Found in Tokyo

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If I had one phrase I want to say to everyone reading the blog right now, it’d be this: “Please stay with me!”

Seriously – you can’t know how important this site has become to me, and I hate the thought of losing readers that I’ve come to love conversing with.  But the reality is that things are going to be weird for the next few weeks – I’m in Japan, a daze, and over my head – my backlog of anime is already ridiculous (if I’d been given a choice, Fall premiere week wouldn’t have been it as a time to move).  So a few posts will be shorter, screencaps might be fewer, typos slip through and a few shows might get skipped or even delayed – which as you know, is normally something I never do.  But I’m going to keep plugging away, so I hope you’ll stick with me.

IMAG0155I think the first time it really hit me that I was here for good was when I took the Yamanote Line this morning, and heard those station jingles.  For whatever reason those just stand for Tokyo in my head.  Having a curry pan and canned coffee for breakfast felt like home, too.

IMAG0156Spent the day in Shinjuku and Akihabara today.  Shinjuku is an utter madhouse – there’s no place like it anywhere.  Some sort of event in Akiba today, possibly related to Sakurasou (which is very prominent in Akiba at the moment).   Something I saw which is other reassuring or terrifying for what it says about what I’m about to take on: young Japanese adults trying to figure out Kanji on ads.  I see that a lot.

Tonight, it’s Ookami Kodomo in Japanese – totoum swears I’ll be able to get the gist of it.  Forgot to mention – I saw the live-action Thermae Romae and Space Brothers on the plane.  Enjoyed both (both are huge box-office hits), though I have a hard time with anyone besides Hiroaki-san as Mutta now.  Full of spoilers for the anime.  Thermae Romae really makes me wish the anime had been longer – so much good material.

More to come! Please don’t leave me!

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45 comments

  1. a

    Don't worry we'll be waiting. Take your time getting settled.

  2. B

    Actually you letting more typos through makes me want to stay more so I can indulge my inner grammar nazi and nitpick your typing! I'll try not to be a douche about it though!

    Seriously I don't mind if posts are a bit shorter as long as the gist of what you though of it still comes across, and I couldn't really care less about screencaps as I rarely bother doing more than glance at them in any case, so… meh. Indeed, posts being delayed is not really a problem anyway since I usually prefer to wait for groups that I like rather than download speedsubs so I often don't watch a show until a day or two after you normally post.

    In short not going anywhere, I much prefer commenting on your blog instead of RC these days.

  3. C

    Congratulations on landing, mate. I just hope you had your fill of In-N-Out burgers before you left Cali. It's the best us Californians had to offer.

  4. V

    Keep those Tokyo updates coming. I'm definitely interested to hear more. I love short and sweet updates.

  5. e

    We are your loyal minions and we are not going anywhere. Also, one little typo is nothing :p.
    So envious you managed to watch the TR movie already.
    'Something I saw which is other reassuring or terrifying for what it says about what I’m about to take on: young Japanese adults trying to figure out Kanji on ads. I see that a lot.' Glass half-full attitude, mah mastah. Glass half-full. Take it as an exciting collective challenge and keep going ;D.

  6. e

    P.S.: tl;dr: however you slice it, you're not alone

  7. N

    Not even a day in Japan and already adopted their humility I see 😉

    Don't worry bro, we won't leave you. Some of us may not comment much, but rest assured that none of your posts are safe from our eyes <_< >_>

  8. L

    "Sakurasou (which is very prominent in Akiba at the moment)."

    Not surprising really.

  9. K

    I don't think you have to tell us to stick with you, of course we will. And now we are excited to read your posts on Japan as well (and maybe a little jealous too) :)

  10. C

    Personally Enzo I wanna see more of the Daily Life of middle-aged guy by Guardian Enzo

  11. c

    Congratulations, you're finally in Japan! We look forward for your posts about your new life in Japan. Don't worry about losing readership. Best wishes to you :)

  12. a

    Oh yay, you made there! You'll find your balance eventually. I'm sure the ones who care will stick around and be understanding that you need some time to settle in Tokyo.

    Ah, I want to see Space Brother (live-action). Seeing Ookami no Kodomo at the London Internation Film Festival next week.

  13. e

    @alualuna: OnK, yay! Waiting for your review 😉

  14. a

    I am going to try and review it as quickly as possible – definitely in time for the Scotland Loves Anime screening (which is on the 21st), hopefully for the Haiwaii International Film Festival one (17/10) but probably not yet the English screening in Montreal (14/10).

  15. M

    Don't forget to be careful to not be arrested for torrenting anime, Enzo.

  16. I

    Glad your enjoying yourself.

    BTW is everyone in Japan going nuts about what must have been an epic Sunday for them with Kamui Kobayashi getting his first podium at Suzuka of all places and Kei Nishikori (literally tennis no oujisama) becoming the first Japanese man to win the Japan Open.

  17. A

    Living in a one-hour-ahead time zone from me now (Australia) so I guess your posts will come throughout the day instead of when I'm sleeping :)

  18. E

    I don't comment this blog very often (due to my poor english level xD), but I've been reading your posts for what's been like a year – and I will be reading them next months because I like your writting and I'm very interested on your Tokyo experience!

    Somehow I feel atached to you and this blog, even you haven't noticed about me. I was very excited when I knew you were moving to Tokyo. It's like "Oh god, there's people out there who can acomplish their dreams! So, if they can, why not me?"

    So, keep your dreams going! And don't worry, we (your weekly/daily readers) wont't leave you!!

  19. K

    It's definitely more worthwhile to enjoy yourself after finally getting to Japan. These posts are just as interesting as your normal episode posts.

    I`m curious about the subway, because I've heard stories about how the subway trains in Tokyo/ Kyoto are deathly quiet. Did you have a similar experience?

  20. Well, there's some motor noise. If you mean the passengers, talking on the phone is rude to the point of mania and very, very rarely done – and you almost never hear conversation above a mumble.

  21. G

    oh wow…o__O…what if you get a phone call? Do you not take it until you get off the train?

  22. D

    Enzo, I know you're barely there for a day, but is it true that no one will sit next to a foreigner even during a rush hour in a subway in Japan?? I hear that they would fight to death to secure seats, no woman/child first, no elderly first, nah, it's a man eats man world, but sitting next to a gaijin? No thanks. I read that from a blog somewhere and find it hilarious. Maybe it's more true out in the suburb where there are less foreigners (the blogger, the infamous Jeff "Azrael" guy lives in Osaka/Kyoto, so…).

    But in any case, so if you look like a foreigner, you have an automatic legroom and then some even during the notorious pack subway car… that's something. It'd be like we have a natural cooties against general Japanese populace. Ah ha ha! As my only experience being in Japan is 1 stop-over to Narita airport for a connection flight, I have no way to confirm this urban myth.

  23. Is it so hard to imagine you wait till getting off a train to take a phone call? I fully support the notion.

    There are those who prefer not to sit next to Gaijin, it's true. I think it's an overstated phenomenon, and I've had plenty of people sit next to me, but if there are two empty seats I suspect most Japanese will take the one next to a Japanese. It bothers me a little, but it's one of the realities of Japanese society you learn to live with. Along with unfailing politeness and genuinely friendly helpfulness towards foreigners in trouble comes a certain level of discomfort level with those who are different. Japan is one of the most ethnically homogeneous nations in the world and one whose culture developed in relative isolation for much of its history, so it's not entirely shocking.

  24. C

    Plenty of elevens were happy to sit next to me. One schoolgirl even fell asleep on my shoulder.

    Maybe you're just hideous!

  25. G

    Rather than hard to imagine, I think we just don't have that level of social awareness here in North America…lol. I would have to remember that if I ever visit Japan. I wonder if you get away with things if you are foreigner. Personally, I think being different comes with leniency, people aren't as strict about imposing social rules upon you, but you still feel the need to conform out of respect and the desire to integrate.

  26. Many thanks for all the kind wishes, especially from the new participants. Really makes me feel better!

  27. K

    It took me nearly 2-3 months to finally master the modern-day dungeon that is Shinjuku Station. In fact, so massive are these labyrinths that there's a book with detailed 3-dimensional maps to help you navigate around these dungeons like Shinjuku, Shibuya and Tokyo Stations.

    I only discovered the book after I explored every part of Shinjuku Station.

    Ookami Kodomo is easy to understand and enjoyable. Nuff' said.

    Currently on cinemas now is the first two of the three Madoka Magica movies, though the first two are just a glorious rehash of the TV series, the third one with a brand new story won't be out yet.

    If you're lucky, you might also want to check out the Rurouni Kenshin live action movie, which has been on for over a month now. All I'll say is it's the most faithful live action manga adaptation I've seen in ages.

    Which side of the city are you staying at?

    I live right in the middle of Yokohama and Shibuya, so it's 30 minutes either way by train. But this also means I visit Akihabara less often than I would like, at least Shibuya has quite a large Animate and Mandarake store if I need to windowshop.

  28. D

    Hmm, is this Kenshin live action film any good? Most faithful doesn't mean it being necessarily good, you know.

    And I'd assume Aoshi won't be appearing?? That's what happens if you are the cool guy no.2. The cool guy no.1 (Saito) gets all the glory and screen time if it is a short form. Grumble grumble.

    Anyhow, I didn't think Enzo's Japanese was not yet sufficient to watch a non-subtitle film for 90+ minutes yet? I wouldn't want to spend a fortune (I'm sure it'll be even more expensive than NYC and London to watch a film in a theater in Tokyo) to watch a film -no matter how much I like it or know the source materal- when I don't understand much of dialogs. Moreover my concentration will waver if it is that long instead of 20 minutes. But if it is good, maybe I will give a shot when the subtitled version come out.

  29. K

    That's the first time I've ever heard of most faithful =/= good. It's almost counter-intuitive for me. lol

    Anyway, Kenshin live action is very good. Even Kotaku approves of it.
    http://kotaku.com/5938365/the-live-action-rurouni-kenshin-movie-is-a-nearly-perfect-film-adaptation

    Perhaps knowing of its global appeal, even the Japan cinema release has English subtitles, so I didn't have much trouble understanding the story.

    Being the first movie, it basically combines the Jin'e and Megumi arcs while introducing Saito earlier than usual in order to establish Kenshin's character development.

    Aoshi's role is given to some other villain as the producers probably reckon he has too much baggage and wouldn't want to burden new viewers by leaving too many loose strings. Better to have him in full glory in the Kyoto arc than have him play second fiddle to Saito as you have mentioned, that said, even Saito doesn't get much action as he wasn't supposed to be appear this early in the story.

  30. L

    I agree. Most faithful does not automatically equal good.

  31. L

    Sometimes the manga (or other source material) does not fully realize and exploit the possibilities in the work. FMA is a good example. The first series explored the dark areas of the equivalent exchange maxim, homunculus etc, whereas the original manga and subsequent series glossed over much of those details in favour of a lighter shounen approach.

  32. K

    I personally found the first FMA series too dark for my liking, with all the wild changes putting me off.

    Anyway, even if you guys are right, PLEASE do not dismiss the Rurouni Kenshin movie just yet.

    When I mean "faithful", I mean faithful to the spirit of the story, though being live-action, I can reassure you they took out the silly "uttering the name of the attack before striking" thingy, such as "Ryuu-shou-sen" etc.

    The fights relied on real life choreographs with no CGI (a few wire-assisted leaps, but none too kung-fu style extravagant).

    Some of the more silly elements from the manga are taken out for a more realistic historical setting, though they've retained Kenshin's iconic "Oro".

    And observers note that the historical feel of the movie is reminiscent of an NHK Taiga drama (NHK's highly acclaimed annual historical drama featuring a historical figure), think The Last Samurai and you'll get the feel of the RK movie I'm talking about. Besides, the director himself happened to be the director for the 2009 Taiga drama "Ryoma-den", which coincidentally, is also set in the Bakumatsu/Meiji era, so he's already familiar with the historical background of the story he's working with.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiga_drama

  33. S

    Enjoy your time there. This will be something of a life-line to the English speaking world for you, so do keep up. We'll still be here.

    Besides, you cover series by what seems to be good, not what is popular. So you have a solid niche. (That and we agree on a lot, haha)

  34. A

    We'll be with you forever!

  35. o

    But you're the one who left and went to Japan! 。・゚・(ノД`)・゚・。

    Just kidding. Congratulations and good luck on your new life in Japan! :)

  36. R

    Congrats on getting there Enzou! I know it can be pretty hectic and a definite change of pace. I'm curious though, have you ever gone vacationing in Japan before this or is this your first long term exposure to it? XD

    I'm heading there this summer, so if you've settled in by then, I'll probably swing by and drag you out for sushi or something 😀

  37. M

    I don't comment often, but I'm always here, reading!

  38. G

    Seeing Enzo being insecure is making me chuckle lol….I think that's a sign for us to leave more comments. Nah, no worries, we aren't going anywhere even if we don't always make our presence known. I love your writing and I love anime, that's two very good reasons to stick around.

  39. A

    Enzo — there is no way that I will leave… I did notice the change, but all I was thinking about was how you were doing with the whole big move. Thanks for writing the post…AND…the lovely photos. By the way, I have been to both Shinjuku and Akihabara. Shinjuku is amazing…simply glamorous. As for Akihabara…how can I not go there when I am a big fan of Steins:Gate… We could only be there for a few hours, but I did buy a fancy leather cover for my iPhone…and yes, they had lots and many beautiful ones there that I just couldn't resist.

    Have you tried the ramen yet? I had lots and lots of them. Ordering the ramen from a vending machine outside of the restaurant was pretty cute, and I tried the ramen from a little kiosk right under a bridge — it's very unique making the ramen taste super good. I think I got overly excited and ate too much Japanese food that by day 5 I was dying for a burger…lol. Anyway, I wish I were there right at this moment…

    Thanks for sharing with us what you see and experience there — it's like Lonely Planet…lol. I am still very excited for you and will be patience and wait for your posts.

    ~Ronbb

  40. Ramen for lunch (via ticket) yesterday. I'm a ramen addict, even in the States.

  41. L

    Which is your preferred ramen?

  42. Santouka's shio ramen with special pork (Japanese, but available at a few US locations) is probably my standard.

  43. h

    Already truly "living" the Japanese life I see! And no worries. I'll stay with you Enzo! Promise!

    (…Always…from the shadows…. Kukukukuku~)

    *cough

  44. d

    Of course! It's not even a question! ^^ I'm glad to hear that you seem to be fitting in nicely though. Please, take all the time you need, Enzo. We'll be waiting here patiently. 。◕‿◕。

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