Around the world via WF Pt IAround the world via WF Pt I

Work recently took me to several cities in Russia, including Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. It's a nine-hour flight between Moscow and Vlad, and the connections aren't very pleasant. As opposed to returning to Moscow and then pressing on back to the US, I decided to just keep flying east from Vlad, via Tokyo, to return home. Not entirely coincidental, but the timing was such that work wrapped up in Russia the weekend before WF, so I decided to make a long weekend out of my stop-over in Tokyo. And only then did I finish my circumnavigation.

What follows is my two-part blog on the trip. This first part focuses on the travel prior getting to WF and includes SFW pics of places and food while the second part will focus on NSFW WonFes figures and kits and my loot pics.

Although a trip around the world may seem romantic when envisioned from an arm chair or while looking at photos online, the reality is rather gritty and mundane when the focus of travel is business and dealing with long-haul flights, cramped quarters, and airport/airline food. However, in keeping with the zeitgeist and making one's life look more interesting when portrayed online than actual reality, I'm including photos of some neat sites and good food, as I imagine only the rare few would be interested in foodie-pics of airplane meals like cheese omelet with sausage or the airport transit bus at Pulkova airport in St. Petersburg.

My first stop after leaving the U.S. was St. Petersburg, via Frankfurt. A fine city, but early February after a big snow makes it a bit hard to navigate. A visit to the Hermitage should be on everyone's list that makes it here, but also the Marinski to see an opera or ballet. It's a fine theatre and rivals the best opera houses in Europe.


Following St. Pete's my mates and I made our way to Moscow, which was also covered in snow. Highlights outside of work included the obligatory stop at Red Square and St. Basil's,


and an amazing meal at highly-ranked Chemodan (chemodan-msk.ru) for Siberian delicacies. The pic below is the Venison with cedar nuts and green pine cone sauce

After Moscow was the grueling red-eye flight to Vladivostok. The temperature was around -12 degrees C, and had been so or colder for a while so the bay off the city had long been frozen over. Noting a parade of locals taking a stroll on the frozen bay I followed suit and snapped the following pic at sunset.

The flight from Vlad to Tokyo wasn't bad at 2.5 hours. Since we arrived mid-day on Friday I had a day and a half to make the required pilgrimages to Akiba and Nakano-Broadway.

There are enough good how-to navigate Otaku Tokyo blog posts on MFC that detail most of the shops so I won't add more pics or preferences to the collective pile. However, I will highlight for the group Bar Zingaro in Nakano Broadway - morning coffee is key for many of us and vital to maintain stamina when traipsing from one shop to the next. Zingaro has been keeping geeks caffeinated at Nakano Broadway for years now. You can find them on the 2nd floor, and I highly recommend their doppio espresso, although all of their drinks are top-notch.

Akiba used to have an excellent coffee shop in the form of Obscura Coffee Roasters under the Mansei-Bashi (bridge) halfway between Ochanomizu and Akiba stations, but they closed up shop and only have their main shop in Sangenjaya now. Excelsior Cafe, Tully's and Starbucks all have shops in Akiba but I've yet to find a good independent coffee shop.

Tokyo is full of amazing places to eat when you're not shopping for anime goods, figures, or doujinshi. Maisen Tonkatsu is excellent and located in Omotesando and near Tokyo station.

Midori Sushi is one of my favorite sushi bars, and has outlets in Shibuya, Akasaka, and Ginza (check out the amazing super fatty toro on the right!)

And if you're into ramen make the trek out to Shin Koiwa for Menya Itto. Amazing and unorthodox, this ramen consistently ranks among Tokyo's best.

Ok, that's enough of food and non-WF trip stuff. Similar to some other MFC users, I also queued up on the Sunday morning of Feb. 18 to get in to WF. It was much nicer inside than outside in the cold.

Getting into WF concludes Pt. 1.

Pt. 2 will include some of the new NSFW figures that caught my eye but will mainly focus on adult-oriented GKs, Angel Philia, and Figma mods (similar to the last time I posted about a WF: BLOG #23189)

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