If you have been in Japan for more than a few weeks this past decade you are almost bound to have heard of or seen the massively popular adventure TV game, Monster Hunter by the game company Capcom. When I was visiting Tokyo’s seaside Odaiba district the other day I came across a massive pop-up store based on the game, it was almost like a little theme park with a couple of huge and incredibly well done blow up monsters. The monsters were hugely popular with tourists and kids, most of whom I doubt have ever played the game itself! There was even corner inside the store where you can practice roasting the meat of your hunted monsters, every time you roasted it well the little meat roasting tune would sound and you’d get bonus points – a hilarious little detail that you can only understand if you have played the game. I have, for about 3 hours, many years ago. There’s even a video on Youtube with 173,822 hits of some guy playing the meat roasting tune on a recorder!
Even if you aren’t much interested in games it is good to remember at least the title of this game, it is easily one of the most popular games in Japan right now, with quite a cosplay following as well! Click the Monster Hunter tag to get all my posts about Monster Hunter!
Last weekend I was visited by a foreign friend who wanted to see the best of Tokyo and one of the obvious ingredients of such a tour would be the life sized Gundam statue on Odaiba, just outside the newest of the shopping malls out there, Diver City. I have been past it countless times (and even blogged about it here, here and here) but this was the first time I’ve arrived with just seconds to spare to see the daily 19:30 show! Lights, music, a bit of an animated movie, smoke and movement, it is great if you are a Gundam fan, and interesting enough even if you aren’t. I took these photos during the show, as the statue was bathed in multicolored search lights. I think there are two or even more shows per day, so if you have the chance you might want to stick around for it while you are out there.
One of the oddest shopping malls in Tokyo is the Venus Fort on Odaiba. The whole island is a shopper’s paradise but this is the most interesting of them all, from a tourist point of view. The second floor of the mall is designed to look slightly like a tourist vision of a Venetian street, complete with artificial light to simulate day and night, changing every few minutes. I took these random snaps while passing through very close to closing time a couple of months ago. A huge fountain, a “square” at the end of the mall and the entrance to a Chinese restaurant, slightly out of the Italian theme but nevertheless fitting in.