Thursday, September 19, 2013

Earwax and green apple beans

“We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize that we only have one.” 
While I have only recently stumbled onto this quote by Tom Hiddleston, the sentiment contained in it has been kicking my ass into all kinds of fun for a good few years now. I realized a while back that I have a finite number of flights around our sun and as such decided to wring as much enjoyment out of this trip as my environment would allow. It is also due to this little revelation that I no longer have guilty pleasures. This does not mean that I no longer get embarrassed when I accidently tell my teacher that I am boobs (oppai) instead of full (ippai) or that I do not know how terrible my reality TV shows are or how nerdy playing with Star Wars toys at 30 seems to a more cultured crowd, it just means that I like what I like and I really like Harry Potter.

And so it was that I tucked this little philosophy into the pocket of my Hermione Granger shirt and set off to the Harry Potter exhibit currently stationed in Tokyo. I was pleased to see that I was not the oldest fan waiting in line, as a man of about 70 or more, was standing all by himself in front of me, waiting to get his Hogwarts on. 

The mist they pumped in smelled like lazer-tag and dreams.
As soon as you enter the exhibit hall the atmosphere starts seeping out of the walls. That quintessential tune starts taking you back to your childhood, as what you thought were movie posters, turn into moving images from all the films. An effervescent guide pops the sorting hat on a few young, Japanese fans` heads and announces which house they will be representing. Then when your eyes cannot get any shinier the wall opens up to reveal the Hogwarts express, hissing steam and leading you to thousands of props used throughout all eight movies. 

I stared at every stitch covering Snape`s robes and had my face inches away from Marauders maps and potions textbooks. The detail was staggering and everything from watching Voldemort`s costume billow in the breeze to throwing a quaffle through a hoop was genuinely fun. Roland eventually seduced me away from all the displays with talk of chocolate frogs from the gift shop and so we eventually made our way out of the building carrying some candy and a new Gryffindor scarf. 

My sweet, sweet swag.
Next we hurried over to J-world in Ikebukuro to see some of our favorite Shonen Jump related anime characters. All the big players like One Piece, Dragon Ball Z and Naruto were present and while anime hipsters often frown at the mention of these titles, they are still among Roland and my favorite shows. The ambiance created by the colorful décor and theme songs playing in all the respective areas had us reminiscing about college days where we and all our house mates would sit glued to the screen when the announcer said `tiiiimmmmeee foooor Dragon baaaaaaall Zzzzzzzz` instead of studying.   
Naruto Area

Some of these were a little too real for my taste.
That night while I sat on the hotel bed laughing at Roland as he spat out a vomit flavored `Bertie Botts every flavor bean` trying not to do the same with the earwax flavor I had just popped in my mouth, I could not be more satisfied with my trip, filled to the brim with not-so-guilty pleasures. I have a feeling that I will have a fair bit in common with the old man I met earlier that day, in that if I am lucky enough to reach 70 or more, I will probably still be visiting anime attractions and rereading Harry Potter for the 200th time.  

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