My life, my hobbies, my real self

Categoria: japan


I’ve been to Tokyo twice and these were my experiences in that beautiful city.

I hope they may be useful for your future trip to Japan!

My first Tokyo trip (September 2016)
My second Tokyo trip (23rd September-1st October 2017)

This is the merch I’ve bought… please don’t make your wallet cry as I did!

Merch I bought in 2016
Merch I bought in 2017

My Tokyo trip (23rd sept- 1st oct 2017)

I’m back from my second trip to Japan and it was way better than the first one: I had lots of fun, I bought too much otoge merch and I’ve seen many amazing places. Life seemed easier than last year, probably because my speaking skills improved and I could communicate easily with people. (for my friends who don’t know, I’ve self studied Japanese and my speaking skills are bad… like, really terrible! But I’ve worked on it before leaving, improved a bit, and this time I could have at least decent conversations!). Also, the weather was really nice, it rained just one day… a completely different experience, compared to the constant rain and suffocating humidity of last year.

I arrived in Tokyo on a Sunday morning, after the usual day-long flight.

I thought it would have been a lot more crowded, but there weren’t too many people around; my hotel was in Asakusa bashi, a quiet zone I personally like a lot, because it’s far from the most chaotic places, but still close to Akihabara (which I could reach just by walking) and Ueno.

After my first stop at a near konbini, to eat something and try to look like a decent human being, I went to Akihabara to officially start my trip!

Akiba was amazing as I remembered it to be, I started shopping like I was in paradise! (I’ll do later a separated post about the merch I bought). I missed those shops, I remembered each one of them immediately, as if an year didn’t pass at all. Walking the same streets again made me so nostalgic!

(don’t mind the wrong date and hour, we were just too lazy to set the correct ones! yes, we’re terrible adults like that)

The next day, was dedicated to Ueno’s zoo.

I’ve been to Ueno’s park last year, but I didn’t have time enough to visit the zoo too, so I took the chance this time; it wasn’t small as I thought, it took me about 4 hours to see every animal.

I’ve never seen a tiger so closely! The lion was amazing too! My personal favorite was the polar bear tho, it was adorable!


Then I went to Rejet’s main office, where I took lots of pics! Well, there’s nothing interesting there, but I just wanted to see that palace with my own eyes…. at 7pm, the lights were still on both floors, they’re working really hard!

(There’s a restaurant right in front of the palace and the owner looked at me like I was a crazy stalker LOL)

I went to Odaiba for dinner, it was very cool! The giant robot and the illuminations really impressed me. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to explore it, I just went to a few stores, had dinner, and everything closed at 9 o’clock! It’s a pity, but time really flies, there are too many places and I can’t stay there for too long…

The 4rd day was dedicated to Ikebukuro: the otome road, the Animate, book offs, Rejet shop… it was a long, busy day that made my wallet cry, but my soul was really happy!

Stellaworth was amazingly beautiful to see, but so expensive I couldn’t even touch the merch, let alone buy it; I’m sad I couldn’t take photos, it was like heaven… and there were all the Dynamic chord’s members signs! (I admit I stared at them way too long!)

Sadly, Thursday wasn’t as good: it was raining a bit, so we decided to visit Nakano Brodway, which is indoors.

There are mostly manga and action figures there, since there are plenty of Mandarake which sells 2nd hand merch at low prices. This kind of stuff doesn’t interest me a lot, but there was also a shop full of otome related stuff and I did some good shopping! Also, I bought a really cheap ps3 project diva game, which I can’t wait to play soon!

In the late afternoon, we planned to visit Ueno’s and Asakusa’s book offs, but it was raining really hard and I decided to give up; I spent a quiet evening relaxing and tasting weird snacks we bought at the near konbini. I honestly needed a quiet time, after all that endless walking for hours everyday!

On Friday, we went to Asakusa to buy presents and explore all those traditional streets. It was really amazing, the weather was perfect and I really enjoyed my time there.

When we’ve been at the temple last year, it was raining so hard I could barely take some pics; this time, I had no problems visiting every temple and shopping! The atmosphere there is really soothing, it’s crowded but still respectful.

We went to Sumida next, the river at sunset was a very pleasing sight.

I loved the Skrytree too, but I admit I preferred the Tokyo Tower: it was way taller, but still…not as romantic? I mean, for me the Tokyo Tower is more symbolic.

On the last day, I went to Shinjuku. Sadly, I couldn’t enter the Otomate store, because I needed to make a reservation………. and it honestly unnerved me.

I get it, I need to reserve for the Otomate cafe, it makes sense, but why for the store too? It was almost empty, there would have been absolutely no problem if I just walked in, buy some stuff and exit a few minutes later! It’s not like I’m planning to stay there for one hour, come on!

Otomate doesn’t want my money, probably.

At least, I saw the giant Godzilla at noon, with the “fire” out of his mouth!

After that, I spent my last afternoon and evening in Akihabara, where I bought my last merch and went to karaoke with my friends.

I had so much fun, we even took videos of us singing Quartet night’s God’s star! I don’t think I’m ever going to watch them again, I would probably die of embarrassment…….. but it was worth it, the perfect conclusion of an amazing trip.

I was really sad, when I started packing to go home: I loved Japan even more than the last time, and I really wished I could live there.

Maybe I will someday, who knows?

In the meanwhile, I can still enjoy going there from time to time; I don’t think this was my last trip, but it’s still too early to plan another one. Maybe in a couple years, I’ll walk the streets of Tokyo again!

Learning japanese: my experience and a few tips

I’ve seen on twitter many people struggling with kanji, so I’ve decided to share my personal experience in learning japanese… I hope my story can inspire or help someone!

My interest in Japan started when I was about 12 years old and I was literally obsessed with Dragon ball Z: I spent hours everyday talking about it with my friends, and I also searched online for spoilers and news. One day, I listened to the japanese opening song, and it was immediate love: the language felt so cool to me, so I’ve started looking for all the other songs I could find (and Dragon ball has really a huge amount… 50? 100? even more?) I wished I could sing along too, but obviously I couldn’t even understand a single word: that’s why I’ve started to look for lyrics and translations.

I didn’t learn much back then, just a few words, but it was my first approach to the language. This continued for a few years: I kept watching anime, reading manga and listening to music, but I’ve never really studied until I was about 18.

One day, I’ve randomly discovered about idols, because I was watching the drama adaptation of a manga I really loved, Hana kimi: that’s how I got interested in idol music and fell in love with Arashi really hard. I wanted to understand their lyrics, but it was annoying to search translations online every time; so I decided to finally put some effort and actually learn the language.

I bought my first grammar book and dictionary, and I’ve started memorizing basic words and how the sentences worked; I was also comparing the lyrics of the songs I loved the most with their translations, because I’ve realized immediately that if I kept listening songs I could remember more easily the meanings.

At that time, learning kanji didn’t interest me: I just wanted to understand right away what I was listening to, so reading was not important at all.

Everything changed one day, while I was watching Brothers conflict anime: I fell in love with a character, Tsubaki, and I’ve started searching online all I could find about him. Can you imagine my happiness when I realized that a game existed? And I could actually date him?

When I discovered it was completely in japanese, that didn’t bother me too much: I was quite confident in my listening skills, and I thought it could be more than enough to play.

But there was a huge problem: the heroine was not voiced, so I couldn’t understand anything at all. Poor Tsubaki, I felt like he was just talking to himself, because I had no idea about what the heroine was replying to him!

At first, I thought I could simply rely on other people translations: there are so many in various blogs, some are so detailed, that I could obviously pull it off; but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to enjoy the game on my own.

So I went back to my grammar book, and so many years after my first approach to the language, I’ve finally started to learn hiragana and katakana.

I was really satisfied, when I realized that I was slowly learning how to read a few words: Brocon is an easy game, without many kanji, so it didn’t took very long to me before I actually started to read on my own at least short sentences.

I made a list of the most basic kanji, searching for simple words like: eat, sleep, talk, cry, drink, look… the verbs you can use the most, when you’re having a normal conversation.

Those kanji, plus the hiragana, allowed me to understand at least something of the heroine’s reply, and seeing myself constantly improving gave me a lot of motivation to go on and keep studying more. My love for otoge really helped me a lot, but obviously I had to make wise choices.

At that point, I could not play difficult games, but I had to start from the easiest ones: Starry sky and Storm lover really helped me a lot to learn basic kanji and to understand simple conversations. I’ve also played Amnesia and Diabolik lovers, but I still had to rely heavily on other people’s translations: there were too many unknown kanji for me.

My first year in otoge world went by like this, with a great desire to improve and finally being able to enjoy the games I wanted the most on my own… and it was exciting, never tiring or stressful!

I think I kept studying like that for another year: whenever I saw a kanji I didn’t know, I looked for the meaning; I still wasn’t able to play without problems, but I was slowly getting better.

One day, I randomly decided that I was ready: I still remember which game it was, Diabolik Lovers More Blood.

At first, I was afraid that the language might be too difficult, but at the same time I wanted to test myself and see how much I had improved since the first game. I was so surprised, when I realized that I could actually understand most of it: I finally could be free and play on my own.

From that day, I stopped relying on others and trust only myself! \(^o^)/ what a great feeling!

My japanese is obviously not perfect at all, but it’s still enough for me to play, and that was my main goal from the beginning; that’s why, if you want to study japanese, I suggest you to decide first which level are you aiming to reach:

Do you want to watch anime without subs? Focus on your listening skills.

Do you want to play otoge? Learn hiragana and basic kanji first.

Do you want to live and work in Japan? then you have to master every aspect of the language.

I think many people give up on studying because they set their expectations too high in the beginning and get depressed if they cannot reach that level soon: being perfect at japanese will take you years of hard studying, are you sure you need to learn everything?

I’m not ashamed to say I can’t write at all, because I don’t need it: I don’t plan on living in Japan, and obviously otoge for me are just an hobby, that’s why I’ve learned only what allowed to play.

Focus on your main goal, but don’t forget that you need to take slow and constant steps to reach it: you won’t be able to learn japanese overnight, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t understand as fast as you imagined.

If your goal is to play otoge, I can give you a few tips that helped me:

  • start from learning hiragana and katakana;

  • learn basic kanji of the most used verbs and words;

  • start from a simple otoge, and don’t be afraid to rely on translations; but at the same time, don’t be lazy and try to read as much as you can on your own;

  • try to play a simple otoge on your own; when you see a kanji you don’t know, search the meaning and try to memorize it;

  • play a more serious otoge, with a real plot; don’t be ashamed if you need to go back and check translations, because you’re obviously going to see many new kanji; but don’t give up, keep trying to understand on your own first!

  • now you should be able to play a “normal” otoge; keep looking for unknown kanji, but don’t overdo it: if they are too many, you probably won’t be able to remember all of them, but the most important thing is to keep improving.

  • in the end, you will be able to play also difficult otoge, like the historical ones; but don’t worry if you’ll meet tons of new kanji and you’ll feel like you can’t read japanese anymore!

At least, that’s what I’ve done, and it worked for me.

Everyone uses a different method to learn, and I don’t think there’s one better than others: you just need to find out what’s the best for you, and don’t give up if you don’t see great results immediately. Being constantly exposed to the language will help you a lot to memorize, so playing games or learning a few kanji everyday it’s really important, to keep your mind always focused.

Remember that you’re studying because it will help you to reach something you love: if you see it as a burden and hope it will end soon, you won’t go anywhere.

I hope this post can help someone, I loved so much to share my experience and opinions with you! If you have questions, or want me to write about anything else, don’t be afraid to ask! \(^o^)/

My Japan purchases!

As promised, it’s time to show you some of the nice stuff I’ve bought in Japan! \(^o^)/

Before leaving, I had a goal in mind: buying all the cheap otoge I could find! I had a really long list of games I’ve been wanting to play, but I couldn’t have them all because, as we know, importing is expensive. That’s why, before leaving, I’ve read a lot of reviews, and took notes: how many were really interesting? which was the right price to buy them? Believe me or not, I made a rank from “I can spend about 4000 yen for this” to “I won’t buy it for more than 1500 yen”, and I stayed quite faithful to it!

I want to show you the cheapest ones first:


I’ve bought Trigger kiss on the first day, it was sold at Akihabara’s book off: I’ve payed about 2000 yen. I’ve always wanted to play this game, because it’s from the Glass heart princess staff (and you know how much I love that game) and the reviews make it sound really funny!

Then, Yakka yakou and Rear Pheles, for 1500 yen each: I think I bought them in Ikebukuro’s book off. I wasn’t that interested, they were quite low on my list, but they were really cheap, so why don’t give them a chance?

I’ve bought Binary Star in Nakano broadway, and I payed only 1700 yen; that made my day! I’ve always been interested in this game, I can’t wait to play it!

I usually don’t buy LE, because….well, I don’t have enough money! But when I saw the Re:viced LE sold for only 2000 yen, I obviously bought it!

Then, let’s talk about the more expensive ones.


I was curious about Dance with Devils: I’ve watched the anime and it didn’t really impress me, so I haven’t bought the game at full price, when it was released; I hoped to find it somewhere quite cheap, but it’s still popular, so I had to lower my hopes. I didn’t know if it was worth 4000 yen, I thought about it for a while, and yet got it. I hope I won’t regret it later!

I was also searching for Period Cube, I entered a few stores to compare the prices (yes, I know my life is sad) until I’ve seen it sold for 3200 yen, and I thought it was not a bad deal.

I was really interested in 7’s scarlet too, because the reviews are all really good… and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the LE sold for less than 5000 yen, even if it was released just a couple months before! Obviously, I got it.

The last game I’ve bought, on the last night in Tokyo, was Haitaka: it was the release day, and it felt so good seeing so many copies sold in the entrance of Akihabara’s book off! Give my copy pleaseeeee!This will be forever a good memory, to remind me that I was in Japan on September 29th.

Moving on from games, time to show you my music purchases!


I used to be a great Arashi and Kanjani’s fan years ago, so I looked everywhere for old CDs and singles released when I was a huge fangirl of the groups. And I found them in Akihabara’s Mandarake! Arashi’s Too be free single was sold for only 50 yen! I swear I looked at the price like “have they forgotten a zero? Is this real?”, and the same was for all the others, sold for 200/300 yen.

While I was shopping in Nakano, I’ve seen many old copies of B’s log sold for 100 yen, so I thought “why not? In the worst case, I might use them as posters!” and I’ve bought the most recent ones. Also, an Arashi book, still for 100 yen, and a Storm Lover fanbook. (Can you feel my eternal love for Book offs?)


I didn’t even know that the most popular otoge had manga, but all these were priced 100 yen each, so I gave them a chance. I’m still reading Clock zero’s light novel, that’s really good!


Now, time to show my action figures.

As I’m a Project diva fan, you cannot blame me if I immediately bought this cute Miku, priced only 1800 yen!


Also, Oikawa is my favourite Haikyuu’s character, that’s why I bought it too, for the same price.


I’ve never bought badges, even if they are so popular everywhere, but I’ve trusted my luck with gatcha a few times. And these are the results: sometimes it was good (Sakuya is so cute), sometimes quite bad (can you see Klap’s sensei? Why couldn’t it be Sousuke or Camil??).


Also, my only otome road purchase, were those cushions priced about 500 yen each.


Cushions seem so expensive everywhere, so when I’ve seen them at decent price, they had to be mine!

That’s about everything, I also bought a few geisha souvenirs for my family and I exposed one in my living room too. (my boyfriend bought many figures instead, so now our house seems a shop, really). Thank you for reading, I hope you liked it! \(^o^)/

My Tokyo trip! (September 2016)

It’s been a while since I came back from Japan, but my blog is kind of new and I thought it would be good to share here my experience! \(^o^)/


First of all, I’m from Italy so it took me about 24 hours to get there: 12 hours on the plane, plus the train, the subway… well, let’s say it was really tiring. But I’ve dreamed about this for my all life, so I was happy more than anything!
Unfortunately it was raining on the first day, so finding our hotel wasn’t that simple and I needed to ask for directions: that’s when I realized that japanese people really don’t know a single english world! well, I was expecting they were not fluent in english, or at least most of them, but………. I hoped that those who live in a big city like Tokyo were used to deal with tourists sometimes! but in fact, they don’t even speak basic english words. Anyway, even if my japanese is bad, I realized I needed to use that al least to survive.
Needless to say, it was the same also in my hotel: as soon as the staff noticed that I’m able to understand a little japanese, they immediately talked to me like I was a japanese person, they didn’t even talk to me slowly!
After all this struggle, I finally started to explore the city.
My hotel was in Asakusa Bashi, so from there I could just walk to Akihabara… in fact, we were there almost every evening!  Since it was still raining very hard, we entered some random shops: the first one was a book off, and since that moment we decided that it was our favourite place for shopping!
It felt so strange to see otoge sold among other games, and some were really cheap! I bought Trigger Kiss for about 2000 yen, and it was just the beginning! \(^o^)/
The next day, we decided to enter every Akihabara store. It took us about 10 hours, I don’t even know how I managed to survive, anyway it felt like a dream! In fact, Akihabara was really different from what I expected: I had this image of “men’s place”, but it’s not true at all! Ok, you can easily see hentai, but there’s also many merch for girls!
Animate is really girlish, you don’t really need to go to ikebukuro to see otome stuff, but the prices were really high, so I just watched without really buying anything. Why should I buy there a game for 7000/8000 yen? It’s even cheaper to buy from Italy! Anyway, the most popular stuff seemed to be Love Live for men and B Project for girls.
My boyfriend wanted to buy One Punch Man, One piece, Naruto, Attack on Titan’s stuff… he was so depressed to see that there isn’t much shounen merch in a place that is supposed to be for men!
While he was complaining, I’ve bought many other cheap games (the LE of Reviced was about 1800 yen) and also otome manga for 100 yen each! I didn’t even know that Clock Zero’s novel existed and I bought it immediately!

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The 3rd day was dedicated to “traditional shopping”: we went to Asakusa, to see the temple and buy a few souvenirs for our family/friends. I fell in love with little geisha dolls, there are so many of different sizes and clothes… I’d buy them all! So I bought one for my mother, one for me and one for my aunt.
Unfortunately it was raining so hard, that we needed to go early to the hotel to change clothes, because even if I had an umbrella I was soaking wet.


The weather got better the next day, while I was in Shinjuku.
As usual, even if I saw many stores, book off was my favourite! I took a lot of pictures, even if Shinjuku itself didn’t impress me: apart from the Gozzilla, nothing really amazed me.
Also,the square enix bar was really expensive, but the store with the figure’s room was really amazing!


On the 5th day, I went to Nakano Brodway.
As it was saturday, I was afraid to see too many people, but it wasn’t a problem at all, at least until 3pm. In fact, I admit I thought to have more “problems”, both in the stores and on the train, for the huge crowd: but if you go there around 10am, before the shops open, then you can enjoy shopping without worrying! 
The Mandarake had so much interesting stuff, we spend a lot of money and ate delicious sushi.


On Sunday we went to Shibuya: we hoped to enter the Parco store, but it was closed for a while (what a bad luck), so we moved to Harajuku. My friend wanted to go there on Sunday to see cosplayers and “weird people”, but I haven’t seen many… tbh, the strangest people weren’t japanese or asian at all.
I think many people idealize Japan as a place where you can cosplay in the streets everyday, but it’s obviously not true, not even in “anime places” like Akihabara: you see many maids, but they are working, not doing it for fun. In fact, the only cosplayers I saw were american/european people, who probaly thought it was “normal” going out dressed up like that………… well, it isn’t. 


On the 7th day, I finally went to Ikebukuro.
I had a lot of expectations: I knew the otome road was not huge as Akihabara, but there are many stores, so I hoped to buy a lot of stuff… well, I was quite disappointed. As usual, the Animate was crazily expensive and even the book off wasn’t interesting for me… and I saw hentai there too! Wtf, isn’t this OTOME road?
I think many things are changing, from the past: Akihabara is not just a man’s place anymore and at the same time Ikebukuro is not just for girls. Apart from the Mandarake, which really sells just BL stuff! XD
Another thing, while we’re at it: I don’t get why people complain about the hentai section, because almost every store has also a BL section… some posters are quite explicit too, and you normally see them in Akihabara! People should be more mature: if you go to manga stores, you know that probably there is adult stuff everywhere, of every kind, just deal with it. Being shocked or disgusted for hentai, and immediately going to buy BL rated stuff without problems, makes no sense to me.


The next day, I went to Ueno.
The park was really amazing, I took a lot of pictures at every corner! 
Unfortunately, it was really hot… well, the weather is really different from Italy: when it’s hot in Italy, it’s because of the sun, while in Japan I felt like suffocating from the humidity… really, I couldn’t breathe! how can they survive?!
I had to go home quite early, before collapsing there…

At night, we went to karaoke! I had a lot of fun, singing anime and idol’s song has always been a dream for me! it was quite expensive, but totally worth it.
My boyfriend took a lot of embarassing videos, which will never be shown to anybody… I still have some pride left, you know? XD

On the 9th day, we went again to Ikebukuro.
I was there to see the Evangelion store and the Rejet shop, but both were quite disapponting… they were so small! Before entering the shopping mall, there were a lot of people in line, waiting for the opening… and most of them were there for Rejet shop, which was immediately so crowded! I even had problems entering and seeing stuff, I swear! Nothing was really interesting anyway tbh… but it was funny to see also an old woman with her bag full of Rejet’s badges!
The japanese stores are really different from all the anime/game conventions I’ve seen in Italy, because you can see also people in their 40s and 50s looking for manga and games like it’s totally normal… that’s really amazing, how people there don’t think it’s just an hobby for young people!


The last day was dedicated to Minato.
We went to the highest observatory of the Tokyo tower and it was really fascinating, to see Tokyo from above… I really felt like somehow I’ve accomplished my dream!
I’ve bought a lot of souvenirs, also the weather was finally good, so I really enjoyed it.



At night, we went to Akihabara for the last time: I’ve bought Haitaka, and it was so good to see an otoge exposed in the entrance of the store, as a new release of the day! That’s definetly something that I will never see in Italy, sadly.
On the next day, I went home………… and my trip finished.
I have a few regrets, but I’m overall happy about it, I did almost everything I wanted to and for the first time I’ve seen with my own eyes how is living in Japan: something was as I imagined, something was not… but I’m not that disappointed. I don’t know when I’ll be able to go back, but I’d like to visit Osaka next time, it looks very different from Tokyo… maybe next year, who knows?

Tomorrow I’ll be posting about all the amazing stuff I’ve bought there!

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