Tag Archives: toys

Two weeks in!

Feels like I’ve made some real progress in settling down here, the majority of the admin hurdles are out of the way and it’s a waiting game for some. My Barclays app has unlocked however because I don’t have a card yet, I can’t really pay anyone.

I’ve set up a limited liability company in anticipation for contract work that hasn’t happened yet. I still find the fact that I’m a director of a company rather amusing, not to mention the things you can do as a company made my laugh. For example, I’m allowed to gift myself something of up to £50 value each with a total of £300 a year, tax free! Other things like the company being able to buy your own used  equipment off you as an expense to reduce your tax! Totally awesome! Not to mention you can basically pay yourself up to £45k pounds at 9.5% tax :O.

Anyway, been out and a bit and already onto the music scene. Above and Beyond played a gig at the O2 and I decided to go last minute, £45 a ticket, but the show opened at 7.30 and only went til 11, supported by Luttrel and Gabriel and Dresden!

Barely made it in for Luttrel because the line to get in was super slow moving, also bizzare that there was no cloakroom and the service at the bar was super shitty and slow. Venue-wise it’s quite similar to Qudos. I’ll add another post with some videos.

Also found it weird that the crowd wasn’t full of 18 year old Asian LGs but more like an average of over 30 and white.

Also went to check out Kolsch play live at fabric, a pretty well-known name in London clubbing, but apparently has lost its charm after closing and re-opening. Pretty cool place, feels a little bit underground but not exactly grungy. Kolsch has been in Sydney previously but I gave it a miss, definitely glad I made this one. Being able to ride a bicycle to the venue was also super cool.

Club was super packed packed and it’s kinda cool that it has a mezzanine that overlooks the main dancefloor.

In more music/festival related stuff, I booked flights and tickets for Transmission in Prague, one of the events on my bucket. Despite it coming to Melbourne and having made fomo over it, I decided it’s best to check out the real one.

After A&B though, I did make the mistake of ordering a kebab, which is not the same as it is back home, it’s more like a weird open sandwich but there’s no BBQ sauce! Have only found out later that I need to order a wrap.

Went to check out a World Press competition photo exhibit which was rather small but quite impactful. The nature photos were great, especially one about pandas and what China is doing to preserve them.

Some of the war-torn and impoverished photos hit pretty hard, there’s one in particular about a man who was stoned and then hung from a crane that was absolutely brutal. Amazing the time and effort (as well as chance) to make these photos happen.

Had a taste of what Sydney life was like with the visit of Bec who’s doing a mini round-the-world trip. Great to see a friendly face and have a few beers and some amazing pie! Chance pick from google and it was delicious! The gravy that went with the mash was divine. It’s a pub called The Windmill in Mayfair.

Good news – found a place to live, it’s right next to old street station so it’s super well connected and flexible lease agreement, no ridiculous notion of 6 months rent in advanced! Room is a good size and it has a living room. There are so many places here that turn the living room into an extra bedroom, leaving a tiny kitchen as a communal area, just couldn’t live like that.

Can’t wait to get out of my Airbnb! Especially when this couple decided it’d be appropriate to bring a screaming toddler along.

Job wise I had a last minute interview with a bus and transport company called Arriva for a Product Owner role, not something I was initially planning to go for, but why not? Would be pretty convenient as it’s a 25 minute walk down the road to my new place and should be an easy 10 minute ride on a bike.

While walking around I also stumbled upon Hamleys, a huge and crazy toy store! Filled with enthusiastic staff demonstrating and playing with the toys, it’s quite a spectacle!

Really cute displays out the front windows too.

Hanna’s found work at a hip bar in a somewhat questionable area, we were pleasantly surprised when we got there that it was a pretty decent establishment. A few beers and Gin and Tonics were had. I had a Nikka Coffey Gin which was pretty damn good.

A few drinks in with everyone laughing at me for holding the glass like a goblet we dreamt of innovative ways to consume G&Ts from such glasses. Scotty invented the Swan challenge whereby you hold it like a goblet but flip your grip and try to drink from the glass.

Went on a shopping trip Bicester village which was over an hour away to check out some outlets! £17 pound train ride here and I walked away with just a Superdry jacket and a pair of Chinos from Ted Baker. It’s a high end market with mostly designer brands, their target market is clearly the rich Asians. I’m not being racist, but they give Asians a 10% discount if you have a passport or UnionPay/Bank of China card.

I missed most of the Bonfire Night fireworks as they occurred on the same night as A&B but Victoria Park set up some fireworks on the Sunday, which is actually the proper date, November the 5th. Yes, the same date referenced in V for Vendetta from which the story about the treason is based on the real bonfire night, also called Guy Fawkes night.

Day 3 – Akhibara and Tokyo

I know my blog posts have been few and far while I’ve been gone, but I’m still going to endeavour to have a blog post for every day of my trip. While the blog is only up to the 3rd day, the trip so far has gone up to it’s 12th day (out of 21). As I write this I am on a bus to Osaka from Tokyo (probably won’t post this til I’m in our hotel at Osaka (or Shin-Imimiya to be precise).

Day three of the trip was destined for Akihibara, also known as the electric city, but first the day started off with a deliciously oily breakfast courtesy of Lawsons. It was to be two pieces of fatty fried chicken, a calpis water, orange juice and two macaroons.

mm... greasy chicken
Calpis and Macarons

Absolutely delicious after a big night out at Club Asia and everyone was seriously buggered. Check out the photos of Nugen and Huynhzie, they could barely stay awake in the morning, but regardless, we pressed on to see electric city.

Nugen... gone.
huynhzie... gone.

Before actually going I did a quick Jesus pose on the train platform as we made our way to electric city.


This is the place where some say, if your phone or camera is out of batteries, there’s so much electricity there that when you hold it up in the air, it starts to recharge.

welcome to akihabara

Unfortunately for us as tourists (me the most) we got conned by an old man who we thought was nice enough to show us the way there. Instead of just telling us where it ws, he led us there even though we said we were fine. It wasn’t until we told him we were okay now that his true colours showed, he told us he was hungry and begged for some money. He asked for 400 yen, I thought I’d contribute for most of the group to save them the hassle but he ended up begging to each of them, far out.

Where we lost this stinky old man was a rather weird shop, at the front were a couple of nice anime figures on a whiteboard type thing with pens and erasers for us to write some stuff, we decided to tag it for fun and snap some pics. Little did we know what was really inside the store (more on this later).

Anime girls

I know most of you would think that a place like this would be heaven for a guy like me, but unfortunately for me, getting here has taken away most of my money and I didn’t have much left-over to spend on electronics. Luckily for me there’s not really anything I’m in desperate in need of, so I was about to steer clear of the shops.

Neon Genesis still alive and kicking

An arcade did manage to lure me in with a rather interesting claw/skill tester type game which involved me moving the claw by balancing on the board to control the arm. I failed miserably and lost my 300 Yen.

Cute dog toys in the machine
Me having no clue what to do

Also walked past some sorta set up for a concert being pulled down, luckily I managed to take a pic of the massive domokoun inflatable that was used.


As the day went on , we just walked around and admired the vast variety of shops for anime kinda stuff as well as electronics. It wasn’t until a couple of boys decided to head to Maccas that things started to become difficult, while they were waiting, Edmond, Tang, Louis and I decided to move on and have a look down the street, after a while we decided we should head back and meet up with the rest.

shops in the back streets

On the way back, Tang and I decided to check out the back streets while heading back to Maccas. It was a strange and eerie feeling, while it was only a single street parallel to the main street, it was very quiet. Aside for the occasional bike rider, it was very quiet for a major city, there was almost zero noise, it was rather amazing. When we finally got to Maccas, there was no one there, not Louis or Edmond, we waited around for about half an hour before deciding to just go on and meet back at the hotel.

Moving forward, we decided upon some Katsu Curry for lunch at a chain store called CoCo-Ichibanya which was close-by to Maccas so we could keep and eye out. While inside and eating however, our eyes weren’t on Maccas but this very cute waitress who had this really down-to-earth look. Unfortunately for Tang and I, we never got a photo with her (didn’t know how to say it) but with some WiFi, we managed to ask her to take a photo for us and Tang was ballsy enough to say “Anata wa utsukushi” which translated means, “you are beautiful”. The end result, she giggled and blushed a little before we left. Tang reckons he made her day.

Rice, curry and runny egg. yum.
CoCo Ichibanya

After another quick look in Maccas, we explored further down the road where it got much busier again. Working from the right side, we stumbled upon some markets, long this alley-way. The place was packed with people and store-keepers selling various things from clothes to seafood. It had a very busy vibe to the place as we looked curiously  not knowing what most things were. Oblivious to where we were, it’s not only know that I realised we were next to Ueno and the markets we had explored were actually rather famous, the place is known as Ameya Yokocho

Ameyo Yokocho
Busy place
dried seafood for sale
strange random foods
Candy i think?
Some sort of fish

Moving to the other side of the street we saw more Pachinko and slot towers and other busy alley ways lit up with neon signs and flashing lights. Funnily enough we found a place called King Oscar.

King Oscar

Just further up we discovered a large pond with a temple in the middle, again we had no clue where were actually were, the ponds we saw were called the Shinobazau Pond and the temple in the middle was the Temple of Benten

temple of benten

Moving on we took the other side back bumping into some nice small cafes with nicely planted autumn trees. Also checked out a little cake stall called Doremy Outlet, where inside they played a very catchy tune over and over again. The only words of the song I could make out where the name of the store. I ended up buying a little heart pastry/cake sorta thing. Quite nice.

Doremy Outlet
Various cakes

After the sun set, we walked back to Akihabara station (as that’s where we came from and were comfortable with), again we took the quieter streets as we had already walked down the main road. While going down, a certain car caught my eye, there was something different about it, it didn’t look quite like a normal Mercedes. Once I had gotten closer, I realised it was a Brabus Tuned Mercedes Benz, the final result being known as a Brabus W221. As I was snapping pics, the owner came out and asked me where I was from and showed me the inside before being driven off, it was a sexy looking beast.

Brabus = hot!
Brabus W221

Luckily for us we found some Christmas installations with lights running all over the trees along the walk way, more lighting displays were seen as it was a little display called “Winter Illumination 2010”. Moving on, we stumbled upon the “Gundam Café” across the road, we went in for a quick break and had some cake and coffee.

Winter illumination
more lights!

Tang ordered a plain black coffee and felt ripped off, I still think it was his fault for simply asking for coffee rather than a Cappuccino or a Latte. The café had a really nice décor to it, fitting of the Gundam name, but if you do go, the best bit is the toilet. If you’re there, you MUST push the red button inside the toilet, I told Tang to video the inside, not sure if he did (my DSLR doesn’t do video D:), bug him if you really wanna see inside, but it’s better to experience it yourself. To see a red button and have no idea what it does when you push it.

Gundam Cafe
the menu
Nice cake

After the break we had a quick perusal around the station again and back to the store with the sexy anime characters, our tags and messages had been erased and reverted to their original “How shall I please you master?” It wasn’t until we headed inside that we found out what was hidden behind these lovely women. It was a seven storey adult store, each getting storey up getting weirder and weirder. The bottom was fairly tame, having your condoms and novelty kinda stuff, moving up was vibrators and dildos and further up again was DVDs and magazines. Top floors, you really do not want to know what’s there, if you’re that curious, you can ask, but I’m telling it’s rather disturbing.

interesting sex toy

We ended up seeing three Aussies inside and gave each other awkward looks as we keep crossing paths. We quickly left with a souvenir magazine and Gundam condoms as a memory of that strange place, funnily enough, we bumped into the three Aussies again outside the store where they told us where they were from, what they were doing in Japan and so on. One girl had been living there for 8 months or so, said we had to go to this maid café called @home, unfortunately for us, there was no time and we said we would visit again.

After the nice chat, we headed to Tokyo tower where the others were supposed to go, after getting off our station, the Tokyo Tower was to the left but we were seduced by the little sign that pointed right and read “Tokyo Pokemon Centre”, we couldn’t escape our inner child and proceeded right (while the tower was to the left). Inside felt like a Poke-Centre from the game, why? Because it had the same music, playing over and over again on loop. Wondering how the staff there put up with it, we noticed a couple of staff members wearing earphones, we could barely stand the chime by the 4th listen. After buying a little Pikachu souvenir toy, we moved on back towards Tokyo Tower.

Pokemon Centre

Again we were distracted by some loud music and decided we had to see what it was, upon getting closer we noticed a little cute girl in giant oversized love heart glasses belting out some catchy Japanese tunes and a moderate crowd enjoying the show. The performers were “AMP” and “m i m i k a”, one I assume was the singer and the other the guitarist and “box-player”. The instrument he played literally looked just like a box. The crowd composition had a lot of older men, some looking like they were all in their 50’s but funnily enough, they were really into the music. Waving the arms around, smiling and even following the dance routine actions, not sure if they were into the music or the girl.

m i m i k a

Getting on with Tokyo tower, it’s  a rather beautiful site from far away as it was lit a vibrant orange colour. As we approached most of the orange lights suddenly turned off and switched to pink-purple kind of colour and rather than being cast across the tower, they were just bright spots running up the three hundred and thirty three meter tower. Upon arriving and being mesmerised by the site of the tower, there were nice looking Christmas decorations all around the base, lots of Christmas lights, a large Christmas tree and little lit-up train display you could sit in. We decided not to head up as we thought the boys might do the same (looking back, I have no idea why we decided not to).

Tokyo Tower in the distance
Base of Tokyo Tower
Christmas display
I <3 Tower

Instead we checked out the shops inside bought some souvenirs and headed back home to the hotel. Dinner would quick, followed by a few quick drinks, then heading to the world-famous club in Japan, known only as Womb. Having a quick chat to a few German boys outside the 7-11, I found out that Jerome Isma Ae was playing at ageHa on the Saturday (and not Sunday as I originally thought, lucky they told me other wise I would have missed out). Entering Womb was rather odd, from the outside, there’s no way you could tell what kind of gem was inside. Inside was rather big with a set of stairs spiralling up three levels which surrounded the main floor. Smaller areas were situated around the main room, but that’s not what I was really interested in.

Moving up for some more drinks, we met quite a few foreigners (especially a couple of rather cute Brits, unfortunately both taken) and had a nice chat to all of them before heading to the main room to check out all the hype. Firstly, the sound system in there is incredible, loud and crisp without any sign of strain or distortion. The only thing I found odd was not actually being able to see the DJ as the booth is up rather high and not really that exposed. Looking up was a gorgeous sight, lights beaming onto a giant disco ball was simply mesmerising, even more so with the hands of Aiba controlling the lights in sync with the music. Ended up giving a guy a piggy back until he got a little too close until I realised he was gay and hitting on me, Tang of Gavin got a rather nice pic of this and hopefully I can grab it off them before I post this. Luckily for me one of the British girls, Helena came to my rescue and we started to dance together, getting closer and closer until he disappeared. Bummer was as soon as he was gone, so was the dancing.

The 2 Brits

Anyways, the crowd there was mainly Japanese and they were all happy keen for a good time, I somehow ended up mingling with a group of locals and they found me a girl to hang out with. After she was whisked away by a local Japanese dude, she came back until he kept trying and trying. In the end, I won the fight and he was never to be seen again ;). By the end of the night, I found out her name was Samantha and grabbed her number and email. I walked back to the station with her and her friend and had a little chat. She spoke a little bit of English and  said she really loved Australia.

Ended partying with this group

It ended up being a great night and funnily enough, I ended up walking home alone again as the others had left about an hour earlier. The walk was rather long as I had done a massive loop around via Shibuya station. Unfortunately for you guys I don’t have another blog post detailing my journey home, but I was very impressed by the experience in Womb. The group of Japanese people really made the night fun as they were just after a good time and I felt really welcome there.

Even though you’re not supposed to take photos or videos in there, I managed to snap a couple of nice ones and a video to show you the beauty of the place. It really is a world class venue and it really puts anything Sydney has to shame.

giant disco ball

Well that was it for Day 3, stay tuned for my blog of day 4 and my crazy adventures to Odaiba and ageHa.