Japan Trip Day 1: Arrival to Japan and Wonder Festival 2009
After leaving Perth for Singapore, I wasn’t able to get any internet access until after getting into Japan, apart from at the internet booths at Singapore which I used to check my email and find out Rin’s mobile number to meet up with him at the Wonder Festival 2009 figure event on the day of my arrival to Japan. The plane on Singapore airlines was quite nice, and they had quite a few movies to pick from, although I only watched a couple, including a bit of dragon ball evolution. For the meal, the ran out of meals when they got to me, so they gave me one of the first class meals which was something called Fish Pasta. It essentially was a nice piece of fish on top of some pasta. The fish was really nice, but the pasta was rather flavourless. I think the economy class meals probably would of been nicer. (^_^;)
After arriving in Singapore, I didn’t really look around much at Singapore, I got to the boarding area when the boarding should of been open, but the entire area was empty apart from a Japanese family who arrived at the same time. In the end, the boarding area did end up getitng packed and ended up boarding the plane after a bit of a wait.
The plane I arrived in was a 2 storey plane which even had suites in it. I was located at the end of the plane, and mainly just slept, though I did get to have a midnight snack in the form of a hot turkey sandwich which was quite tasty.
When I arrived in Japan, I had planned a busy schedule of going to the courier to deliver my luggage to my friend’s place I was staying at and get my mobile phone sorted out to use it in Japan. In the end, although I got through customs pretty quickly, getting my mobile phone set up took quite a while as I was checking all the rental plan they had and took my time deciding which was the cheapest and most suitable for me. I ended up geting a rental SIM card from Softbank for my Japanese phone that I was using in Australia. The rental fees are cheaper than renting an actual phone, which was conveninet for me. I also enabled the internet access on it letting me send emails at an expensive rate.
I ended up taking the train to Kaihin Makuhari Station as the bus I was planning to take already left by the time I was ready, so instead of waiting till 10am and arriving at 11am. Unfortunately it ended up taking much longer by the train, although it was about 1000 yen cheaper than the bus.
When I arrived at Kaihin Makuhari, I didn’t really know the way to get to Makuhari Messe and didn’t know which halls it would be in, so I simply followed everyone. It was a good idea, since there was a huge stream of people headed for the event despite my late arrival to the station. It was about 11am by then. Everything was going well until the stream of people split into two heading in different directions and I ended up following the wrong people. That took quite a bit of time and after all the walking I was pretty exhausted considering I had just came from Winter straight into summer. It acutally was 33 degrees and humid which was apparently hotter than the previous days in Tokyo. I ended up finding my way to the 2nd floor of the event and although I couldn’t enter via there, I took some really nice photos overlooking one of the halls of the event.
I had to go downstairs to get to the entrance where there was a little queue to buy the entrance tickets which was actually the guide book for the event. It cost 2000 yen and despite the really small number of people, the staff still wanted me to wave my book in the air. (^^;)
After entering the event, I referred to my shopping list of the stalls that I wanted to visit and buy some garage kits from, however it took me a while to figure out how everything was numbered and where to go. It seemed that some of the stalls I wanted to visit were in the 18+ section which was why I couldn’t find them. One of those that was in that section was this really nice looking Yue figure from the anime Mahou Sensei Negima. I have no idea why the stall was in that section, but by the time I got to it, it was all sold out. (>_<)
I managed to actually buy quite a few of the garage kit figures that I planned on getting. I mainly was aiming at buying garage kits rather than limited editon prepainted figures, so I most of my purchases were for garage kits. I managed to get quite a few Negima kits, and was unsure about getting a couple, but now do kinda regret not buying them when I had the chance. I talked to some of the sculptors who were selling their kits, and gave them my otaku name card. It was nice to talk to them and tell them that I visited their sites and found out about their kits. One of the ones I met was ZAN from the circle Mar-Box who has a site called “Neko no Koban” which I found really useful on how to build garage kits figures.
I ended up getting a some prepainted PVC figures in the end. When I got to the PVC figure stalls to see what was for sale, I noticed that many of good figures were not in stock. I guess I missed out in them since I had arrived late. I met up with Ronald (Rin) from “Koi Aichaku”, and saw his impressive shopping. It seems like he was aiming for buying the prepainted figures rather than garage kits. I went for the garage kits instead. 😛
We exchanged otaku name cards, and then he was off to meet up with his friends for lunch. After that, I decided to visit the commerical booths as I heard from Ronald heaps about the stuff that was over there.
I went to the Good Smile Company booth about 3 or so times, but unfortunately wasn’t able to meet up with Danny Choo from dannychoo.com. I did however leave my otaku name card with one of the Good Smile Company helpers to pass it on to him. I hope he received it. I was suprised at the scale of the Good Smile Company booth considering that they had a section with new unreleased figures on display, a store, a touch and feel area to check out the goods, and most impressive of all was the stage they had. At first, they had some famous people from figure companies and other famous celebrities talking about figures in general, abut they also had a few live songs from several famous singers as well which took me by suprise. I did read that in the morning there were a number of them, but it was really late by the time I arrived, so I thought I had missed them all.
Fortunately for me, when I went to Good Smile Company’s booth for the last time, they were just starting their last event where Masami Okui, one of the singers which I liked from watching some of the Animelo videos on youtube was sang 3 of her popular songs live in front of the crowd. It was a really awesome experience, and it seemed like the whole crowd knew exactly how to cheer in a particular way for each song.
Just before the live performance, I rang up Nomura (Yasu69), a figure sculptor that I met on deviantart. He replied to my request to meet up and managed to meet up at Wonder Festival outside the Wonder Showcase stage. I also met a couple of his friends, one from Hokkaido and Mastuha another sculptor who talked to me in English. (*^_^*). I had a lot of fun talking to them and gave them each my Japanese otaku name card. That would be my first Off-Kai (Offline meeting) with a Japanese otaku friend.
I really enjoyed the wonder festival, I ended up buying a heap of nice garage kits although some of them that I wanted were sold out by the time I got there. (>_<)
I think the live performace at the end was really enjoyable and changed the event from just being about buying garage kits and figures, to also getting to see famous anime singers in the flesh performing in front of you.
At the very end just after the event ended, I went around taking last minute photos and visiting the PVC figure sellers to catch some last minute bargains. In the end I didn’t get much more. I bought the Lucky Star prize figures for 1000 yen each, and when taking photos of the K-ON garage kits that I missed beforehand, I found out they still had stock left and after thinking about it while heading out, I decided to turn around and buy one each. I also gave the sculptors my otaku name card and chatted to them a bit. I really enjoyed.
I have to admit that just before heading off, one of the security guards did end up catching me still in the hall after the event and was told to leave. (^^;). However, if it wasn’t for that kind security guard, I wouldn’t have headed straight towards the exit and passed by the group selling the K-ON figures.
As for my shopping, I ended up buying the following:
K-on! Mio garage kit
K-on! Yui garage kit
Sakurazaki Setsuna garage kit
Kaguraka Asuna garage kit
Nagase Kaede garage kit
Evangeline garage kit
Sankaku Doumei (Threeway Alliance):
Sasaki Makie garage kit
Akazaki Yuuna bikini garage kit
Chibi Holo garage kit
Original Torami-chan mini garage kit
Asuka 2009 garage kit
Strike Witches Francisco Rukkini garage kit
ROUAGE garage kit
Kururin Rinkuru garage kit figure with “how to make garage kits” tutorial limited edition first print
2x Lucky Star prize figures (Kagami and Konata)
ef figure – Miyako Miyamura
To Heart 2 figure – Yuzuhara Konomi
Nanatsu Iro Drops figure – Akihime Sumomo
Wagamama Capriccio figure set
Little Busters EX figure set
Wonder Showcase T-shirt
GAIA NOTES Flesh coloured laquer paint set for painting garage kit figures
3000 yen Fukubukuro (Mystery Bag) containing:
Little Busters – Komari Kamikita towel
Oshiinu soft toy
Honey and clover pin badge
Below are some other photos I took but couldn’t find room to put in this post:
I have some more photos, but will add them in a later post.