Here's the last part of my winter vacation updates.
On Thursday night, Kiri and I slept over at Leslie's apartment so that we could get to Comiket bright and early on Friday. I was so excited to get the chance to go, cause Comiket is only one of the biggest anime and manga events in the world. There's always a huge line to get into Comiket, so we arrived over an hour before doors were supposed to open. We met up with serria
and got in line. By the time we lined-up, there was already a giant crowd waiting that must have stretched around ten minutes away from Tokyo Big Sight (where Comiket is held). We huddled like penguins in the cold until doors opened and we could go in. Very soon after entering Big Sight, we saw an awesome cosplayer cosplaying Barnaby in his hero suit and had a fangirl moment. Then it was off to look at all of the doujinshi. We looked through four huge halls of doujinshi and still managed not to see all of it. Luckily, as soon as we entered the first hall, we immediately found the Tiger and Bunny doujin. There was so much of it that I think it took up a quarter of the huge hall. I was quite pleased and immediately made a couple purchases. After some browsing we met up with Ali in the outdoor cosplay area. We had to separate from her earlier because she had to go change into her cosplay and we weren't cosplaying (but I do have plans to acquire a new cosplay for the next event). Ali was cosplaying Aeris from FFVII. We spent a bit of time trying to look at all the cosplayers, but it was too crowded since all the cosplayers and people trying to take pictures of them were essentially crammed into a courtyard area. I didn't get too many pictures of cosplayers due how crowded eveything was. We managed to find the awesome Tiger and Bunny cosplayers though (including the Barnaby cosplayer from earlier) so I was happy. (There was also a photographer who asked for pictures of the four of us gaijin girls together, even though Ali was the only one cosplaying. Our pictures are probably floating around somewhere out there on 2ch...) My final doujinshi shopping count for the day was 5 Tiger and Bunny (plus a free T&B cloth bag and clear file because they were gifts being given out by certain circles if you purchased their doujin), 1 Gundam 00, and 1 Saiyuki. We stayed over at Leslie's apartment again that night and continued with Tiger and Bunny and Booze.( Comiket! )
Saturday, New Year's Eve, was a more relaxed day. Kiri, Leslie, and I did karaoke. Then, later in the day we met with Anna and Ali. All of us put on our warm layers and headed out to do hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year) around midnight. We ended up at Gojo Tenjin Shrine in Ueno Park to ring in our New Year. There was a line of people waiting for midnight. There was also a large bonfire to burn the previous year's good luck charms. After midnight people were allowed to start making their offerings at the shrine. We went up to pray for good luck in the coming year. We drank traditional sweet sake afterwards. Then we bought good luck charms and fortunes for the coming year. Then it was time to go to back to Leslie's place and go to bed. Also Kiri, Leslie, and I have officially declared that 2012 is going to be the Year of No Fucks (figuratively, not literally). It's our goal to become the most awesome individual we can, by being ourselves and not caring about what others think. I'm also hoping for good things from this year because it's the year of the dragon, which is when I was born.( Hatsumode )
Sunday was New Year's Day. Leslie, Kiri, and I went out without Anna because she had a bad headache. We had already done hatsumode, so we spent the day shopping at all of the New Year's sales in Harajuku. New Year's Day is when all the stores start selling their lucky packs. Lucky packs are bags of items (generally clothing or accessories) that are sold at greatly discounted prices. The only catch is that you usually can't see what's inside the bag before you get it, so a lot of it is up to chance. Most of the brand name stores sell lucky packs, so we took the opportunity to get some brand clothes for cheaper prices. We went to Laforet and I bought a Sixh. IBI lucky pack from h.NAOTO. It had four pieces in it: a coat, a cardigan, a skirt, and a tank top. It also came in a nice cloth bag. I'm pretty pleased with it! (It also made me realize that most of the clothing I've bought so far in Japan has been shades of black or gray. Not on purpose though. I do like colors!) Then we took a break from shopping and used Kiri's iPod to tune into the online broadcast of the ball being dropped at midnight in NYC. It was kind of a surreal moment, realizing that I was in the middle of Harajuku watching the New Year arrive in America when it had already been the New Year for over half a day in Japan. Then we stopped and did a little shopping, since Ikebukuro was on our way back anyways. Then Kiri and I picked our stuff up from Leslie's place and went back to my apartment. We finished watching (or in my case re-watching) Tiger and Bunny and had lots of feelings.
Monday was Kiri's last day in Tokyo. It was also the day of the Emperor's annual New Year's speech, so we headed into Tokyo in the morning and made our way to the Imperial Palace. January 2nd is one of the two days a year that the inner grounds of the palace are opened to the public. Things were pretty efficient when we got to the palace. We went through the most polite bag search and pat-down that I've ever experienced. Everyone was given a paper Japanese flag to wave and it was off to the inner court of the palace to see the Emperor's speech. We got to the court just in time for the speech. The Emperor appeared with the royal family in a glass enclosed balcony. He gave a short speech about his wish for Japan's recovery. I was honestly expecting the speech and appearance to be longer, but the Emperor is getting pretty old and I guess that appearing in public is getting harder for him. It was still a cool experience though. Anna, Leslie, Kiri, and I then went and got fried rice for lunch. Kiri and I had all of the Tiger and Bunny related feelings about fried rice. Later in the day we had a goodbye dinner for Kiri at one of the 270 yen izakayas. Then Kiri had to go to Shinjuku to catch her bus back to Tokushima.( The Palace )
It was great to see Kirsten and I was sad that the break had to end. At the same time though, it was nice to have time to relax again. It was a really fun ten days, but we were so busy. We're hoping that Kiri might be able to make it up to Tokyo again during Golden Week.