September 2014 - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Summer in Tokyo: Ultra Japan at Tokyo Odaiba!

2:35:00 PM
The outdoor electronic music festival Ultra had its first edition in Miami in 1999, but has since gained enormous popularity and spread all over the world to countries like Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Korea, South Africa, and Croatia. This year it was time for the first Ultra Japan held at Odaiba Ultra Park in Tokyo.
Norwegian, Japanese and Brazilian flag @ Ultra Japan
I had gotten myself a ticket along with a group of friends for the first day of the festival, and we met up at Odaiba all psyched up and ready for a whole day of partying already before noon. It seemed that a lot of people had gone out of their way to come up with fancy dress ideas and coordinated outfits, so there was a lot of interesting things to see.. We (especially Yuma and I), on the other hand, hadn't prepared that much.. Just brought some flags to represent our respective countries x)
Shaken-san ready with lemon essence..
Some of our friends were more prepared though. The picture above shows Shaken-san in a neon green Full Moon Party-T-shirt ready with a bottle of lemon essence. It wasn't of course not allowed to bring alcohol into the venture so we started the party on the lawn in front of the entrance to the main stage. Since the event was held from 10 am - 9 pm we had a lot of time, and it was quite alright to chill out on the lawn in the nice weather. Odaiba is also famous for its huge Gundam statue, which we happened to pass by a couple of times during the day.
Ultra Japan was held in Odaiba where you also can see a huge Gundam statue
At the lawn in front of the entrance to the main stage
Although it was nice to be able to go inside the venture during the evening I have to say that the first part of the day it was probably just as nice (perhaps even nicer) to stay outside on the lawn where it was less crowded and easier to talk with others. It was also kind of amusing to look at the people time to time walking by in really weird costumes.

Already quite a lot of ppl and it's only 2 pm or so
Slightly crowded in front of the stage....
The main stage
We were basically free to go out of and reenter the venue as often as we wanted thanks to the wristbands we got when we registered in the morning. So we did come and go a couple of times during the event (had to take some breaks at the lawn). Yuma and I tried to make it to the front of the stage one time during the afternoon, but it was simply too crowded. We did make it almost to the front of the main stage once though, but it was of course not a particularly comfortable experience haha.. Maybe I'm starting to get too old for these sort of things (or maybe it's just that I get more than enough crowdedness on the train every day when I commute to work here in Tokyo). 
The main stage not too far ahead
Gathered at Ultra Japan
Another group picture outside the venture
At sunset
One thing I noticed during the evening was that the guy who presented the different DJs seemed a bit confused about the Japanese audience. He tried to make the crowd respond by saying things like "Tokyo, make some noice", "VIPs, let me hear you", "You are the best audience ever" etc etc, but the crowd was as quiet as a funeral. It was kind of amusing actually.. In the end all the guy could think of was "You guys are.. incredible.." (He probably was thinking something like "Why the hell are these people so f*ing quiet!!! I've never experienced a crowd like this in my entire life!"). The poor guy did his best to pump up the crowd, but he probably didn't know that it is common sense for people in Japan to listen quietly when official authorities etc make announcements. So the crowd probably didn't really know how to respond to him.. It was quite interesting to note these cultural differences.
A lively crowd, except during the announcements between the performances
Brazil @ Ultra Japan

Anyway, we had a lot of fun, especially during the last hour when a lot of people decided to leave the venue and we finally had some space to move around! I'm not sure if we'll get the chance to participate in Ultra Japan next year or not, but it was definitely cool that we had the chance to participate in the first Ultra Japan ever.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Sightseeing in Chiba: Kamogawa and Green Club Pension

11:47:00 AM
Surfers in Kamogawa
A couple of weeks ago I took a small weekend trip to Chiba along with my bf to enjoy the last gasp of summer. Although most people visit Chiba either to go to Narita airport or Tokyo Disneyland (Tokyo Disneyland is in fact situated in Chiba but I suppose Chiba Disneyland doesn't sound as attractive) the prefecture also has among other things some magnificent beaches, ideal for surfing and coastal walks. One of the places famous for its beaches is Kamogawa, which was the destination for our trip this time. We had decided to go there by car, but you can also easily get there by train (takes about 2 hours to get to the Awa-Kamogawa Station - 安房鴨川駅 - from Tokyo).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tokyo Cafes: Cafe Fuglen - Norwegian style Coffee & Vintage Furniture

10:08:00 PM
Fuglen by night
Last weekend the popular Norwegian cafe "Fuglen" ("The Bird") arranged an official launch party for their new Fuglen Coffee Roasters situated around 10 minutes from the original cafe. I went to the event along with some friends, and afterwards, we walked back to Café Fuglen for an evening drink.
For those of you who don't know Fuglen from before the original café opened in Oslo in 1963, and after all these years it is still a popular place that focuses not only on coffee and cocktails but also on Norwegian vintage furniture. What is really unique about Fuglen is that you get the chance to both try out and even buy their furniture during your short coffee break.
Café Fuglen's Japanese branch opened in 2012, and has since then become a trend setter in the pulsating Japanese capital. During my internship at the Norwegian embassy last year one of my daily tasks was to translate Japanese articles from newspapers and magazines into English, and one of the most frequent topics was Fuglen. If I'm not mistaken one of the articles was even entitled something like "Cool girls like free WiFi", and consisted of some hip cafes around town where they provided the opportunity for people to surf online for free on their net. The only relevance to Fuglen was, as you might have guessed already, the free WiFi..

A Fuglen poster inside the cafe
The characteristic Fuglen logo outside the cafe

With the popular Norwegian beer Nøkne Ø (naked island) on the menu (unfortunately it was sold out)
Fuglen and beer
Fuglen is, in other words, a very popular place to hang out. There are usually quite a lot of people who visit the cafe during the weekend, but since we left the launch party relatively early we came just in time to capture the whole row of seats in front of the cafe. The area is rather quiet at night, so hanging out with friends in front of the cafe is quite a nice opportunity to chat and chill out.
Enjoying good company & drinks in front of Cafe Fuglen
For more information about Fuglen, please check out their homepage

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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