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Movie Going Madness in Japan

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  • Love the pictures. I can't imagine seeing Reiko Ike on the big screen.


    • Originally posted by The Silly Swede View Post
      That place looks so inviting! My local arthouse cinema is so boring and grey, even the waiting room at my dentist is more inviting :(

      Originally posted by BW Haggar View Post
      It warms my heart to see Laputa Asagaya still thriving.

      I'd love to be able to visit again some time.
      Not only are they the coolest movie theater, they also have the coolest movie tickets. I scanned some old tickets that I have saved over the past 11 years. They print themed tickets for every retrospective, and some programs can have a dozen different ticket arts (you can see that I’m missing some from the Kazuhiko Yamaguchi program, lol).


      • Those are incredible. I am seriously thinking I may need to plan a trip to Japan. It doesn't fit my lifestyle, but I'd have the time of my life.


        • Somehow I ended up here again...

          Actually I needed to take an early morning flight from Tokyo to Finland (Christmas, you know), which provided the perfect excuse to arrive one day early and go to the movies! I had to execute a very tight schedule, but everything went perfect thanks to Japan’s super reliable public transport and I arrived Laputa Asagaya 7 minutes before my first film, exactly as planned (after first taking a domestic flight from Chitose to Haneda, (literally) running to the airport capsule hotel to drop off my bags, running to the train station to take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Sta., rushing to the Yamanote line to ride to Tokyo Sta. and transfer to Chuo Rapid line to Asagaya, and finally eat three mini Kit Kats during the 5 minute walk to Laputa because I couldn’t fit a lunch break or even a convenience store visit into the schedule).

          Laputa was still playing their 25th Anniversary Program. First up was the 1969 Toho film Bonds of Love (愛のきずな) from yet another gorgeous 35mm print. Good film, too. Jerk travel agency employee Makoto Fujita falls in love with pretty girl Mari Sono, only to learn too late that she’s secretly married to a violent criminal (Makoto Sato) who’s about to be released from prison in 10 days! Based on a Seicho Matsumoto story, with a rather evident Hitchcock vibe, though some plot turns feel a bit forced.

          Next up was… a meal actually. Asagaya Kitchen. I hadn’t eaten anything other than breakfast and the mini Kit Kats.

          Back to Laputa with Junya Sato’s legendary True Account of the Ginza Tortures (実録・私設銀座警察) (1973) up next. Although I don’t personally consider this one of the very best jitsuroku yakuza films (many others do, however), it is probably the bleakest, plain most violent jitsuroku film ever made and absolutely essential viewing. For the record, the 35mm print (produced by Laputa Asagaya about a decade ago when I last saw it) does look a bit rough with yellow/brown colours and strong contrast. I think Toei’s digital master looks about the same but I’ve only seen it briefly. I’m not convinced the film is supposed to look quite like that, but the materials / negative may be in rough shape.

          The last film was Akira Kato’s melancholic Roman Porno drama Office Lady Journal: Wet Bundle (OL日記 濡れた札束) (1974). I’ve never held Kato in a particularly high regard, but perhaps I should give some of his other films a re-watch. This movie, which is loosely inspired by a real life incident where a female bank clerk (played by Aoi Nakajima) who stole money for her gambling addict boyfriend, is actually rather complex, following its protagonist in several different phases of her life and moving back and forth in time throughout the film. It’s a slow burner and I don’t quite agree with some of the highest praise it’s getting, but there’s certainly something about it and the closing shot is great.

          Same poster earlier in a different place. Note: the poster hasn't been censored by the theater, but by an earlier user. There's a piece of black tape that has been partially removed. Whoever tried to remove it had to stop halfway when paper started coming off with it.

          Merry Christmas!


          • We have really good rep-theaters here in NYC, but it looks like Japan wins, hands down.
            Rock! Shock! Pop!


            • Originally posted by Ian Jane View Post
              We have really good rep-theaters here in NYC, but it looks like Japan wins, hands down.
              I feel incredibly lucky to live in Japan, even if I have to fly to Tokyo for these screenings.

              I forgot to mention this before, but Laputa's Asagaya 25th Anniversary program premiered yet another brand new print (for Police Department Story: 12 Detectives). It's pretty amazing that in Japan in the year 2023 new 35mm prints are still being produced for 60 year old films.

              35mm is still alive and well in Japan, well, in Tokyo at least. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know Tokyo cinemas and their program so well that I think I can make a pretty accurate estimate that roughly 800 film prints are still screened every year in roughly 4000 screenings. A bit under half of those screenings would be in Laputa Asagaya, with the rest in Jimbocho Theater, Cinema Vera, Shin bungeiza, and the Film Archive. There are occasional 35mm screenings in other theaters as well, but I didn't include them in the count.

              Speaking of Laputa, next year's program is already looking good for a Toei fan. The very entertaining 9 film Yagyu Chronicles series (1961-1964) screens in the Morning Show from January, and Feb-Apr. the massive Main Program feature the third volume of Toei Oizumi 60s modern day productions. Included in the program are, among others, tons of Mako Midori films such as Women's Native Ground: Bitches' Chains (1965) ja Return to the Women's Native Ground (1966). I may just have to book a pair of flights again...


              • This comes a bit out of order, but during my earlier (first) Tokyo trip in December I had some time to kill between Godzilla Minus One and Yakuza of Seki, so I went to see Hellraiser at Cinemart Shinjuku. The film just got a nationwide theatrical re-release, but one thing in particular caught my eye...

                It's officially rated PG-12!

                I still remember first seeing this film at the age of 15, when it was on TV one summer, and being pretty shaken by it. Well, I guess I never was the toughest kid around...


                • Shinsekai Toei, never again! - part 1

                  If you’ve been following this thread, you may recall my trip to Osaka’s Shinsekai Toei from a few of years ago. That trip ended up in a disappointment: dirty theatre with a hole in the middle of its screen doing 35mm Toei double features where in both films the image went out of focus after 45 minutes.

                  Fast forward two years and my wife’s gotten herself a ticket to Ed Sheeran’s Osaka concert. So I figured I’d tag along for the trip and go try out Shinseikai Toei again. Surely they’ve fixed their technical problems by now. We headed to Osaka a few days early on Thursday so that I could catch both this week’s program (till Thursday night) and the new program (from Friday morning). It was a gamble with films not yet announced by the time we locked the dates, but it couldn’t have gone better. New Abashiri Prison Story: Escape in the Blizzard (1971) and Yakuza Wolf: Extend my Condolences (1972) were in the first week’s program, followed by Terrifying Girl’s High School: Lynch Law Classroom (1973) and Truck Yaro 10: Hometown Express (1979) from Friday. I even convinced her to join me for the latter double feature. Alas, it all went shit.

                  Thursday morning we woke up to a snow storm in Hokkaido. The trains weren’t running and it took 45 minutes to get to the airport by car – more than twice as long as usual. We missed our 8:50 a.m. flight because we got stuck in a crowded security check line right behind the departure gate, and could not proceed due the missing security check deadline by 3 minutes. JAL staff did not come calling for us either, despite that being their standard policy that they are supposed to do when someone is about to miss a flight (that’s why we thought we were still safe).

                  We spent the next 60 min in a 200 people line to JAL counter (yeah, we weren’t the only ones who missed a flight), and finally got a new flight at 12:00. That one got delayed three times till 13:30, and then cancelled altogether because of snow. Back to the counter line, which was now about 400 people long. Luckily we managed to bypass the wait by making new reservation by phone. We got a new flight for 18:10, delayed to 19:10, 19:40, 20:20, and finally departing at 20:50. We spend over 12 hours at the airport, and must be the only people who went through the security three times in one day. We landed in Osaka around 23:15. And I had though catching a Chiba film with screenings until 10 p.m. would be a piece of cake. So, I missed my first two films entirely.

                  In hindsight, however, I likely didn’t miss anything worth experiencing. Saturday morning at 8:30 me and the pretty wife were standing dumbfounded in front of Shinsekai Toei. There’s a notice saying Truck Yaro’s print was in such poor shape they had changed the program on the fly. My least favourite Red Peony Gambler film, Here to Kill You (1971), would play in its place. Worse yet, the screening times had changed as a result, with the program now starting 25 min earlier than what was stated on their website (which still claimed Truck Yaro was playing despite having been pulled more than 24 hours ago). We missed the start of the program, which was Lynch Law Classroom, and had to kill 90 min while waiting for the next screening which would be Red Peony Gambler.

                  This is where things went from bad to beyond horrible. As we seated for Red Peony and waited for the film to start, I recalled my bad experience two years ago. Surely they have fixed the issue with the picture going out of focus after 45 min? Well, no! It was the contrary! As the film started, the image was completely out of focus from the start, plus about 15-20% of the image cut off from both sides. It was like watching an old ‘widescreen film cropped to full screen’ video presentation, only with picture than on VHS. I went to complain to the staff and they gave some bullshit explanation that it’s just the way it’s supposed to be, and due to the screen size the full image doesn’t fit there. Bullshit! I’ve sat through 300 film print presentations in Tokyo and other cities, including this film, and never witness such abysmal projection, nothing even close to this bad. We ended up walking out after 10 minutes. So, no films for me at all during the Osaka trip. Shinsekai Toei, fuck you! Never again!


                  • Shinsekai Toei, never again! - part 2

                    Staying true to my promise, this post will contain nothing about Shinsekai Toei.

                    My trip was thankfully not a total waste as, in addition to confirming which movie theater I'd never need to visit again, there were a number of other pleasures to be enjoyed. Such as the night scenery of the seedy, dirty, supposedly dangerous Shinsekai area that no Japanese person recommends visiting let alone staying in (we did both!)

                    Lovely drawings at Shinsekai Kokusai, who screen mainstream films on the ground level and pinks underground.

                    And Osaka's famous kushikatsu

                    But the highlight of the tip was surely our visit to Himeji castle, considered the most beautiful surviving castle in Japan, in the city of Himeji. It's easily accessible from Shin Osaka Station by Hello Kitty bullet train (!) in 30 min / 3000 yen. JR rapid train does the same trip in half the price / double the travel time (that was out means to returning to Osaka). The castle itself is located just a 15 min direct walk from Himeji Station.

                    View from the castle


                    • Wow! What a wild experience. I wonder how they stay open. Those pictures are breathtaking. I would love to be there.


                      • Back from a Tokyo tour again. Part 1/3

                        Day 0

                        It wasn’t my plan to have to rush to the airport from work on Thursday night. I was only supposed to spend the weekend in Tokyo. But what can you do when Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973) and Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974) suddenly get announced for Friday morning? You fly a day earlier, that’s what you do!

                        Let’s start with what I missed. Friday Match 1 had been one of the most epic days in history. That’s when Shin bungeiza screened all six Lone Wolf and Cub films back to back from 35mm prints. The marathon was followed by six days of daily double features from Saturday to Friday. I did what I could and rushed to Tokyo a day earlier than planned to catch the final double feature on March 8 (never mind I’ve already viewed all six films from film prints before in Film Archive, Laputa, and Jimbocho).

                        So, flight, capsule, and sleep it was.

                        Day 1

                        I was well prepared for the final two Lone Wolves, having re-watched the first four at home from BD. The films are both amazing, even if part 5 is my least favourite in the series. The films screened from the general distribution prints, which are both a little worn out, part 5 in particular, but still offer a greater viewing experience than you could have at home (I’ve seen parts 1 and 2 from Film Archive’s prints, and they are absolutely stunning and totally wipe the floor with the Criterion BDs).

                        I probably haven’t mentioned yet that Shin Bungeiza has recently adopted a new programming model. They used to do double features in the traditional morning-to-night pattern (the same two films playing back to back from morning to night), however, now they only screen each double feature once a day, and follow it with other program. I’m a little sad to see this change, although I can see the financial logic in it.

                        Oh and I should mention Sonatine encore screenings are still on. They screened Sonatine, Violent Cop and Boiling Point from 35mm prints last summer and they were such a hit that a bunch of encore screenings was organized the following month. Those sold out too, so more screenings were added for the next month. Which sold out. Encore. Repeat. Now is the 9th straight month of Sonatine (Violent Cop and Boiling Point take turns being the double bill partner).

                        I had a couple of hours to kill after the Lone Wolves, so I decided to walk from Ikebukuro to Shinjuku (2.7 km) where my next two films would be playing. Tokyo is a beautiful city with lots of variety between districts, so I like taking long walks just to enjoy the scenery. It was also time to fill my stomach, so I searched for a bowl of ramen and found a place called Ramen Babaichiya near my next theatre Waseda Shochiku. It was a reasonably tasty meal.

                        With noodles in my stomach, it was time for another double feature with the rather clever pairing of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006) from a 35mm print, and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon (2023) from typically dull looking DCP (though it’s a very dull looking movie to begin with) in Waseda Shochiku. I didn’t really fly to Tokyo to catch these two films, but since I had time to kill it was nice revisiting Coppola’s film ahead of the April Japan release of Pricilla. Napoleon came along as a free bonus, and that’s about what it’s worth.

                        This was my first time visiting Waseda Shochiku. It’s immediately evident from the programming and atmosphere that this double feature theatre caters to cultured young adults (including the students of the famed near-by Waseda University). The program is a mix of classics (Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon, and Easy Rider all screen later this month, though only Taxi Driver is from a film print… which I viewed 10 years ago in the now-gone Shimbashi bunka btw.) and semi-new films that lean towards arty/intellectual and have finished their theatrical run in premiere theatres. Meguro Cinema is another theatre with a somewhat similar profile.

                        Upcoming program

                        I chuckled at this sign

                        I don't really like posting screen photos because the photos always make the screen look smaller than it is. That being said, it's not the biggest screen and I made a note to myself to sit on the 5th row next time.
                        Senior Member
                        Last edited by Takuma; 03-17-2024, 10:50 AM.


                        • Back from a Tokyo tour again. Part 2/3

                          Day 2

                          Saturday. I woke up well rested in my capsule after nine hours of sleep, and headed to Higashi Nakano ahead of the day’s film program. I had decided to make an effort to visit at least one of Tabelog’s Top 100 Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo, and my choice was Kashiwagi in Higashi Nakano. This popular and affordable ramen restaurant is famed for their Shio ramen, so I made sure to arrive 20 minutes before the doors open, and managed to be the 4th person in line (there’s only about six seats inside). I cannot claim to be a ramen expert of any sort, but this was some tasty ramen for sure!

                          Up next, a bit more exercise than I had planned. Google Maps gave me a 72 minute walk time estimate from Higashi Nakano to Laputa Asagaya (5.1 km), which sounded fair enough. Unfortunately I took the wrong turn and only realized my mistake once the time estimate had jumped to 82 minutes. Oh well, I made it to Laputa in 59 minutes anyway!

                          Laputa Asagaya’s massive Toei Oizumi retrospective was the main reason for my trip. For a full two months from mid Feb. to mid Apr. Laputa would be screening 50s and 60s pictures from Toei’s Tokyo (Oizumi) Studio, which was the younger of Toei’s two studios. Unlike the Kyoto (Uzumasa) Studio which was best known for samurai films and later historical yakuza pictures, the Tokyo Studio focused on contemporary action, drama and comedy. This was actually the third edition of the Toei Oizumi program, following earlier similarly massive retrospectives (about 40 films each time) in 2015 and 2016, once again packed with cool and rare films.

                          The main art is from the great 1964 Mako Midori film Two Bitches, which screened last month with Midori in attendance.

                          Arriving 20 minutes prior to the screening of the 1963 contemporary Ken Takakura yakuza thriller Blackmail (恐喝), I was in for a shock as I saw the theatre lobby absolutely packed. I got ticket number 39, when there are only 50 seats in the theatre (there are no reserved seats, instead you get called in in ticket purchase order). It ended up a full house.

                          Blackmail was a pretty good neo noir with some stylish cinematography and some thrilling scenes, though nothing unforgettable. Takakura plays a young yakuza punk who finds himself alone in the night after two yakuza gangs team up to hunt him down to recover a document he stole. It was nice seeing Takakura, best known for his later chivalrous roles, play a selfish blackmailer punk kid who’s too full of himself. Yoko Mihara appears as his sexy girlfriend.

                          Up next was Women's Native Ground: Bitches' Chain (おんな番外地 鎖の牝犬) (1965), a rare early women in prison film that I had been wanting to see for ages. As you might guess, the film was meant to ride the popularity of the Abashiri Prison series, but it was also a product of Toei’s B-film line which aimed to produce more sensual, or erotically charged companion films to the studio’s A-films (mainly yakuza pictures). The official synopsis talks about “the joys, sorrows, and abnormal sex in a women’s world concealed from men’s eyes”. Which is close enough, though the film is quite tame indeed. Mako Midori is great as a young woman sent behind bars for murdering treacherous boyfriend Tatsuo Umemiya. In the prison she encounters bullying, lesbian love, as well as unexpected compassion.

                          It’s interesting how this both predates and contrasts the later Sasori films. The “men are all pigs” and “patriarchal system is corrupt” message is very much present here, however, at the same time the film gives a surprisingly positive and almost motherly portrayal of the prison’s all-female staff who genuinely care for the prisoners (well, except for one sadistic bitch). Most of the prisoners turn out to be good people, so this turns more into a girls’ drama than an exploitation film. Good, stylish film, just don’t expect sleaze beyond a teeny tiny bit of nudity.

                          Women's Native Ground

                          Women's Native Ground alternate poster

                          Abazure with Mako Midori, Teruo Ishii's An Outlaw, Sing to Those Clouds with Kazuo Funaki, Chiyoko Honma and Sonny Chiba

                          Alternate poster for An Outlaw + retrospective poster for the Late Show Xcess Film pink film screenings

                          Toei Oizumi program

                          After two films me and my Japanese buddy who had tagged along since the morning felt like having some cold beer and yakitori, so we walked into one of Asagaya’s many mini izakaya. The place was packed… with six people inside. Seven if you count the owner. That’s how many could fit it. Nice place. Good beer. Tasty meat.

                          The original plan was to follow the meal with one or two more films in Laputa, but me and my friend decided to leave the films for Sunday, and instead head to Asakusa for some performance art. Riko Momose's English is fantastic, btw.


                          • Sometimes I enjoy your food pictures as much as the theater/poster pictures!
                            Rock! Shock! Pop!


                            • You do such a great job transporting us there. How was the attendance in the theater?


                              • Originally posted by Ian Jane View Post
                                Sometimes I enjoy your food pictures as much as the theater/poster pictures!
                                Haha, thanks. I'll try to remember to include food photos in the future too!

                                Originally posted by Jason C View Post
                                You do such a great job transporting us there. How was the attendance in the theater?
                                Thanks. Blackmail was full to the last seat, and the rest of the Laputa screenings didn't have many empty seats either. Glad to see tickets selling well. Also, it's been a real Toei fest in Laputa since last fall with Ikuo Sekimoto, Yagyu Chronicles, and now Toei Oizumi retrospectives.

                                Back from a Tokyo tour again. Part 3/3

                                Day 3

                                Sunday. Back to Laputa (I stopped at Asagaya Kitchen for lunch on the way). The day’s first film was Red Diamond (赤いダイヤ), a pretty entertaining 1966 comedy about an army vet who intends to kill himself, but is saved and finds a new calling in the cut-throat red bean market! Ok, this may not sound so interesting on paper, but it plays out almost like a lightweight gangster saga. Kunie Tanaka has a good role is a rival beans dealer.

                                Next up was pure dynamite in form of Bullets of Slacker Street (遊民街の銃弾) (1962). I had seen this pulpy thrill ride before on streaming, and it was even better this time around. Tetsuro Tamba plays a hard core criminal of unknown nationality who learns about diamonds hidden inside a US army base from a cellmate / army deserter Issac Saxson, and starts planning a prison escape with an international pack of crooks. Those who saw Kinji Fukasaku's High Noon for Gangsters (1961) will instantly notice this movie is, at times, almost a carbon copy of it with a similar premise, the same highly energized jazzy tone and some near identical scenes. And it is almost as good, a thrilling gangster actioner packed with style, suspense, badass tough guys, and a fantastic gunplay death-match at the end. Laputa’s print was suitably pretty, too (as were all their other prints).

                                There was one more film I wanted to catch later that night, but first, ramen! I headed towards Ogikubo on foot for some Michelin Guide recommended noodles in a restaurant called "There is Ramen". Unfortunately, there was no ramen. After going around the block twice, I finally located the small restaurant, or more precisely the note on the door saying they’re closed. I then thought of a plan-b, which damn nearly ended in tears. It was 17:35, and there was another famed ramen restaurant called Hook very near by opening at 18:00. My movie would start at 19:10. Surely enough time for a bowl of ramen?


                                I arrived 20 minutes before the restaurant opened, only to find myself as the person no. 18 in the long line on the street (before the doors opened, the line had grown to more than 50 people by my estimate). And the restaurant has eight seats. They took us in to purchase the meal ticket first, and then sent us back to the line where I stood till 18:35. I got my ramen 18:47, ate it in a world record six minutes (yes, I slightly burned my tongue) and then did another world record by making it back to Laputa in 15 bloody minutes. That’s less than half of the 31 minute walk time estimate Google gave me for the 2.2 km route. I seated my ass 30 seconds before the film started and spent the opening credits trying to catch my breath. Well done me!

                                The run was totally worth it, as it was for another super rare Toei picture Return to Women’s Native Ground (続 おんな番外地) (1966). Midori only spends the first 15 min behind bars, after which the film turns into a touching tale of a woman trying start again in a cruel world that won’t forgive women with a past. Things get even worse when she meets a former cellmate’s boyfriend (Kenji Imai), and the man turns out to be the sleaziest blackmailer scum ever seen in a Toei film. Her only consolation is a bunch other former prisoners from the first film, now released and all trying to start over. It’s a gripping film, at times maddeningly manipulative in her downfall, but effective all the same. Midori is fantastic in her role, even if a little too cute to convince as a killer, and the sequences with the discriminated women finding consolation in each other have a very interesting feminist vibe – at times the film barely acknowledges that men even exist. At the same time there’s a bit of added entertainment in form of some comic relief and a prison bath scene with plenty of blink or you’ll miss it nudity.

                                There’s a loosely connected third entry to the series, called The Pretty Jade (可愛いくて凄い女) (1966) but Midori reportedly plays a different character in it, and there are no prison sequences. Hope to see it someday. A 35mm print has screened in Laputa before, but was not part of the program this time.

                                I had planned to continue the night with Mariko Kawana: Female Cat Stepmother (川奈まり子 牝猫義母 ) (2002) in the Excess Film late show, but I was fairly confident it would suck and didn’t feel like ruining the good vibes left by Return to Women’s Native Ground. Director Sachi Hamano was actually meant attend the film’s screening on Friday night but had to cancel on the last minute due to poor health. I’ve seen one of her earlier films, No Pants Nurses, and other than being able to say “I’ve seen a film called No Pants Nurses in 35mm” there’s wasn’t much to write home about it. She’s a admittedly a very successful film maker, but one who caters more to the actual horny pink fans than film aficionados searching for hidden cinematic gems (of course, this film could've been an exception... I'll never know).

                                Day 4

                                Monday. Had Laputa screened Return to Women’s Native Ground any earlier than 7 P.M. on Sunday night, I would probably have returned home already the previous night. As it was, film screenings dictated my travel dates. Since I had to stay another night, I booked my return flight for Monday 8:30 P.M. just in case there would be something unmissable on screen on Monday. Alas, there was not.

                                I started my day by travelling to Nishiarai to catch Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023) at the local Toho Cinema. It was merely a way to kill some time, and an excuse to visit a Tokyo district I had never been to. Seemed like a nice area, and the movie was pretty good too. And popcorn made for a good breakfast.

                                Asakusa time! Hello Nanami Matsumoto! And then we run again. It was 15:50. I had 31 minutes to make it from central Asakusa to Ueno Station platform 7 (that's a 1.6 km distance) where I needed to catch a train, but I needed to pick up my bag from Keisei Ueno Station on the way. Yes, there is a subway, but I figured I run faster and more reliably on familiar streets than take a sub from a station I’ve never visited (another challenge would be finding the correct exist at the destination station... you can lose quite a bit of time by picking the wrong exit and ending up several blocks away from where you were hoping to surface). In the end, it only took 26 minutes. But Dear God my legs! All this running (not to mention walking) was starting to take its toll. Had a zombie apocalypse stated later that night or the next day, I don’t think I could've escaped even Romero zombies.

                                So why all the rush? To say hi to this big guy at Tokyo's Odaiba island. The 20 metre Gundam model is leaving later this month. It also does a slight transformation show every two hours, but it's just a couple of moving parts. Anyway, that transformation was at 17:00, hence the rush.

                                The man made island itself is definitely worth a visit. It's a product of 80s futuristic design straight out of a sci-fi film, and also offers a nice view of Tokyo and Tokyo Bay. If it's your first time, I recommend taking the Yurikamome train from Shimbashi which crosses the Rainbow Bridge (make sure to board the frontmost car for some great views... if it's too crowded, it's even worth waiting some 10 minutes for the next train to secure a good seat or standing place), and coming back by a ferry over the Tokyo Bay.

                                After Gundam, it was time to bid farewell to Tokyo. Till next time.