Here are some more thoughts on my trip to Japan.
I didn’t know the language: I thought this was going to cause more issues than it actually did. Especially not being able to read anything. There are enough English subtitles on the more important portions to make things manageable. Plenty of restaurants have english menus — many more have pictures you can use when ordering. At the Tsukiji gate, I was able to just type things into my phone to ask what time to come back the next day. And at a yakitori place I was able to ask if beef tongue was available.
NJPW show: Never would’ve guessed that’s what we were walking into. They basically express their excitement through how quickly they clap. And then you’ll hear a lot of accented “Rico!” and “Ospreay!” scattered throughout. It was a little bit of work trying to figure out how to get tickets. There are guides online saying you can just get them at a convenience store. Using these without reading Japanese is pretty hard. Or maybe I gave up too quickly. As far as I could tell, there was an option for viewing the help tutorial in English but no option to use the search and ordering interface in English.
We chatted with one of the attendants at the hotel and he made some calls to explain things. Go to Tokyo Stadium and there will be tickets at the box office. It opens at 4pm but there will be a line so get there earlier. Somehow, this all actually worked. It seemed like people reserved their spots in line with newspaper or something. But there were plenty of tickets to go around.
Fushiri Inari temple: I went with my parents to the Grand Canyon before. I had seen photos of the Grand Canyon before. You hear “pictures don’t capture it” for a lot of things, but rarely do things live up to that. The Grand Canyon did. I’ve never felt that kind of impact from just looking out at something.The torii gates at Fushiri Inari felt similar. But I guess at a different scale. Or I’m not sure what the word is to describe the difference in feeling. Walking through it felt like nothing I’ve experienced before. There are a lot of gates.
Arcades and crane games: I think we spent around $60 total in various crane games with nothing to show for it. Something I hadn’t seen was the style of crane game where there’s one big item to win. I learned you can’t really plan to win this with one go. You put the 500 yen in and get a 6th try free, and then you try planning different moves to eventually get that one item.There was also this sick setup of my life in 3rd grade.