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Japan 2023: Day 11

In honor of Elsie's birthday we slept in late before hitting the hotel buffet. We needed some solid bacon and eggs to energize ourselves for the long day ahead.

Elsie and I are huge fans of Little Canada so when we heard about a "miniature museum" in Odaiba called Small Worlds there was no doubt that we'd visit. My expectations for this were unreasonably high and somehow Small Worlds still managed to completely blow them out of the water. Seriously, every single person who comes to Tokyo must check out Small Worlds.

The size and breadth of the exhibits were beyond our wildest imaginations. They cover over 7000 square metres (approximately 75,000 square feet) spread across seven themed areas.

The first area is devoted entirely to space travel with dioramas ranging from the Apollo space program and the Space Shuttle to futuristic spaceships. The second area is the "Global Village" where you start out in a turn of the century Swiss Alps chalet that blends seamlessly into a quaint Austrian village. From there we move to a 1930s bustling German town set beside the "Dragon Village" which looks like it could be straight out of a Studio Ghibli film. Next we cross the river to a sprawling town from the Renaissance in Italy overlooked by an industrial British castle, completely with steampunk airships. Last is a modern Chinese city constructed in the shadow of a mountain complete with a majestic waterfall.

The third area is a recreation of Tokyo from the anime Sailor Moon including a massive version of "Crystal Tokyo" that puts on a pretty neat light show. The fourth area is a recreation of the Kansai International Airport and good lord was it enormous. The size of this airport was larger than the floor of any house or apartment I have ever lived in. It was probably 100 feet across in both dimensions. It also has an "airport lounge" where you can sit at a bar overlooking the runways and actually watch planes take-off and land. There is even a day and night cycle!

The fifth area is what we saw on their website which made us realize we absolutely had to come here. Their Neon Genesis Evangelion exhibit. It includes a replica of the hanger where the Evangelions are launched from and it actually simulates a launch from the anime complete with voiceover. But then you round the corner and come to the best part of the entire museum, a recreation of Tokyo-3 complete with buildings that retract into the ground and gun emplacements that simulate firing at an Angel. Also, when it transitions between day and night each window in the skyscrapers actually light up individually. I cannot imagine the amount of work that went into wiring this area up. The level of detail paid to everything in Small Worlds is truly on another level.

The sixth area is the workshop where everything is built. The coolest part of this were the huge freakin' laser cutters, of which there were three and each was at least seven feet long. And last but not least we came to the cafe which naturally had dioramas built directly into the tables. We grabbed a quick drink before heading out. In total we spent three hours at Small Worlds and I honestly believe I could go back this instant and easily spend three more there.

Next we stopped by the Unicorn Gundam in Diver City Plaza to complete our goal of visiting all three life-sized Gundams in a single trip. If I had to rate them the moving Gundam in Yokohama is easily the best, followed by the RX-93ff in Fukuoka, and finally the Unicorn Gundam. While in Diver City Plaza we hit up the Gundam Base Tokyo and finally bought some Gundam model kits to bring home. By now it was nearing 4pm so we headed back to the hotel to drop off our shopping and prepare for Elsie's birthday dinner.

For her birthday dinner Elsie chose the Monster Hunter bar in Akihabara. There is absolutely no doubt that if you are a Monster Hunter fan you're going to enjoy this bar. The drinks were delicious and had really cool twists on stuff from the games. But where this bar really shone was in the food. The "well done steak" and "Hunter King 3 types (Flying dragon, Beast dragon, Sea dragon) Meat plateā€ were near perfect recreations of what you eat in the game and they were tasty to boot. After finishing off our meal with a nice Palico cake, we headed back out into Akihabara in search of more fun.

We hit up a UFO catcher arcade where I spent $50 to "win" for Elsie what must have been a $10 Tatsugiri plushie. I guess spending anything less than $100 should be considered a victory. We then checked out the Warhammer Tokyo cafe which had some absolutely stunning painted miniatures on display. I really wanted to buy something but just couldn't justify it as I knew I wouldn't be able to paint anything in my apartment. We continued to wander around Akihabara until about 9pm when we decided to head back to our hotel.