Monday, January 13, 2020

Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2019 - Star Wars edition - belated report part 3

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.

After the Star Wars themed cafe we still had a few places to go. The entire route was spread out over several different buildings and one outdoor location and made for a very pleasant walk, especially when the weather was nice.

This giant starflake was one of my least favorite stops:

It looked very meh during the day, and as you can see it was lit up in a very blah way at night. Boring...


In the building next door, downstairs, there was another attraction - a couple of interactive randomizers showing different characters and different scenes. There was Chewbacca, R2D2, BB8, Kylo Ren, troopers, and I think that was pretty much it.




This stop was quite popular and there were many people waiting to see the screens change. You never knew what was going to appear.

After that we continued to the "LegoLand" attraction where you could see giant Star Wars figures made entirely of Lego blocks.

When I was there for the first time I actually had a chance to participate in building a giant Lego Darth Vader. Well, the kids were participating, I was just watching and passing them the Lego pieces. Still, I feel like I contributed in a very small way to making this next stop possible.



And here's the finished Lego Darth Vader:
In the same building we also had the missing R2D2 Galaxy Dome. Inside there was a bunch of lightsabers and occasionally a staffer would duel with random kids.

Then it was off to see the Christmas presents display:


And the "cute space" display:


Just look at this fuzzy R2! Adorable!


C3P0 wasn't as cute:

This stop was very popular thanks to yet another pop-up shop. I got a load of face packs (a.k.a. sheet masks) here.


I have only tried the Vader one so far, but, as you can expect, it looks great only on paper. Not so much on your face, unfortunately.

And then it was time to walk back to the place we started - Oazo building to see if we could find some nice merchandise at yet another pop-up shop which wasn't opened in the morning.
While we walked, we admired the illuminations outside.

I also met a friend from Kumamoto:


We made it to the Oazo just as the pop-up shop was closing, but there were still so many people waiting that the staff let us do our shopping.

Of course, I couldn't help myself and added another mug to my collection:


All in all, it was a good day!
May the Force be with you in 2020!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2019 - Star Wars edition - belated report part 2

Part 1 is here.
Part 3 is here.

Right next to the star destroyer xmas tree there was a pop-up shop with tons of cute (and not so cute) Star Wars merchandise.


I wanted to buy them all, but budget trouble and all that, and I only got a fluffy trooper. Of course!


Because I live in Takasaki, a city famous for daruma dolls, I couldn't ignore these awesome Star Wars darumas. They were pricey but so adorable.
What, you don't believe me that Takasaki is famous for daruma dolls? This is what we have at the train station, right when you get off the shinkansen. The bucket is mine, of course.


I only got a couple of t-shirts (on the occasion of The Rise of Skywalker) and some notepads.


Next door to the pop-up shop was a Star Wars themed cafe Rise Crystal Cafe. It was getting close to lunchtime and the line of people waiting to get into the cafe was growing longer and longer.
Full disclosure here: I went there twice.
The first time it took about 30 minutes to get inside, it was right before lunch.
The second time we waited around 45 minutes, it was after lunch.


The first time we ordered lunch menu: taco rice, sandwiches and pasta.


 Let me tell you, the food was disgusting. It was so bad it was beyond bad. A whole new dimension of bad. I have honestly never had anything so bad in all my years in Japan.

We also ordered both desserts and those were much better. If I remember correctly, the blue one was soy-based.


We only drank water, because the drinks were ridiculously overpriced.
However, when I went there again to celebrate my friend's birthday, we did order drinks. They were as disgusting as the main dishes. Perhaps even more so.

And, of course, we got the desserts again, because we don't like getting fat right before Christmas?

The red one was definitely better.
I was also happy to play with my new stormtrooper toy. My friend got a Jabba towel for her boyfriend. Sorry, boyfriend, I picked it for you! Hahaha!


In the same building where the cafe was you could see huge posters for The Rise of Skywalker.



Part 3 is here.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2019 - Star Wars edition - belated report part 1

Japan loves Star Wars. That's a fact. You can be a die-hard fan, like me. Or you can be a typical office lady quietly sporting a Darth Vader smartphone case. Or a 12 year old girl wearing a Rogue One t-shirt. Or a 4 year old kid with an R2D2 lunch box. Or an average grandma drinking her coffee out of a rebel mug. Because everyone loves Star Wars.

So when the annual Marunouchi Christmas display in Tokyo was just around the corner (in November 2019), both young and old, boys and girls, men and women, locals and aliens, they all jumped for joy when the theme for 2019 was announced.

Star Wars.


I am telling you about it now, because... well, I was busy. Traveling to exotic planets lands far far away is not going to get done by itself, you know? But now I'm back and can finally show you how Tokyo was getting in the mood for The Rise of Skywalker. My rant review of The Rise of Skywalker is here, by the way.

There were eight different stations and at each station you could get another stamp for your collection in a fancy little booklet.


Episode journey stamp rally, they call it. I love me a good stamp rally, and before I knew it, I was on the train to Tokyo. Bullet train, no less, to collect all my precious stamps. After all, the full name of this Christmas Special was Precious For You.

I met up with friends at Tokyo Station and we went off in search of different Star Wars themed attractions.


All the sites were conveniently located around Tokyo Station, but not all of them were easy to find. Especially not easy for country bumpkin like us, who come to Tokyo once in a very blue moon.

But we managed.

We started off in the Oazo Building. That location was familiar to me because of the Maruzen Bookstore. I used to spend buckets of money there, once upon a time. And I did this time, as well. Tradition...

At Oazo you could relax around this installation:

Yep, they had porgs. No porgs, no life. People could sit on huge cushions around this installation and just chill. Some were sleeping, others were busy playing games on their smartphones. The usual Tokyo Sunday morning stuff.


The whole Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2019 was a love letter to Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker, but who cares? It looked pretty, nonetheless.

Nearby were two cute domes supposedly representing BB8 and C3P0. We looked for R2D2, but that dome turned out to be in a different location.

Here's BB8 "Galaxy Dome", as they called it:


Maruzen (the bookstore) also had a Star Wars poster exhibition. It was quite hard to find and even the bookstore staff didn't know where it was. Turned out the posters were hanging on different floors just by the escalators. Most people totally overlooked them.


Maruzen threw us a curve ball by having lots of exclusive merchandise. I wasn't prepared to hand over my credit card quite so soon at the very first stop. But, tradition!!! I did. No huge surprise here.

I really wanted this:


But as it was The Last Jedi (and not exclusive), my common sense eventually kicked in and I bought other things instead. All I can say is that my awesome towel collection is growing.


Of course stormtroopers! What did you think?
I also got this one:


There were plenty of other things too, from LEGOs to books to toys, and so on...


After the Oazo Building we walked through the underground passages to Marunouchi Building. The passages had more stuff to look at.




The next installation was the most famous one of all. The huge star destroyer Christmas tree. When we got there in the morning, the place was still virtually empty. The pop-up shop wasn't even opened yet and there were hardly any people around.


It looked nice, but the real fun started at 5:00 P.M. when the light and sound show got going.
The "tree" was still blue:


And then it turned red:


And then it went completely blank and the light mapping started:



What can I say? It was fun.
We ended up watching it several times.


And I promise (PROMISE!) I will continue this story tomorrow!


See, I did it!
Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.