Dolls Party in New York 4

We just returned from Dolls Party in New York organized by VOLKS. (June 19-20, 2010).

The event short name is "dolpa" and VOLKS tries to hold it annually for the people who bought their dolls to appreciate the customers and let everybody enjoy and show off their dolls to others. Usually some special limited edition dolls are created for each event too with a chance for participants to have a chance at buying.

The party was centered around "Alice in Wonderland" theme.

Since we live in TN and the air travel was somewhat expensive we decided to go by car which turned out to be not so hard.

This was a first dolpa we attended.

IMG_7047
When we arrived some 20 minutes before starting time there was a huge line already.

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Day 6 continued. Odaiba at night

After we finished our dinner in Izakaya, it was already dark. Ihara-san and his family headed home and we decided to wander around some more and to take some night pictures.

Rainbow bridge at night
Rainbow bridge at night.

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Day 6. Hamarikyu Garden and Odaiba

The day 6 was preplanned long before we came to Japan. On this day we decided to go to Hamarikyu Garden and then to Odaiba with our friend (and then - coworker) Ihara-san who greatly helped us to prepare for the trip too.

So we met at Shiodome station at 13:30 with him and his wife and daughter and entered the Garden.

Hamarikyu Garden

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Chinese dumpling widely spread to Japan

Today I want to introduce you to very delicious fried Japanese dumplings that are called Yaki-Gyōza (焼き餃子).
Actually gyōza (ギョーザ) (or Jiǎozi (饺子) as they are called in China) are Chinese dumplings and they are very popular in China and Japan.
The most prominent differences of Japanese-style gyōza from Chinese style jiaozi are the rich garlic flavor, which is less noticeable in the Chinese version, and the fact that Japanese-style gyōza are very lightly flavored with salt, soy, and that the Gyoza wrappers are much thinner than the Chinese counterpart.
The most popular preparation method is the pan-fried style
And that is why today in the menu we have:

Yaki-Gyōza - Pan-Fried Style Dumplings!
yaki-gyе█za

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Day 5. Roppongi, Mori Tower.

After Ghibli museum we briefly returned to our hotel to pick another camera and tripod and then headed to Roppongi Hills area hoping to get to Mori Tower's sky deck in time for sunset.

Unfortunately we miscalculated the time needed and arrived somewhat late, so no stunning sunset pictures.

Moori tower in the evening
Mori Tower.

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Day 5. Ghibli Museum

On day 5 we had previously acquired tickets to the famous Ghibli Museum dedicated to animations by Studio Ghibli and its director Hayao Miyazaki.

Our starting time was scheduled for 10am so we actually had time to have a breakfast before going. Found some other Udon place this time.

Udon
Udon with an egg.

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Day 4. Hakone day trip.

The plan for day 4 was to go to Hakone. Typically at least two days are recommended for the trip, to include an overnight stay at an "onsen" resort, but we did not have this much time. The weather forecast was pretty promising with mostly sunshine and no rain.

We woke up pretty early in the morning and rushed to the Odakyu terminal in Shinjuku. A special Hakone free pass (2 days) is available for 5000 yen that includes transportation to and from Hakone and all transportation types within Hakone which makes it worthwhile. For additional 870 yen (one way) a seat on "Romance Car" express could be reserved. We took the Romance Car option for our trip.

Inside of
Inside the romance car. We got our seats at the very front of the first car, right behind the operator.

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Day 3, Kamakura: Hasedera, Daibutsu, part 2

After we were sitting in the restaurant the weather worsened. The light rain that started about the time we entered the restaurant became stronger.

The closest building was Kyozo Sutra Archive

Kyozo Sutra Archive
These are rotating bookracks called rinzo. Important Buddhist sutras are kept there. By rotating the rinzo it is said you get the same merit as reading all the sutras.

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Day 3, Kamakura: Hasedera, part 1

We woke up in the morning pretty early (due to jet lag) and found out that the weather forecast was not particularly nice, all cloudy sky and rains. Regardless we decided we'd try to go to Kamakura as planned. Did not even have a breakfast to arrive there before main tourist masses.

Purchased a "Kamakura free kippu" which allows you to get to Kamakura on JR and then use local Enoden street-train line to travel around there without any limitations (1970 yen for one person).

Traveling from Shinjuku need to be careful to take trains bound to Zushi on Shonan Shinjuku line, this is roughly every second train in this direction, otherwise need to change trains at Ofuna station. Total travel time was around 55 minutes.Then proceeded to Enoden train platform.

People lining out
Enoden platform, people lining up to enter the train.

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Trip to Japan, days 1 and 2. Akihabara, Sakura.

So we finally have been to Japan. The trip we dreamed about for so long finally happened.

We started our preparations long ago. Acquired plane tickets in early November 2009 in exchange for frequent flier miles. Then in January we got our Japanese visas.

The Japanese visa process turned out to be quite easy, after I called Japanese consulate in Nashville, they sent me list of documents to provide (nothing special really, the usual form with questions, passports, photos, description of a visit) and asked to send the documents to them. No need for interview in person, not even a visa fee.

We booked our hotels in early February, two months before our trip and even then a lot of good hotels were already sold out.

So on April 4th finally the day came and we went to the airport. There was a bit of worry since our flight was delayed for an hour due to missing crew but all worked well in the end and we arrived to Atlanta in time to board next flight to Tokyo.

п⌠п╢п╣-я┌п╬ п╫п╟п╢ п░п╩я▐я│п╨п╬п╧

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