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From China we went straight to Japan (it's really strange how a ticket from US to China then to Japan and back to China was twice as cheap as the ticket straight to Japan for the same dates).
In Japan first of all we attended another conference where I delivered a talk in Japanese (a first for me).
Our own plan was to go to Tenshi no Mado (Angel's window) VOLKS store in Harajuku, that specializes on SuperDollfie goods.
They also had a special Halloween-themed event called WindowFesta with various limited goods available.
From there we headed towards the Doll Culture exhibition that was held in a highrise in Roppongi Hills.
Next I'll show some pictures from the exhibition (mostly focusing on VOLKS stuff), that had a lot of dolls from Japan from
various times, From pretty simplistic looking pre-war ones to much more advanced Barbies to a lot more contemporary BJDs.
Right there at the refreshment stand with a nice Tokyo view they had doll-themed parfait , very tasty.
Next day we headed to Kyoto - for fall festival and to see the results of Tenshi no Sato renovations (the shop was closed most of the Summer due to it).
Also there we had a somewhat preplanned "the date with a dark stranger" photoshoot.*
* - A note from Ksusha 'not so much preplanned, we can say that the story flowed by itself and we just followed it'.
The main female character Arabells belongs to Shawnah and Ren is ours
We returned back to Tokyo that same night (very convenient and cheap with the JR pass), and next day we headed North,
into Yamagata prefecture, where we had booked a room in a ryokan named TachibanaYa.
Getting there took quite a bit more time than I expected. First on Shinkansen to Niigata and then another hour and a half
on a more regular train though mountains.
In the end we have arrived right in time for dinner.
As is customary in good ryokans, dinner was great.
and then lots of other good thing and of course the rice.
Yamagata prefecture is well known for it's great rice, at the ryokan we were served with two kinds: Tsuyahime and Haemeki.
Both kinds were pretty great so we even bought a sack of each to bring home with us.
And where there is rice, there is sake. Normally I don't really drink it, but this time as we needed to buy some for gifts,
I tested quite a few of them.
And then we went out for a bit of a walk outside.
Overall we did not se anything of note around and decided to return back to the ryokan.
Overall this was probably the biggest room we have stayed at not just in Japan, but overall throughout all of our travels.
And our second dinner
Making up the futon bed in the evening:
All service was in this super exaggerated polite way, with deep bows and kneeling. The language used was also in the most
polite forms, pretty hard to understand at times.
And then it was time to check-out and go back to the station:
Around the station everything looked pretty rural, but on the ocean shore.
The station itself had just two platforms for three tracks. Suitable train to Niigata was only running three times a day or so.
The station was so small that it did not even have automatic ticket gates we got so used to, instead the station master
is checking the tickets as you go in and would sell you one if you don't happen to have one.
And as we go back, initial bit of the way goes along the shore:
I guess this should be enough for now, to be continued.