Ughhhhhhhhh I put this off way too long. In between school, preparing for Komiket, preparing for Korea, and trying to tidy up the house (who am I kidding), I never made much time to get this all down!
(Also ohhhh my gosh lmao. Editing photos is so difficult when you’re so bad at taking them in the first place HAHAHA)
There’s a little backstory to this, I guess—the first time I went to the US, I was a 5 months old. My grandma and a bunch of—most, I think, at this point—relatives of mine live there, so since I was born we’ve been visiting the US every 2-3 years. Prior to this trip the last time we visited was in 2011. We haven’t been able to go back in such a long time because my older brother got really, really, really sick and didn’t want to let my grandmother worry. I won’t go into the details (for now), but after feverish years, last June he passed away, and we decided to go to the US with his ashes so our relatives could pay respects. We didn’t really want to spend our first Christmas without him at home either…
Tough stuff, dude.
Nevertheless though we miss him a whole bunch we tried to have as much fun as we possibly could on this trip! Interestingly enough it’s the first trip to the US (where I’m fully aware of my surroundings) that we didn’t go to any Disneylands or theme parks whatsoever.
Boo. LOL JK amusement parks are expensive, guys
I’ve cut my trip into weeks since we didn’t really do much per day, seeing as our main purpose was to visit relatives. Regardless, I still got to do lots of fun stuff LOL
DAY 1, Dec 16
“DAY 1” lol. Not exactly day 1, because we spent a lot of time in transit! We took EVA Air as our flight, and even though the food wasn’t very good (you know what airline has really good food? Qatar Airways lol) and there were a bunch of really frustrating passengers on our flight, it was a lot quicker than I expected! Unfortunately we did find some delay before departing from Manila (something about the runways that I can’t remember because I was really irritated about getting delayed on an international flight), but luckily we made it in time for our flight from Taipei to JFK.
Although aw, we didn’t get to explore the Taipei airport! EVA’s main base is in Taipei and they have a bunch of cool boarding gates, even a Sanrio-themed one (they have tie-ups with Sanrio so they actually Sanrio airplanes huhu). I felt sad passing by it because I wanted to explore, but—spoiler alert!—I got to visit it on our way back.
I’m normally too nervous to ask for water on flights and I spend most of my time sleeping anyway, so one thing I do on long, intercontinental flights is wear a sheet mask! I couldn’t find a Daiso silicon mask in time to hold the sheet mask in place, but thankfully it didn’t slip off my face LOL
Naturally when we arrived in NY we were all tuckered out, so we just settled down and took a bunch of naps, deciding to just go around the next day.
DAY 2, DEC 17
Except. Well. It snowed.
A little snow doesn’t scare ya girl, but when you’re traveling with a bunch of people over 50, you really have to take care! My cousins, sister, and I went out to play in the snow (in our pyjamas #yolo) for a little while but otherwise we spent most of the time catching up with my grandma and aunt.
DAY 3, DEC 18
My niece’s blow-up Santa fainted.
Visited our great-aunt! She too us to eat some cuban food which was (despite my garbage photo) really good. It was skirt steak with chimichurri, fried plantains, and black beans, iirc!
DAY 4, DEC 19
Ohhhh boy. This was the first day we spent in Manhattan! I say day but the truth is we were only there late in the afternoon until the evening, lol. We were set to watch some musicals—Wicked for my sisters and cousin, and Beautiful for my parents, grandmother, and I! There’s a funny story about that—initially I was supposed to watch Wicked with my cousins (COUSINS PARTY!!) but tickets were pretty expensive, and I’ve been nagging at my parents for Beautiful ever since we planned our trip because I’m a big fan of Carole King, so Beautiful it was! We wanted to watch a bunch of other stuff too, but we had no time nor funds. And Hamilton is still sold out LOL
We had some time to kill before the show, so we decided to visit my favourite place in the entirety of New York City—Nintendo World!
This was on their elevator—it was a really cute detail! Samus over there between Bowser and Donkey Kong looks a little out of place though, haha.
Super cute of them to have DK’s barrel as a charging station! Fun fact, Donkey Kong is off-center because some dude didn’t want to get out of my photo. Sighs.
These two guys were by the stairwell—the stairs wind around Mario’s pole, while Luigi is underneath the staircase. Stay strong, Luigi. 💦
Back when I was here in 2008 (!!) the new console was the NDS Lite, so there was a setup on the first floor dedicated to it, and there were a bunch of Nintendo Wiis on the second floor hooked up with Super Smash Bros. Now, the first floor has New Nintendo 3DS consoles, while the second floor has (more DSes lol) the Wii U with different games on them. Though I suspect that they’ve switched out some of those Wii U consoles with the Nintendo Switch by now. 😉
The first floor is full of Mario (and original Nintendo NY) merch, and the second floor is for various games! A cool thing is that they sell Nintendo stuff for BABIES on the first floor! (BABIES! ACTUAL INFANTS) Like teethers and clothes and stuff. All very cute but the only children I have are my dogs lol
Naturally, I gravitated more towards the second floor… HAHA Lots of Zelda, Pokemon, Kirby, and Animal Crossing merchandise to be found there! Interestingly enough I found a Pikmin (PIKMIN!!!!) shirt too, but I decided against getting it since I… spent so much money already lol
This bag was the first thing I saw on the second floor and the first thing I really gravitated towards. After much contemplation, I ended up buying it. Despite its shape, it fits my laptop perfectly!
In case you haven’t already noticed, I’m a giant Zelda fan! I grew up with the series and really love Zelda-themed merch. Normally I’d feel a little embarrassed showing my nerd hobbies through apparel and stuff (I’M A FAKE NERD LOL) but Zelda stuff is just so so cute and close to my heart. If the Link’s Tunic hoodie wasn’t just such a wild shade of green I would have been tempted to get it LOL. I’m regretting not getting the hoodie with “Nintendo New York” written in green though, it was so cute!
The Pokemon bags were super cute but they were hardshell, meaning they would’ve been really difficult to lug home to the PH. 😥 It’s okay. It just wasn’t meant to be.
This meme is absolutely outdated but it’s forgiven because it’s Animal Crossing. And it’s more than relevant to Animal Crossing. When I saw it I inwardly screamed because I remember pouring hours and hours into the first AC just to pay off my house :’)
Video games are getting too realistic nowadays.
They have an area in the middle of the second floor dedicated to some (limited edition? rare) Pokemon merchandise that was enclosed in a glass case. When you take a picture black bars obscure the photo which I think is really cool! They used these invisible bar things on an old NES display…
I say “old” because the NES display is for everyone to see now! It was really interesting despite having not experienced it myself as a kid, and the old issues of Nintendo Power made it feel extra nostalgic (we subscribed to it when I was in elementary school). They sell NES minis with games now but unfortunately they were (and still are!) sold out.
And here I was thinking that I could redeem myself by buying a new one, because I broke our old Famicom when I was a baby thinking that the game slot was for coins………….. ANYWAY
They had a bunch of figurines for sale on display! The cutest one is Windwaker!Ganondorf, and I’m going to have to admit that Skyward Sword!Link here has… a really creepy face lol.
And the Wii U display, plus some New 3DSes! Oooover there on the left they were selling games and game accessories, like New 3DS faceplates and stuff. There was a bunch of Youkai Watch LOL and they had the Z-ring from Pokemon Sun and Moon and I……… still really want it.
I belong to ages 4+.￼
After that we were supposed to go to Ippudo for dinner (because they have vegetarian ramen!) but since we were really pressed for time, so we headed over to Five Guys (which was less than a block away) instead.
If I remember right, toppings are unlimited? So I got a mini cheeseburger with tomatoes and pickles. They say mini but it was still fairly large for me, oof! It was really tasty though (I usually can’t stand the taste and texture of burgers) and I’m really sad that I didn’t get to try it again a second time.
Then we headed to the Sondheim Theater to watch Beautiful!
I enjoyed it a lot! I thought the set was gonna be super simple considering that it’s a musical about the life and times of Carole King but it was really, really awesome. The hair changes throughout the different stages of her life were also just so *_____*
There were a lot of songs in there that I didn’t know were written by her! She had composed Many A Bop. If I had to pinpoint my favourite song from the show though, it has to be It Might As Well Rain Until September (plip ploop plip ploop plip ploop). It was really cute how at the end, they all sang I Feel The Earth Move (A CLASSIC) and encouraged the audience to sing along too, like a concert! I really liked it. My mom liked it enough to buy the cast recording on vinyl HAHA
I wanted to see Jessie Mueller (who won a Tony for her role as the first Carole!) live so we were supposed to watch Waitress on a later date, but people weren’t sure if they were or weren’t going to watch, so by the time we were sure the tickets we wanted were sold out. )’: One fine dayyyyy…
DAY 5, DEC 20
Got up early to meet up with my friend MJ! The ferry station had some food and produce stalls set up selling apples and things. AND DOGGOS!! (No doggies were being sold—they were hard at work. ) They (the food stalls, not the doggies) were selling apple cider doughnuts and they were deliciously cake-y and cinnamon-y and apple-y without being overly sweet. I wish I could eat another one.
MJ and I went skating over at Chelsea Piers! By that what I really mean is that she skated, while I went around the rink once before stopping because the boots really hurt the place where bunions form? (I don’t have bunions ok those seem really painful I just don’t know what that area is called lol) I’ve yet to actually skate comfortably, since rental skates generally don’t come in half sizes. When I went skating in Manila the boots were too big for me, and in New York while they were still kind of loose around my ankles, they were weirdly tight around my toes… Yikes.
We went during free-for-all so there were a bunch of kids skating around, which is really scary! There were a bunch of school children there, maybe on a field trip? So many obstacles to bump into! So many reckless children!!!! Maybe I’m just old and tired.
Oh, but look what we found! SOME SKATING FAVES but only in print form lol
I slept over at MJ’s!! Here is her dog Zoey, who is super cute and super affectionate! She’s really silly and I miss her so much HUHU she really likes snuggles… what a cutie patootie… I love her huhu. She kept climbing into people’s beds HUHU the next morning she slept on my chest and tried to keep licking my face. She’s so cute.
For dinner MJ’s family took me to a really nice Greek-ish diner which was really tasty and had humungous servings, omg. I got a gyro because I didn’t want anything too heavy, but it ended up being so large that I couldn’t finish it;; I took a pic of it against my hand in comparison, because I have the Most Yaoi Of Hands. The tzatziki was really good though, too bad they didn’t wrap that up 😥
After that we went back to MJ’s house and I accidentally fell asleep on her couch for like 3 hours…
DAY 6, DEC 21
We headed back to Manhattan to go around and then meet my parents! Truthfully the trains in NYC are a lot more rickety and run-down than the ones we have in Manila (and the stations are stinkier HAHA), but they have a lot of lines and alternative methods of transport so even if the train’s out of order you can still find a way.
I love curry a whole lot so MJ took me to this one curry place she really likes, Go Go Curry! I put cheese and rakkyo on mine, and it took a while for me to really notice the cheese’s effect on my food LOL. The curry could have been more sour (I like mine a little on the tart side, haha), but the rakkyo made up for that. *___* It was so tasty. If I knew where to get rakkyo in the metro I’d pickle that ASAP. *______________*
Go Go Curry’s servings are surprisingly large? Like when I started eating it I was like, oh it’s not THAT huge, but like halfway through I realised that I was getting really, really full. I still pushed to finish it though because I’m not a quitter HAHAHAHAHA
that’s a lie
Afterwards we visited Kinokuniya, which has a lot of books and really cute knickknacks! Lots of Rilakkuma and interesting books, but the markup makes them too pricey for me, so I’m honestly better off ordering them online. Which is fine because the Philippines is so much closer to Japan than the US is so lol.
ANYWAY LOL THE FIRST THING WE SAW AS SOON AS WE STEPPED INTO KINO WAS
I was #shookt at the fact that there was a ton of Hanyu right at the entrance LOL and then MJ was like “Well you should see the ~sports~ section.”
Kino had a lot of cat and lifestyle books that I really wanted to get but also really couldn’t afford to, so we went to BOOK-OFF instead, where I got a bunch of skating magazine back issues, and one of Daisuke Takahashi’s books. *_____*
During breakfast, my Glossier order arrived! Again, I talked about that over here.
We hauled ourselves to NJ to go to a giant craft store—Hobby Lobby! I got myself some knitting needles and yarn, plus some cards, stamps, and stickers. It was huge—they had candies and gardening stuff and it was. Just so much?? So overwhelming. Gosh, if we had a lot of craft stores in the Philippines, I’d be really, really broke by now. I’m trying to get back into knitting, though I was never really good at it, and knitwear is impractical in the tropics.
We had Italian for lunch afterwards!
After resting (we’d done so much in a few days, after all) we headed to one of my grandaunts’ for dinner. When I said I first visited as a 5-month-old, I wasn’t joking. They whipped out this photo:
Full same, baby Banana.
And that’s it for my first week in the US! The rest of my stay wasn’t as busy because Christmas and New Year’s were in those, so those posts won’t be as long… probably. Hopefully I can get both of those out before I leave for Korea!
If you’ve noticed, I’ve been trying to tweak my blog’s design! I was getting a little tired of the old layout and really didn’t like how it auto-cut posts instead of letting me use read mores, and I decided to add my [underwhelming] Instagram feed over there to the side. In the future, I’d like to create a custom layout for myself, but for now my graphic design skills are close to zero, and the only coding language I should be focusing on is C++.
I’m going to be busy busy busy for a while, but I hope to post again soon!