tisdag 8 maj 2012


So, since blogging obviously isn't my thing, I've decided to just give up on the idea of keeping some kind of timeline. So here's a post on a trip some friends and I did in November. Enjoy!

A friend invited me on a day trip to the town Okutama. I'd never heard of the place before, and her reason for going there was to look at some abandoned building, so I imagined we'd end up in some rural ghost town full of abandoned factory buildings in the very outskirts of Tokyo with not so much as a Family Mart in sight. And I was actually right about two things. Okutama is located in the Nishitama District, which is as far west as you'll get while still being in the Tokyo Prefecture. We made a stop on the way so I don't remember exactly how long it took us to get there, but I'm pretty sure it's at least two hours by train from Shinjuku, probably more. And while we didn't really explore the whole area around Okutama station, which seemed to be the center of the village, we couldn't find a single Family Mart, or any other convenience store either. However, I was totally wrong on the ghost town/factory part. The nature was amazing, with lots of beautiful views. But first, two photos of the station. As you can see there are a lot of mountains in the area, and a lot of people came there in hiking gear.

måndag 30 januari 2012

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Waseda International Club organized a trip to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, located close to the Ryougoku station. It was founded in 1993, and has both permanent as well as special exhibitions. The permanent exhibition revolves around the history of Tokyo, from the Edo period (1603-1868) until today.
I'm not very knowledgeable about the history of Japan and it's not really one of my bigger interests, but nevertheless I enjoyed the museum. 

torsdag 29 december 2011

Wasedasai 2011

Wasedasai is Waseda University's annual school festival, and were held a weekend in the beginning of November. Most school clubs and circles are involved, either performing or holding exhibits, or selling food and drinks. There were all kinds of things going on around campus both Saturday and Sunday and it was a lot of fun. There were so many great performances and I have a lot of videos I'd like to upload but internet still won't let me, so I'll add them another time. Hopefully. However, I also have a lot of photos. The first one is of the opening ceremony, where some of the more prominent clubs took part, and which during the Waseda University songs were sung.

A stall selling fresh kiwi juice, which was super tasty :)

Some dance clubs and circles performing.

The two photos below are of Tokyo Hanabi, a yosakoi club. Yosakoi is a Japanese style of dance, and a new version of a traditional summer dance. Read more about it here. Tokyo Hanabi is one of two yosakoi clubs at Waseda, and every year they make their choreography as well as their costumes themselves around a new theme. They performed both days, and their performances was definitely among the ones I liked the most. Their routines and costumes were really cool, and everyone seemed to have so much fun. I'll definitely upload videos as soon as my internet allows me to.

The festival was open to everyone, and campus was crowded both days.

New Orleans Jazz Club.

Day two started off with a performance by Waseda's all male cheerleading squad Shockers. They seem to be really popular, and the queue outside the venue was long. 

And here they are! They did a few different routines, including their rendition of Pokémon :) Their performance was super good, and the audience really enjoyed it. I had two fangirls behind me all the time which was pretty amusing.  

After some other dance performances I checked out the festival's art museum, which was very nice. The exhibit included all kinds of works, from photographs and paintings to Ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement.  

Waseda also has two photography circles, and both exhibited their works. I was convinced by a member of one circle to go have a look, and after that I felt the urge to check out the other exhibition too. I really liked a lot of the photos.

The day ended with the festival closing ceremony, which was a lot of fun. As you can see from the photo below there was a lot of people there. Before it started glow sticks were handed out, so the atmosphere was great. There was footage from the past two days shown on big screens, and a lot of the clubs collaborated and performed together. And as the festival begun, it ended with the Waseda songs :)

Finally, here's a link to the festival theme song, Kioku no haku (Box of memories) by azurite. This was the only song played between performances, and I came to like it a lot.


söndag 27 november 2011

Asakusa field trip and Kawagoe Matsuri

Long time, no post. Sorry :/ But here's a long post! At least there are many pictures :) And since I've been too lazy to update for the last eight weeks or so, there will be a few retrospective posts coming up.

Anyway, this post is about a field trip to Asakusa arranged by Waseda University International Community Center that I went on about one and a half month ago. There will also be photos from a festival, Kawagoe Matsuri, that I went to in the evening the same day.

The first stop on the Asakusa trip was an old traditional craft shop in a calmer part of the area where the owner explained the art of dyeing. We were seated around a small table in a tiny room full of dyed fabrics while the owner explained how the dyeing is done, what materials to use, and also showed us a video.  ´

The photo above shows the plants used for making the dye. The photo below is of a paper where a pattern for the dyeing has been cut out.

After that we went to another building where the dye solutions were kept. Apparently the solutions have never been changed since he started the business, which, if I remember correctly, were some 40 years ago.

The original plan was that we were to dye our own handkerchiefs, but unfortunately we ran out of time. Though we still got to try it with a smaller piece of fabric as in the picture above, and you can see the result below.

Here you can see the whole process in three steps. The top part is the white fabric, and the red is a sort of glue that is applied with the help of the pattern papers. In the middle part the fabric is dyed and the glue is still left, and at the bottom the glue has been removed with water. This is the final result, and this blue/indigo is the only colour they use. Here are some of the works in the shop.


We then moved on to a nice little old-fashioned shopping street where we had lunch, and then we got up close with the Tokyo Sky Tree. Can't wait till it opens in spring! :) We also went to a park and a temple. Some pictures below. 

Next up are some photos from Kawagoe Matsuri that two friends and I went to later in the evening. Kawagoe is less than an hour's train ride from Tokyo, located northwest of the city in the Saitama direction. The festival is held here every year in October, and it attracts a lot of people.

During a festival the streets are usually crammed with different festival stands. Most of them sell food or snacks, but toys and idol merchandise aren't that uncommon either. And you're likely to see a stand where you can buy goldfish, or, as in the case below, turtles.

However, the highlight is the festival floats - big decorated wagons pulled around by volunteers. On these there are musicians and dancers, performing tradtitional music and dance while going around the streets of the town. The dancers are dressed as different characters, for example a girl, a fox or a dragon. It rained a bit the night we went there, so some of the floats were covered in plastic for protection.

There were quite many floats, so while going around town they would often meet with one another. Then some sort of competition between them would begin, each group showing off their skills. I've tried to upload a video of the spectacle, but it just won't work. Until I manage to upload it you'll have to make do with some more photos.

We strolled around town, had some festival food and watched the performances. Kawagoe has a lot of old-style buildings, so it was easy to get into the festival mood :) It was really fun and I'm glad I went. If you want to read more about the festival, you can do it here: http://kawagoematsuri.jp/English/index.html

I'm ending this post with my favourite character from the floats. Grrr!

söndag 25 september 2011

Nerd alert

Today a friend and I went to Akihabara. We had nothing planned, so we just strolled around and checked out a few shops. I think looking at anime figurines is my new hobby :)

I like how the escalators look like hamster tubes :)

I've also been to Nakano Broadway, a mall where they mostly sell nerd stuff, for three days in a row this weekend. I've been wanting to check it out since a friend at home told me about it, so I decided to go there on Friday. However, I got there a little late and didn't have time to look around properly, so I went back on Saturday. There were so many things I wanted but I resisted the urge to buy them and I'm quite proud of myself. There were a couple of posters of NEWS (a group I like) that I really wanted though so I went to withdraw money. Then it turned out that none of the ATMs I tried accepted my card, even though it cleary stated they should. Fortunately I found an ATM today that worked so I got back to Nakano after the trip to Akihabara and bought the posters. Apart from the anime/manga stuff the mall has a couple of great idol shops with loads of second hand goods. Happy :)

Here are some pictures. The first two are of Nakano Sun Mall, which is just next to Nakano Broadway.

The following are of Nakano Broadway. The mall itself is not the most flashy place ever, but the shops are great :) Half of the mall is probably made up of different Mandarake shops, where they sell all kinds of second hand nerd stuff.   

I also took a walk around the area, and there are loads of cozy, small streets just next to the mall with lots of places to eat.


End of post, hope you enjoyed :) Tomorrow our lessons start, wish me luck!