This blogpost covers the day of March 27th, 2023 while in Yokohama.
Having finally made it to Japan after so many years of desiring I finally had the chance to visit the ‘Moving Gundam’ in Yokohama. One of the key anchors to my trip, and one which had me go sooner than later to Japan. I could have went in September, instead going instantly even earlier in late-March (March 20th) to see the ‘Moving Gundam’, Cherry Blossoms, and every Kantai Collection themed stuff I could. I had a month anda few weeks to plan everything leading up to this day. After having heard the ‘Moving Gundam’ was being held back in cancelation (March 30th, 2024 closing) I cursed, having made reservations in haste instead of planning it more carefully. It is what it is, and I’m overly happy for having visited Japan, for traveling to Yokohama, and to now (painfully) have seen then Gundam.
I had planned my trip to see Gundam in Odaiba the first week, then the ‘Moving Gundam’ in Yokohama the second time. I even loosely planned to see the Gundam in Fukuoka, sadly having to cancel those plans. I had to be based in Yokohama to connect to the ‘Moving Gundam’, Kamakura (for the trams), and even Yokosuka for the Mikasa Warship museum.
Related Blog Posting (Japan Travel):
Woke up at 6 am, and then again at 7 am. Semi-restless, yet a far more proper sleep. I also felt high amounts of overly “sad” nostalgic vibes from the ‘Handy-man’ Anime, as noted in the end of the previous day. Had to do laundry, even going to the nearby Lawson to which I was told I wasn’t allowed to swap change. I needed 500 yen for the laundry machine, Lawson refused. I then (highly worried) went to the lobby of the hotel seeking out change. They happily changed the coins for me now allowing me to eat food. I ate food while waiting, even catching up on Twitter, until time was ready for me to collect my laundry. I even waited an extra 30 minutes in the lobby waiting for my laundry to be actually done (to be dry).
Too much? Maybe it is. I simply desired the food as advertised on the ordering machine. I desired my salmon, my miso soup, my eggs, and even the crisp (sorry, forgot name). Everything else was an odd bonus, as you’ll learn everything was “lost in translation”, even in image format when ordering from the machine. You wait for your number then you go and pick it up. It’s great. No hassles.
After much waiting (for laundry; 1 hour & 30 minutes later), off we go!
Over the bridge, passed the crossing lights ahead (accidentally running the flashing red pedestrian light), even making my way towards the Sakura trees while enroute to the Gundam in a semi-round-about manner. I cursed on the other side with a local looking at me in neutral curiousity. Sorry, my screw up.
After all these years! ALL THESE YEARS! Other people having gone before me, and even mocking me on Twitter for having gone prior to my arrival. Even the overly morally corrupted Dutch folks I’ve befriended on Petroglyph Games forums during the ‘Star Wars: Empire at War’ era went before I had, even boasting about it. It’s finally my turn. I FINALLY, FINALLY have all the Sakura trees to myself, AND in Japan, for the monthly period I was there. WOOOOO!~
The YEAR OF THE RABBIT!
My few friends to celebrate with me, and a few Japanese hobby folks who followed me before seemingly ghosting me during a later period in Yokohama weeks later, we all enjoyed this moment together making it all that much more special. It was great. The Japanese hobby folks seemed to have enjoyed this moment with me which was glorious. Thank you!
Trying to mimic the types of figure photography I’ve seen done by the Japanese figure photography side of things. Here are my attempts.
(Sorry about my nails. I’ve been cutting them as much as I could, they grow too fast for me to notice.)
Prior to my arrival to Japan I annoucned, on Twitter, I would spend my Japan trip taking Busou Shinki images, and that I am. Here I am proudly taking images of Arnval. I’ve taken my fair share of Busou Shinki images in Japan. I did not lie.
After hitting up a nearby 7/11 (on the opposite end; across the street connected by the foot bridge), I continued my adventure down this path to reach Rinko Park. My feet were in pain, yet I was overly happy about my time in Japan. I was proudly making note of it to my Vancouver friend via Discord, even how I finally had a proper birthday relating to Japan and Sakura trees. No pain, no gain.
I’m genuinely both proud and happy for what I had accomplished, for what I was able to witness. TWENTY PLUS YEARS OF PLANNING AND DESIRING TO TRAVEL TO JAPAN! 20+ years.
(It however saddens me I may have difficulties replicating this in following years thanks to Canada’s narcistic Dictator, Justin Trudeau sabotaging everything he can, even my own plans.)
I’m genuinely aware it’s too early to celebrate my birthday early (as of March 27th), especially with it being Japan time. My birthday was the next day over in JST time, and even 2 days away EST time. Even so, this whole Japan trip was a big birthday present to myself.
I was inching my way closer to Rinko park, yet absolutely in pain. My feet caused me to limp. No pain, no gain. I’m aware I was highly awkward in my walk, it however had to be done! I HAD to visit every bit of Japan while I was there, and for the Gundam, and for myself.
I had to rest my feet at Takashima Chuo Park. They were in absolute pain. Rested, and rested, yet was wasting too much time so I had to keep moving.
Gradually arriving in Rinko Park bit by bit; One painful step at a time.
I genuinely don’t want to spend $5000 on a new camera lens. $800 on a 360 cam, sure. Either way, this is awesome. I was amused using my phone camera seeing what was on the other side, even comparing it to my natural vision.
I was in a Discord video call at this point taking images on-and-off constantly. My friend couldn’t figure this Fruit Tree out, or at least its significant meaning. It’s simply a display, and that’s how it was left. It appears to be erected in respect to the Brazilians; 100 years of friendship, even if it was noted Japanese highly dislike the bluntness of Brazilians. Too rude, etc. Japanese people at least try to be respectful to everybody. Formalities are fun!
Located roughly around ‘Hammerhead Park’.
I was still in a discord call catching this bus in the corner of my eye. I rushed, I cursed, I said – “FUCK!” – seeing this bus running away on me. GOD DAMN IT! CHOTTO MATTE! WAIT! WAIT! OI!
At least I have something over nothing. Something is better than nothing. THIS BUS! I’m putting it on my bucket list to capture in a proper framing when I return to Japan. IF I ever do. This bus……. You’re on my hunting list!
I was admiring everything I was seeing, even thinking back to how neat my Yokohama hotel was. Even overhearing how my friend admired Japan’s bricked sidewalks, how weird Japan is, yet how overly fancy the sidewalks are. Japan just knows how to design things.
I should have taken more, yet was in a rush. Again, something is better than nothing ;).
At this point in the walk my friend and I were conversing about what it’s like in Japan. While we’re aware he admires Japan’s pedestrian brick walkways, I noted how easy it was converting my cash into Yen via the Conbini ATMS (7/11 ATMS) obtaining roughly $100 a day. Sometimes my cash would overlap into the next day while mainly used for PASMO transportation (10,000 yen), and even various food costs. It all adds up catching me off guard on some days.
Getting around is fairly easy, hence why I admire Japan so much. JR Rail, the Conbini, and everything. It’s overly convenient. You actually feel like a human, even if Japan’s society is far more brutal and dark relating to work regulations, and other social stresses. Not everything is perfect, yet Japan knows how to put everything at your fingertips.
Sadly, Japanese people are pressured horribly badly to the point they suicide in alarming high numbers during specific school periods, work harassments, or in general. People burn out taking their own lives. It’s depressing, even knowing the world is a beautiful place. With that in mind Japan has installed numerous tactics in preventing such a thing by installing bird noises in specific JR stations, beautiful scenery, barriers, and other beauties. Sadly, they won’t tackle the main issues, yet always go for the side angles. Basically, if you work hard you’re allowed to play hard (for the most part).
I had to mute my friend on the Discord video call, he was saying overly silly things. A case of second-hand embarrassment.
Finally arriving at Yamashita Park while still on a Discord voice call with my friend admiring every little bit of Japan we’re both able to come across.
Sorry, I came to Japan for Japan oriented influences. I didn’t travel to Japan to be bombarded with more Western stuff, as weird or as rude as this may seem. Foreigners hate foreigners in Japan, except for certain contexts. Now, if I went to Akihabara or Yokosuka then it’s far more understandable.
(Note: I saw ‘Hotel New Grand’ on a TV channel talking about how old, historical, and special it is. Even serves specialized spaghetti, something I’m overly sick of eating. I’ll take everything other than spaghetti.)
Various people were looking at me more than they had previously done prior while snacking on some Glico-brand ice cream from a coin machine. Still had my friend on Discord voice call. It was a nice chill moment relaxing to some nice Japanese ice cream.
I genuinely desired to go up that tower, both prior and after my Gundam adventures. I failed to find my way in and around it.
“Hey, Arcticu. You are aware you could have taken a train, bus, or bike to Gundam Factory instead of murdering your feet?” – Japanese folks, or Lurkers.
You’re correct, and I would have taken a Metro had I been more locally experienced. I however had to learn my locations and geography by touring the area as a tourist. I had to walk around to soak in the scenery, as I had done with Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Bratislava, Modra, Pezinok; Havana, Varadero; Tokyo area (as a whole), Fujikawaguchiko, among other areas.
I finally properly arrived at the Gundam Factory Yokohama to finally see the Moving Gundam. Nice! Friend and myself let one another go to allow myself to enjoy the Gundam experience. Was a glorious time. Sadly, the platform side of things were sold out for the day preventing me from seeing the Gundam head staring at me. I also sadly couldn’t really purchase any bigger Gundam merchandise seeing as how I’m a tourist with no space. Just imagining that clear green Haro in the hotel room and the luggage. Scary thought!
“Oh shit! I’m taking the video in the wrong angle. I need to landscape mode the videos!“, Silly me. (Hence, the below video. The above video connects with the below.)
I’m not going to lie, every performance really teared me up. As a Gundam fan, one who grew up on Gundam Wing (2000), and even Gundam Seed later on. Even eventually watching the originals onward, this really made me emotional. I’ve played the hell out of ‘Journey to Jaburo’ on PS2, and the two Arcade games. I bought every Gundam game I could get my hands on for PS2 and PS3, some even for VITA and PSP. Sadly, my VITA was sabotaged by yogurt in some freak happening. Unsure how. I digress.
I genuinely do tear up. Not cry, yet tear up. Yes, it hit me that hard because everything is always bland and “no fun allowed” in Canada, yet Japan always knows how to have fun with things relating to advertisements, etc. Seeing something from an Anime finally appearing in reality is a great thing, especially when accompanied by sounds and movement.
I constantly live in an – “no fun allowed” – environment making Anime hit me harder, this even harder than Anime.
While here I constantly kept thinking: “Man, this is the best birthday present I could ever had.“
Even if its a few days early, it still made me happy I could treat myself to my own birthday in this overly special way.
While here, I also saw a few live-streaming (foreigners) livestreaming this for their followers. I’m certain I appeared in their live-stream during that time, maybe they even saw me become quietly emotional with each main performance. The ‘Mercury’ Gundam performance really hit me hard (further below).
The whole premise of Gundam Factory was to test out the Gundam in this area, even test out new experiments. This area is built like a lab, hence why it’s crude and simplistic, yet somehow beautiful.
Having seen numerous Japanese figure photography folks take images with their Busou Shinki, I had to do the same. I had to try to take my own version of Busou Shinki to remember this occasion by.
At certain points it became frustrating with people getting in my way assuming I wasn’t doing anything. I had to wait a bit before having another chance to take images. I became frustrated enough having Arnval placed on my arm, and not my bag. Needed her elevated higher to avoid the crowd obstructing the view.
I couldn’t buy any fancy souviners, only basic kinds. Simple popcorn. Had to wait, tweeting a bit of my experience. Hyping it all up. I tried standing Arnval up on the popcorn with the folks next to me accidentally causing her to fall down through table vibrations. It was a frustrating 5 minutes trying to have her posed up for this image. One of my best images.
Look! I know the movements are basic, it’s the whole experience making it overly special to me. I don’t want to be gaslit, or anything. It was genuinely emotional for me, with special thanks to the music and sounds. Even how they had the Gundam move, the smoke. The whole atmosphere was emotional to me.
(Note: I read one person also had a similar reaction as I had in Odaiba during the Gundam Unicorn transformation, yet sadly lost their tweet between then and now. They became as emotionally invested as I had.)
Like I said, I saw Japanese hobbiests taking figure photography pictures this way, I had to do similar on my end while I had the chance.
The Gundam Mercury Performance:
[GFY Winter Illumination – 2022 (Mobile Suit Gundam the Witch from Mercury) Start-up]:
I was oblivious at the time with how much this ‘Witch from Mercury’ performance would hit me hard on an emotional nostalgic level. It’s no joke, it genuinely made me tear up, and again, if I ended up on someone’s livestream they would see me nearly tearing up. Almost crying. Almost.
Everything during the start up was special. The light effects, the smoke. Everything. The intermission part waiting on the reverse start-up was overly surreal, as one would expect from a purely Japanese experience. It’s also why I favour Japanese created worlds in VRChat, this felt like that. Everything was surreal, special, and ‘digitally’ sparkly; It was a genuinely magical experience. The tingling noises, the soundtrack. I loved it, even when I eventually had to leave while shivering from the cold weather.
Yes, it was weird how Aerial Gundam wasn’t being used, yet you can only do so much with this Gundam. It’s not easy to swap, hence the apology by the Gundam group further down in the blog. Feel free to read it (once you get to it).
The darker it got the more surreal and special it became. The light effects simply added to the effects of hyping up my emotional state seeing a moving Gundam. Again, it was like witnessing everything done purely in a Japanese oriented VRChat world. Uncorrupted, and purely to the point of a dream-like state.
(Because VRChat can be heavily politically corrupted, hence why I have to stress the point of ‘Japanese’ and ‘Dream-like state’. VRChat is best when it’s a neutral experience, an escapism, as such in this Gundam performance.)
My god, was I highly invested, soaked up in the intended atmosphere. I even proudly noted on Twitter how special this was to me, how “nostalgic” it was.
It felt magical, surreal, and dream-like. Hearing those synthetic glittering noises, bell noises, and similar made it feel overly special. Made me emotional, as noted time and time again. I’ll never forget this (I hope). It was a genuinely grand experience.
They’re proud of what they’ve accomplished, yet disappointed they couldn’t do much more than they had already done. Technical limitations, among other factors.
I genuinely want to cry. I really do. I genuinely do…. Everything is just so damn beautiful.
I was walking as quickly as I could wondering where to shelter, where to eat, and how to get to wherever I’m going. Everything was random at this point. I also genuinely desired to enter the Yokohama Marine Tower, even Google Mapping how to get into it. It allegedly claimed it was closed, or maybe I misread things.
Unsure where to go, I decided to drop by a coin restaurant named ‘Ikkakuya’. I even made a double-take upon entry wondering if I should bother going in or not. I had, I ordered and was surrounded by overly loud fellow foreigners. Waited a few, eventually given my Ramen in an overly polite (maybe slightly intimate manner) to which the foreigners next to me were commenting about it. I was genuinely shocked by the over-formalities she had given me.
“Holy shit! Did you see that?! She gave him special treatment with a special greetings. She went all out with that greetings and that pose!” – Foreigners
(Or something to that effect.)
I was both happy about it, yet frustrated by the foreigners. Even freezing slightly from how it cooled off that day. The wind was brutal. I feel bad for not bowing back to her, or something. Some sort of formality. I was mentally zoned out.
I was so pleased with this place becoming my new favourite place. I would return here in a heart beat, if able. The special hospitality (I may have read too much into it), and the great Ramen. It’s now the only thing I’m familiar with, something I desire to venture back to any time, even if it’s rated semi-poorly. Food is food, and it was good food. As was the overly kind service making other foreigners jealous ;).
Anything that puts overly obnoxious foreigners in their place I’m happy with.
Yokohama, you’re genuinely beautiful.
From here I walked directly back to my hotel in a similar path I had the night prior. Interesting what I kept seeing on the way back, even anti-suicide nettings on bridges next to highways. Bought beer at Lawson, fell asleep a few times doing “things” (not noted as to what), simply too tired for the day. Azur Lane, Twitter, maybe some Anime, a shower, and then slept.
Whatever happened that night shall be forgotten to time. Maybe even watching a scenic JR Rail channel going through various parts of Japan, or similar. Who knows. Speculate as you will.
And SLEEP. Sleepy Arcticu is sleepy. Zzzzzzzzz~