Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Heimtextil 2015

Heimtextil Japan 2015 is a trade show, fair and exhibition organized annually to showcase both local and international interior furnishing and accessories. This year, it was held at Tokyo Big Sight between June 10 and June 12, 2015.

I was lucky enough to attend the last day of exhibition partly as my personal adventure and partly to scout for furniture that we may use for our remodeling project in Tachikawa. With Shimamura-san, one of our interior coordinators, I ventured for the first time to Tokyo Big Sight.

The whole exhibition was housed in West Halls 1, 2, 3, and 4. There were at least 800 exhibitor (according to the pamphlet). We had to make an early registration online via Interior Lifestyle. Still, when we arrived at the venue, there were long lines for both online and on-site registration.

The halls were massive but seemed so small with all the exhibits and displays. There were local items from Japan, European furnishings, Disney exhibit, and other stuff that made me feel like I was travelling around the world. There were also demonstration for items like kitchen appliances, and hand-printed wallpapers. The exhibitors we met were very friendly and accommodating. Some can speak in English (which was good for me), while others are purely Nihonggo. But all in all, we had fun, especially collecting many brochures and catalogs.

Too bad taking pictures was not allowed in general (unless in media). We were able to take some with permission of the exhibitors, but most of the really cool stuff were off-limits. So, this post is a lot shorter than I was used to. But before I go, here are the limited photos we were able to document. Have fun and see you soon!

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Magical Day (Part 3)

Picking up from where we left off , we had lunch at Louie's Pizzeria. In Universal Studios Singapore last 2012, we also ate in Louie's and had a HUGE slice of pizza. I was expecting the same here, but was a bit disappointed that they serve regular slice only. Oh well, at least it's a familiar food for me.

After lunch (around 3pm), we decided to ride Jaws. I've never seen the movie but I did like the ride. Unlike the other attractions in the park, this one is not a roller coaster. We rode in a boat and were like tourists in Amity Island. Sharks started attacking us and there were many effects (gunshots and fires). It was short, but sort of exciting.

Around 4pm, we have finished every ride in USJ (except Jurassic Park which was closed), so we decided to have one more round with Harry Potter. The lines were longer, but manageable. Afterwards, we saw a group of people sitting around a small stage near the castle. Rina-san asked the staff in-charged and she said that there was to be a show.

A little later, 5 people walked on stage wearing Hogwarts uniform. They were British (based on their accents) and they were representative of the Hogwarts choir - complete with the frog! They sang a capella songs and HP themes. Thank goodness they did it in English. I posted the videos in my Youtube channel if you want to check it out.

Finally, we decided to end our wonderful day and go back to reality. We went back to the hotel to get our stuff (we had more bags due to the souvenirs) and took the trains back to Tachikawa City, Tokyo. Rina-san even made me run to catch the shinkansen ride! It wasn't fun and I'm not doing it again. We took the same route back and got home before 11pm.

So, that's the end of my magical day as a sort of Hogwarts student. If you wish to go and experience it yourself, I'd advise that you fly directly to Osaka from wherever you came from. It'll be cheaper than riding the bullet train. Also, stay in the hotel inside Universal City, so you can get the early admission perks. 30 minutes makes a lot of difference, believe me. And lastly, have fun and enjoy! USJ is a lot smaller than Disneyland, so you can probably see and experience everything in one day. Don't forget to take lots of pictures!

Before I go, here are some more random pictures during the day. Enjoy! Talk to you soon! <3

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Magical Day (Part 2)

OK. So, to continue my story from last time, we stayed in Hotel Keihan inside Universal City. Because of that, we were granted early admission in the park. Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is open from 9:30am to 7pm on weekdays and until 9pm on weekends. We were able to get in at 9am along with the other hotel guests, so we had at least 30 minutes advantage.

Of course, we went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first. There were 2 rides in that part and a lot of shops and displays that replicates movie Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. The castle was just as I imagined, surrounded by the Black Lake and the Forbidden Forest.

Inside the castle, guests must leave their belongings in the provided lockers before the ride, so I was not able to get pictures of the interior. The waiting areas display the different parts of the castle like Dumbledore's office, Gryffindor common room (with the Fat Lady singing at the door), DADA classroom, and the stairwell with the talking portraits. At the end is the ride itself, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It is 4D and 3D at the same time! We get to ride in a chair-lift type vessel (for lack of better word) and given 3D glasses. It was like watching a movie while riding a roller coaster. We get to fly with Harry through the forest, the Chamber of Secrets and around the Quidditch arena. We fought spiders, dementors, dragons, and escaped the Whomping Willow. It was amazing!

After that, we tried Flight of the Hippogriff, which is basically a small roller coaster in open area. We did see Buckbeak and Hagird's hut with his motorcycle just outside. Since we were very early, the only people during our turn was me and Rina-san (capacity: 20, passenger: 2) and we were sitting in the front seat. Good thing I finally managed my fear of falling a few years before. Whew!

We finished both rides in under an hour, so we decided to buy some souvenirs in case we can't reenter the area later on. We visited Honeyduke's and bought Chocolate Frogs, Rina-san also bought Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans as souvenir for Goto-san. Then we went to Zonko's where I finally saw Pygmy Puffs. We also went to Dervish and Banges to buy some more souvenirs. We hang out outside the Three Broomsticks waiting for it to open so we can buy Butterbeers.

OMG! Butterbeer is fantastic! Tastes like caramel, butter, vanilla and heaven! We also got to bring home the mugs from the store, so had a great drink and a unique souvenir all in one. I will really miss the taste of that magical drink.

We were deciding what to do next when a staff member stopped us to see a show. There was a wand demonstration in Ollivander's Shop! We got in and an assistant explained some stuff I didn't understand (Nihonggo) then we went into an inner room where an American (I guessed based on his accent) actor was playing as Ollivander's assistant. He was speaking in English and Nihonggo so I got to understand what was happening. He chose a random audience and gave her wands to try. Just like Harry in the book 1, she had to sample a couple of mismatches (causing drawers to open randomly and lighting to strike), before finding her wand (ash with unicorn hair - and a beam of light shone on her). That was the end of the demo, but I'm not sure if she got to keep the wand. (If she did, I am totally jealous!)

When we finally had our fill of the Harry Potter-ness, we decided to move on and enjoy other rides in USJ. But before we leave HP World, we had to take more pictures with the very realistic dislays scattered around the area.

So, we went around USJ to find more exciting rides. Apparently, they really love roller coasters as almost every attraction uses roller coasters with just different backgrounds and action. We fought villains alongside The Amazing Spiderman, and time-traveled with Doc in Back to the Future. We had a surprising ride in Space Fantasy - The Ride, which we originally thought to be a mellow attraction.

Then we watched an interactive show in Transformer 2, as well 4D theater of Evangelion. And since Shingeki no Kyoujin is quite famous not just in Japan but in Philippines as well, we decided to see the walking tour attraction in USJ. They showed a sort of summary of the whole plot with matching displays of the characters in the position they died in the anime. Too bad I can't understand the narratives, but the pictures were clear. I realized I don't want to watch this anime because there are too many gores (can't handle blood).

So, my post is getting too long again. I will continue this trilogy on the next part. Here is a random photo for you while you wait the ending of my adventure. See you!