The day I saw Gackt rip off his shirt

Trip Start Jul 23, 2010
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Trip End Aug 31, 2010


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Where I stayed
Chisun Hotel Sendai

Flag of Japan  , Tohoku,
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

4am.

Alarmclock goes off.

I sigh and throw it at Jordy's head.

I turn around and sleep.

4:30.

Jordy wakes me up, telling me we have to go now. I stare at him and go: "Dayum it's 4:30am, leave me alone man."

Jordy: "Gackt today."

Me: "GACKT." *sits up straight* Okay let's go.

Thus our day started. We dressed as quickly as we could, seeing as it was 4:30. Leaving a note for Chris and Brenda and the keys behind, we rushed to the subway station, which is located 20 minutes down the road. When we got there however, we saw that we just missed one of the subways and the next was due in 25 minutes. So we got outside the station again, grabbed a cab to Shibuya and took the Yamanote to Tokyo, where we ended up running like mad to catch our shinkansen!

Now the Shinkansen, are the most comfortable trains EVER. You can recline your seat, a girl comes by with some food after every stop, the seats are HUGE and sooo comfortable. I loved these trains, seriously.

We got to Sendai around 8:45am, which means it took 1:45 to actually get there! Did I mention I loved the Shinkansen?

Seeing as we couldn't check into our hotel before 13:00, we figured we'd put our baggage in some coin lockers and just go for it! We took the train to some northern station because one of the temples we wanted to visit (Rinnoji) was there somewhere and it was supposed to have a gorgeous Japanese garden adjacent.

We get out of the train however, in the middle of nowhere. Exiting the station, we figured it should be somewhere on the right side seeing as there is literally NOTHING on the left side, and we start walking. Before you know it, we're looking down from a hill the size of miniature Fuji. "Do we walk down?" we ask ourselves. Figuring there's no other way, we go down.

Halfway down the hill, we pass a guy. So I ask him: "Where is Rinnoji?"
Guy: "Rinn...oji? ... Rinnoji.... Yes.... Ah... Uhm... Yes. It's down the hill, then right."
Me: "Down the hill, then right?"
Guy: "That's right.

Following his instructions, we make it off miniature Fuji only to walk into a suburban area with again, NOTHING. Not even a conbini. Wow, it's a world of difference between Sendai and Tokyo, I can say that much. We walk a little further until it becomes clear that this is not the way. So I stop a lady and ask for directions.

She literally smiled at me and goes: "It's on top of the hill."

Me: "Aha, thanks! (Inside me: ufidgsifgf&$ OMG WHY DIDN'T HE JUST TELL US HE DIDN'T KNOW.)

For reference, Sendai bathing in 35 degrees celcius at that moment and absolutely no clouds in the sky. This was officially the hottest city I visited in Japan thus far and it's up NORTH. It's supposed to be cooler there!!

I break the terrible news to Kimberley and Jordy and we reluctantly start climbing the hill. My legs are killing me by the time we get up and I'm sure I've lost around 5 liters of sweat during the ascend alone. We pass by a small street and look into it-- perhaps this is the way to Rinnoji? But it's a graveyard. So no.

A few minutes further on and we're back at the station. I ask the friendly man for advice and he shows me a map, tells me how to walk and actually copies the map for us! So sweet.

We follow his advice and start descending the hill again when Jordy stops us to ask whether the street we had passed earlier (that lead to a graveyard) was the street we had to take. Naturally, I start asking for directions again and why yes, we have to pass the graveyard to get to the temple. Silly us.

We pass the graveyard, feeling incredibly awkward for being there when people are grieving over their loved ones, so we put away our cameras, try to hide our foreign faces behind our hair and just stare in the opposite direction as if there's nothing better than... nothing.

Graveyard avoided, we cross the street and there's literally 5 stalls in a row selling flowers. They must be doing some goooood business. A little while further and oh-- another graveyard. Might I add that I've never actually seen a graveyard in Tokyo (except for earlier on in our Takao-san adventure, but that was a tiny tiny one) so I had been wondering where everyone was. Guess they send them all to Sendai.

Passed the stalls further in the street, crossed the street and there in front of us is a pagoda! Yes! But, there's something surrounding it? Oh, that's right. ANOTHER GRAVEYARD. After averting our eyes, we enter the Rinnoji grounds. The travel guide didn't lie-- it was a fantastic garden. Too bad I fear insects too much to fully enjoy it.

So, as I'm dodging bushes and odd looking shapes on the ground, we make our way to the pagoda and lo and behold-- there are some gardeners sitting right in front of the building. They ask us, in Japanese, where we're from and I answer in perfect Japanese: "The Netherlands"

First reaction: "SPAIN, WORLD CUP, ZANNEN NAAA" (Zannen na = What a shame!")

After talking to them for a while, answering questions about the Netherlands and us, we walk on, admire the pagoda and leave the garden. We only have one day in Sendai and we needed to get our sightseeing done. We waited 20 minutes for the train to arrive (another BIG difference from Tokyo etc) and we're back at Sendai Station, ready to buy our tickets for the Loople Bus (or the Sendai sightseeing bus).

Our first stop: Zuihoden Mausoleum.

Zuihoden Mausoleum is the site of entombment of one of the most powerful feudal lords of the Edo period-- Date Masamune. asamune was the first in a long line of Date lords to rule over Sendai from Aoba Castle. His son and grandson, Date Tadamune and Date Tsunamune, are entombed in nearby mausoleums, while other descendants are laid to rest in less elaborate graves and tombs.

Spazzed to see this, we get out of the Loople Bus and lo and behold-- the biggest, steepest hill I've ever seen stretches out before us. Pictures don't to it any justice. It's MASSIVE.

Armed with water and determination, we start our uphill climb that certainly took my toll seeing as it was 35 degrees celcius out there. Even Jordy seemed out of breath and that's saying a lot-- mister fitness!

 The Mausoleum however, is a sight to behold. It's pretty old, yet in near perfect state. Completely black except for the decorations on the door which are golden and the colorful ceilings, it stands out in the middle of the forest! Not a huge fan of mausoleums, this really made an impression on me :)

A small walk around the premise revealed some more shrines and a small temple. Since we were in a hurry, we kept a steady pace through all this, pausing only to drink a bit and replenish ourselves since we were sweating like pigs and losing liquid like crazy! Time for us to walk back down (much easier than up!) and take the Loople Bus to the next location-- Aoba Castle. (Or whatever remains of it)

 Aoba Castle was built in 1600 by the powerful feudal lord Date Masamune. Because of considerations for the castle's defense, Masamune chose to locate his fortifications on Mount Aoba, 100 meters above the town below. Now all that is left of the castle are remnants of the outer stone walls and a guard tower. That didn't make it any less spectacular though!

 The Loople Bus took us up a mountain, past bits and pieces of the walls of the former castle up to the gate. As we walked the stairs upstairs, we encountered a vending machine (what would you expect? It's a 400 year old building's ruins, of course there are vending machines!) where we bought some more water to replenish ourselves (there was a lot of drinking that day!) and finally we took the final steps up that brought us to this fantastic lookout point.

Scorching hot though seeing as the sun was beating down on the castle's remains directly-- no trees in the vicinity! I could really see the entire city, so it was a great panoramic view :)

As we walked around, we noticed a statue of Date Masamune as well as a tower with an eagle on top of it-- which impressed Jordy a lot. 

We sat on top of the viewpoint for a bit, enjoying the sun and the view before setting out for our final location-- Osaki Hachimangu. Also connected to the Date family-- this was their family shrine. I must say, I was expecting more of it-- it didn't really leave any impressions on my except the one where I exclaimed "What is up with all these stairs and hills in Sendai?" you can imagine the scene! Haha.

We took the Loople Bus back to Sendai station where we picked up our luggage and made our way to the hotel. Since we had no map on us, we decided to take a cab and split the costs seeing as that would be more easier. Imagine our surprise as the cab driver drove for 2 minutes in a straight line and then pulled up to the hotel! 

Upon checking in, I already noticed some Gackt fans standing there, carrying bags and t-shirts! I was a bit too shy to talk to them though haha. Later on, I encountered them again and asked if they knew the way to the venue, which they did! We ended up talking for a while and they were actually from Tokyo themselves!

We rested in the room for a bit seeing as we were up since 4:30 and the concert wouldn't be until 19:00. Unfortunately, our room did not have airco so I was slowly suffocating while Jordy (who can adapt more to the heat) out cold. I simply took a shower and read a book until the alarm went off and it was time for us to go to the venue!

 The Tokyo girls took us to the venue where literally hundreds of people were standing in lines! I've never seen anything like it. There was one line for 0 - 50, then 50 -100, 100 - 200, 200 - 500, 500 - 1000, 1000 - 1500, etc etc. We had tickets number 1150 and 1151 so we were lucky enough to enter quite soon! 

After ransacking the merchandise corner, it started raining like crazy but nobody moved! So we didn't either! Kimberley stood next to us and said her goodbyes quickly when the rain started, but we're hardy Dutch folk so we just waited patiently until the venue opened-- thinking to ourselves that we'll dry easily enough when it jumping and dancing like mad!

Finally, the venue opened and it was time for us to go in! We ended up on the right side, in the middle, just behind some middle ages ladies! At long last, after 11 years of being a loyal fangirl, I was about to see Gackt.

And it blew me away.

I can't really describe what the concert did to me, really. I had some eyecontact, which was probably because I was standing next to the only blond, foreign boy in the entire venue! Jordy didn't even notice that they sometimes looked at him! But it was incredible-- though my 'affections' for Gackt had lessened over the years, this brought it back full throttle and I realized once again what a fantastic artist he was.

The concert was over before I knew it, but it left me with some great, longlasting memories.

On a sidenote-- Jordy was able to catch one of the drumsticks thrown in the audience, before losing it again to a middle aged Japanese lady and another girl. He went back in for it and held up until they started playing rock-paper-scissors and he lost it. :( Sad me.

 After eating something at MacDonalds, we went back to the hotel, carrying all my merchandise and I, at the very least, felt like I was on top of the world. 
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Comments

Kimberley on

The memory of the awkwardness at the graveyard makes me laugh out loud every time xD

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