My trip to Tokyo!

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Bobby
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My trip to Tokyo!

Post by Bobby » January 23rd, 2018, 2:36 pm

For years I've been wanting to go to Japan, and since the January 4th Tokyo Dome show was very high on my wrestling bucket list, I decided in the summer of 2017 that 2018 would be the perfect year to do so, and combine both.

95% of this report will be about the wrestling side of this trip, as I don't wanna bore anyone with all the other stuff I did, but I'll add some pictures at the end of the report.

January 3rd:
After a long, 20 hour trip in total, I arrive in Tokyo, local time around 11am. After customs, baggege pick up (which both in total maybe took like 20 minutes, amazing), I took the train to my hotel, which was in the Akasaka area, check in, run to my cabin, drop my bags, pick up my buddy who I was traveling with (he left a day before me) and we go to the Tokyo Sky Tree, which appearantly is the second highest building in the world. The sight from there was beautiful, and we arrived at a time where the sun was going down, so we saw Tokyo by night as well. As a tourist attraction, you had the opportunity to sumo wrestle against sumo wrestlers there and get a photo op. It looked like fun at first, women and little kids 'beating' the sumos, I got in line until I saw a guy my size trying to wrestle them and the sumo pushed him hard outside the mat and the guy took a good bump, so I decided just to take a photo op with them.

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After that, we went to the Tokyo Dome as I really wanted a picture in front of the Dome:
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Did that, and next to the Dome was a gigantic hotel we decided to check out as we really wanted some good food. Walked into the hotel lobby and saw Kevin Kelly standing there. Asked him for a pic and he was very happy to pose:
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Grabbed some food, and then bumped into Cheeseburger and Tama Tonga, both who were very happy to pose for pictures:
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Left the hotel to go back to our own hotel, because at this point I was exhausted and almost up for a good 35 hours. Outside the Tokyo Dome we spotted Davey Boy Smith Jr. randomly walk there and asked him for a pic:
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January 4th:
After a good amount of sleep, went for breakfast near the Dome area and walked around Tokyo Dome City for a bit. There was already a giant line outside the merchandise area and people waiting to get inside the Dome. Doors opened at 4, and when there I was amazed how gigantic this building was. The picture doesn't do it justice:
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Walked around a bit in the arena and spotted Don Callis near ringside. Unfortunately, I didn't have ringside tickets, and the security guy wasn't allowed to let us near there until after the show. The whole show was quite the experience - you were allowed to bring in your own drinks and food, and the fans in Japan experience the show completely different than in the USA. They seem to treat it like a sports show. The guy next to me, who appearantly was a big Naito fan, started crying badly after he lost in the main event. After the show ended, I tried to go back to ringside as I really wanted a picture close to the ring - unfortunately, by the time we were allowed there, they were already breaking down the ring, and once down I missed Masa Chono by 10 seconds :(

After the show we took a 15 minute walk to the Great Kabuki's restaurant, which was closed unfortunately until the next day. By this time I was starving for food so went back to the Dome area to get food inside the hotel. Just when we went inside, the New Japan crew got back from the Dome, so I waited with food and got a few pictures:
Chase Owens:
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Mr. Juicy Gino Gambino (Australian wrestler who is in the Bullet Club appearantly:
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Michael Elgin:
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Bad Luck Fale:
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Don Callis:
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I was extremely happy getting Callis. Have been a fan of him since the ECW days, and I was pretty bummed I just missed out on him inside the Tokyo Dome.

After that, decided to call it a night, and went back to our own hotel.

January 5:
Planned in a lot of tourist stuff this day, and maybe try and catch the New Year's Dash show somewhere in the pub, as the show was sold out. We found out a few days before that on the day itself there were gonna be 150 standing tickets available, but I didn't wanna bother standing in line at 4am until 4pm (that was when they went on sale, and some people really were there at 4am already), and waste a day of doing stuff. Here comes a funny thing - there was a NJPW Travel FB group I was in, and when I woke up, I got a notification in there that there were hardly any fans there. Appearantly, it's normal in Japan, you go to the arena, write down your name on a piece of paper and requesting the amount of tickets (2 max) you want, tape it to the ground and do your own stuff. If this was anywhere else, the second you turn around the corner you're paper would be gone. We came back just before 4pm, and I'll be damned, the piece of paper was still there - and there were a good 150 people BEHIND us, who easily could have ripped it up and pretend nothing was there. Not here! I was amazed. Luckily, we were able to score tickets for the show, and they just cost about $25. Amazing!
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After the show we were going to Kabuki's restaurant again, but spotted War Machine walking outside. Asked them for a pic, and they told us to follow them into the hotel as they didn't want to do it outside.
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Had a little chat with them, and that's where it just hit me again what a small world we live in - one of the guys is good friends with Michael Dante, who is the former tag team partner of Tommy End (now Alistair Black) in Europe, and was the neighbor of my sister in law for years! It really is a small world.

Got that picture and then walked to the Kabuki restaurant. While doing so, bumped into Ricky Romero in the street, who gladly took a pic as well:
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Then it was off to The Great Kabuki. When we arrived there, the lady behind the counter (which I believe was his daughter), came out and said the place was closed because there was a private thing going on. We told her we just wanted a picture with Kabuki, and then she said that wouldn't be a problem, called him outside and he took pics with us! He was extremely friendly and I was beyond excited.
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After this, we went to Denny's next to the Tokyo Dome. Had some food, and while walking to the metro station, my buddy noticed somebody taking pics. Turned out it was Cody Rhodes! I didn't have a pic with him with his blond hair yet, and he was very friendly.
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Behind him, there was another guy signing autographs and talking Japanese with fans. Turns out it was Kenny Omega! Kenny was EXTREMELY friendly, having a conversation in Japanese with the Japanese fans, and had a conversation with us as well, asking our names, asking where we were from, and asking if we enjoyed the show. 100% class act.
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While Omega took care of the other fans, we spotted The Young Bucks waiting for him, and asked them for a pic. They couldn't have been nicer. Cody walked up at that point as well and decided to join in in the shot!
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That must have been one of the most random meets ever! After all that, headed back to our own hotel as we were both extremely tired.

January 6th:
This was another day of tourist stuff combined with some restaurants of wrestlers. Went to Denny's in the morning for breakfast next to the Dome. Walked past the hotel and spotted Lance Archer checking out. Went inside and asked him for a pic. He was very friendly and even joked with my mate (who is from Ireland), about Irish names (his sister is married to an Irish guy). Real nice dude.
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After some sightseeing, we tried to find the Antonio Inoki bar - which took us a good hour and a half because it moved from it's old location and Google maps wasn't working. After almost giving up, we bumped into it by complete accident! Went inside and took some pics of the memorabillia.
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Finished up there and then headed off to the restaurant of Killer Kahn. This was quite the experience. We just went in there to get a few beers, and a picture with Khan. While having a few beers, a couple of local Japanese people started having a conversation with us. The two ladies spoke good English, and asked us who our favorite Japanese wrestlers were. I said Shinya Hashimoto, and here husband started shouting HASHIMOTOOOOOOO. Then she asked us where we were from. When my mate told her Dublin, she told him she was a member of some kind of lamb eating club, and that Ireland has the best lamb in the world. We were both WTF?! Killer Kahn was just laughing about it. Bought a t-shirt off him, got a Killer Kahn book signed (which I bought for just $10, it's in Japanese but it was a nice little thing to get signed), and got a picture with him.
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Then we finished our beer and wanted to leave, but the lady came up to us again, and asked US if we please wanted to pose for a picture with them as a way to remember us! Of course we agreed, and the lady asked Kahn to join in as well. This was quite the experience and might be my favorite picture of the whole trip!
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That was it as far as wrestling meets go. We did try to go to Bull Nakano's bar, but it was closed unfortunately. Of course, we also went to Ribera, and it was definately worth the long wait outside. The steak was outstanding. Could have had another three at least.
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Some other random pictures:
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All in all, this was one of the best trips I've ever had. The day I arrived, I already regretted not staying longer. In the 6 days I was there, I didn't come across one person who was in a bad mood or rude. The Japanese people are so nice and very respectful.

If you have been thinking of going, do it. It's worth it. You can make it as cheap as you want, and you can make it as expensive as you want. Including 5 nights hotel, flights, food, wrestling tickets, and all other stuff, this trip cost me about $1500. I am already thinking of going back later this year and stay for two weeks, and travel inside the country, as I really wanna see Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Hiroshima as well.

PS: As AJLe mentioned in his report, yes, there was an earthquake. I was lying in my cabine, and the whole building started to shake. All other people in the hallway came out of their cabine, and asked "earthquake?" I went to the hotel lobby and asked if that indeed was an earthquake. The lady confirmed that it was, but appearantly it's pretty normal over there and she acted like nothing happened. Gotta love Tokyo :-D


crowbar
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by crowbar » January 23rd, 2018, 3:01 pm

Nice stuff, I recognize some of the locations you posted such as Shibuya and meiji jingu. Osaka is definitely worth a trip.. Just as crazy as tokyo

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capman
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by capman » January 23rd, 2018, 3:23 pm

Finding Killer Kahn may be worth the trip alone!!!

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AJLe
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by AJLe » January 23rd, 2018, 3:25 pm

Great stuff!

I can't believe how successful you were with finding wrestlers on the street - I was there for two weeks, spent a ton of time around Korakuen/Tokyo Dome City, and never ran into even ONE wrestler walking about. Good job.

For your next trip, everybody's different, but after doing a one week trip in 2008 and a two week trip here, I think the "ideal" length would be 8-10 days. That way, even with losing a day or two to travel, you still have a solid week in Japan. But it depends on how much you want to do.

Glad you got to experience it.

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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by ICW » January 24th, 2018, 3:00 pm

Jaw is on the floor, my friend. I really would love to do this but, alas, never will.
Feel free to visit my blog concerning wrestling conventions, signings, and meet & greets!
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lanza218
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by lanza218 » January 24th, 2018, 3:40 pm

ICW wrote:
January 24th, 2018, 3:00 pm
Jaw is on the floor, my friend. I really would love to do this but, alas, never will.

Why do you say that? Plenty of time to do something like this. Bob, great stuff mate

Bobby
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by Bobby » January 24th, 2018, 4:48 pm

ICW wrote:
January 24th, 2018, 3:00 pm
Jaw is on the floor, my friend. I really would love to do this but, alas, never will.
Why not man? Before WrestleMania 25,I never had a holiday in my life. Not a single one. Since then, I’ve done 21 USA trips (8 mania’s), a safari through South Africa last year, this Japan trip and countless other trips. Don’t be so hard on yourself man!

lanza218
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by lanza218 » January 24th, 2018, 5:17 pm

And ur mom has to call you out sick like Buff!!

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16times
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by 16times » January 24th, 2018, 6:38 pm

I thoroughly and completely enjoyed reading this report ! :clap: :clap: :clap:
"Every time you score a photo op, an angel gets his wings!"
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anthonyburris
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by anthonyburris » January 25th, 2018, 6:02 pm

Best report EVER!!!
YES YES YES

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class316
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by class316 » January 26th, 2018, 1:16 am

Just like AJLe, awesome unique report. I added it for nominations for wrestling ops of the year.
Bobby wrote:
January 23rd, 2018, 2:36 pm
The guy next to me, who appearantly was a big Naito fan, started crying badly after he lost in the main event.
Man you should have video'd that! Could have been the next It's Still Real To Me Dammit!
there was a NJPW Travel FB group I was in, and when I woke up, I got a notification in there that there were hardly any fans there. Appearantly, it's normal in Japan, you go to the arena, write down your name on a piece of paper and requesting the amount of tickets (2 max) you want, tape it to the ground and do your own stuff. If this was anywhere else, the second you turn around the corner you're paper would be gone. We came back just before 4pm, and I'll be damned, the piece of paper was still there - and there were a good 150 people BEHIND us, who easily could have ripped it up and pretend nothing was there. Not here! I was amazed. Luckily, we were able to score tickets for the show, and they just cost about $25. Amazing!
:jawdrop:
Then it was off to The Great Kabuki. When we arrived there, the lady behind the counter (which I believe was his daughter), came out and said the place was closed because there was a private thing going on. We told her we just wanted a picture with Kabuki, and then she said that wouldn't be a problem, called him outside and he took pics with us! He was extremely friendly and I was beyond excited.
She spoke English?
If you have been thinking of going, do it. It's worth it. You can make it as cheap as you want, and you can make it as expensive as you want. Including 5 nights hotel, flights, food, wrestling tickets, and all other stuff, this trip cost me about $1500. I am already thinking of going back later this year and stay for two weeks, and travel inside the country, as I really wanna see Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Hiroshima as well.
Wow $1500 for all that isn't half bad. Sadly that's a lot of con money :depressed:
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yosemitechris
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Re: My trip to Tokyo!

Post by yosemitechris » January 27th, 2018, 7:41 pm

might have missed it in the report but,
where did you stay during your stay, which hotel?


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