told through our translator that "the secrets of the great Ghibli nation are not to be seen by outsiders who do not praise the great honorable Miyazaki with many Yen in person." I kind of understood that; I mean, it is a private museum, and if people see all the cool goodies online why would they pay a shit-ton of mullah to go and see it in person. But still, it's a goddamn MUSEUM. And I paid a ton of money, and I want to remember all the awesome stuff I saw in it with crystal clear photographs and video! Grrrrrrrrrrr!

I guess they can't stop me from WRITING about what's inside the place though, so hear goes. It's actually a bit smaller than I had thought it would be, but it's packed with really cool things and a few original animated short movies. Theres one large room in which they have tributes to all of Ghibli's films, a looped short about evolution (which is kawaiiiiiii!), and the coolest goddamn merry-go-round I've ever seen! The Ghibli-go-round has tons of figurines of large and small Totoros, the Cat Bus, Satsuki, and little Mei going around it in a circle, each figurine of any one character slightly different from the one to the right or left of it. Every couple of minutes the whole scene would have its lights dimmed, begin to spin, and a strobe light would then flash and it looked like the little figures were alive playing jump rope, riding a unicycle, or just bouncing up and down. I want one in my house.


I didn't believe him. I should have believed him...


I hate those robots

I should have believed him. Those things are like the goddamn Terminator and Robocop's evil Hunter-Killer love children.

Seriously though (ahem), this photo directly above, I had to wait in a 5 minute line for giggling Japanese men, women, and children to walk up to the Laputa Sentry Robot and stand stock still in front of it, maybe smile slightly, and throw up the "Vwee" sign (for you non-Japanese that's the English "V" sign) while saying "Cheezu!" to the camera (which is stupid because Americans say "Cheese!" because the way we say it makes our lips curl up in a smile, but when the Japanese say it they end with the "oooo" sound which is NOT a smile-forcing lip movement, but I digress).

That's it, they'd ALL just "V" their prospective cameras and say "Cheezu"... Then I got up there, pretended to run from the automaton, acted like I was humping it, and then posed like I was dancing with it. This all got a ROUND OF FUCKING APPLAUSE from all the Japanese people there. They LOVED that shit. I thought I changed a conformist, ultra-conservative society in the blink of an eye (just like Kevin Bacon in Footloose!... Or am I thinking of Swayze in Dirty Dancing? I don't know, I never saw either)!... But then, right after me a group of 4 teenagers got up and.... Threw up the "Vwee" and said "Cheezu!"... As did the next group, and the next. Lame.


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