April 1st, 2007

domo-kun flat

18 Days: Maybe With A Touch Of Fatigue

A lazy day, generally. Weather wasn't that great, so I didn't plan anything ambitious for the morning. Just did laundry, and eventually hopped the train to Tokyo station, where I went looking for the NHK Character Store.

Found it. Three more Domo-kun straps (my keitai denwa is starting to look a bit ridiculous) and a Domo-kun plushie later, I walked out only a bit over 3000円 poorer or so. Which, actually, was less damage than I'd expected.

After that, wandered over to Akihabara (where I'd be meeting my Japanese friend eventually), and after wandering a bit, sat down and people-watched for a while. He was a bit late, so it was a bit longer while than I'd expected, but still not too bad. I think maybe I'll go over tomorrow morning for a bit and do some more people watching (although I'm sure it'll be insanely crowded, like it was today), then maybe retrieve my luggage and hop the train down to Yokohama, where I'm moving my base of operations tomorrow.

Anyway, eventually we took off to Mr. (and Mrs., of course) Nippon2007 Chairman's house for a low-key party (picking up some supplies on the way), and spent the rest of the day there. Low key fun was had, much food was consumed (including these anko-based confections wrapped in sakura leaves, complete with a blossom -- kinda getting into the season, literally, and pretty cool), conversation stumbled through in multiple languages (okay, well, two), and a rather embarrassing number of gifts were bestowed upon me. Never let it be said that Japanese hospitality is anything short of astonishing. In fact, it kinda makes me... Uncomfortable... Because it's just so much. I know I'm maybe being silly, but I do worry that I'm putting my hosts out, and that they do things for me out of a sense of obligation rather than out of some sort of spontaneity. Of course, I guess in the same sense that smiling actually makes you feel better, maybe doing things for people makes you feel better even if it somehow happened to be obligatory.

Eh, I ramble. I guess I am a bit neurotic that way. And stubborn -- I hate asking for help from anyone (especially friends) too.

Nevertheless, it was a pretty wonderful evening (yay, even rode back to the station in Mr. Chairman's car -- just need to borrow a scooter and rent a bicycle to make my transportation cycle complete -- got boat, plane, train, bus, taxi, and car covered), and it's probably one of the things I'll remember most about the trip. Someday I'd like to repay them somehow.

Also, today, I ended up with one of those Suica cards, which I guess I may still be using come August (depending on how long I stay then, and whether I get a rail pass, and for how long). Usual crowded late weekend train, although it wasn't helped by there being a delay due to another train with mechanical difficulties of some sort. On the way back, it also occured to me how... Normal... Japan has become to me. After a couple of weeks, strangely, it's almost like I live here in a way, and it's going to be a bit of a shock returning to Denver.

Anyway, tomorrow, not much planned, really (just moving to Yokohama, and maybe a side trip to Akiba), but I guess it partly depends on the weather, too.
danger death ray


Well. I've decided to stay in Japan.

I'm actually going to fly back on schedule Wednesday, since I need to close things out, take care of my stuff and my lease (the last couple of months are probably going to hurt -- I've still got through the end of June left on it, and I'll probably just have to swallow them -- but on the good side, I won't have to buy a ticket to Nippon2007, which cancels out about a month, I guess [edit: duh, I guess I still have to buy the ticket out here]). And, well, it's not like I gave Charlie notice or anything ahead of time here, so I need to close that out too, and I can give him about a month or so.

Anyway, I got a job at a little private 英会話 out near Mitaka. Not really the location I would have picked, I guess, but it's still Tokyo, and it's one of those networking with people who know somebody who knows somebody things. And it's not that far from the station, so it's not too bad.
  • Current Mood
    giddy giddy

19 Days: Huh, This Place Looks Familiar, I Haven't Been Here Before, Have I?

Checked out of my hotel in Tokyo this morning, but left my luggage there for a bit. Wanted to hang out in Akiba for a little while and see what it was like on Sunday (what was it like? Crowded, and there were a few interesting people about), I got bored of people watching after a while, though, so mid-afternoon (after hanging out for a few hours) I hopped the train back to Uguisudani, grabbed my luggage, and lugged everything down here to Yokohama, where I checked in a bit early. The weather was nice for a while today (it was even almost sunny -- a bit on the hazy side, but generally not exactly cloudy) in Akihabara. The good weather seems to have fled now, though -- I was going to take some pictures of the Sakura by the river here, but I guess now not so much. Did take a number of pictures in Akihabara (including some of the sakura floating in the river from the bridge south of the main drag -- they were quite pretty).

Let's see... Some observations:

The Mega Mac is really something that I would have expected to have been invented in America, not Japan. In fact, I'm a little surprised it hasn't been brought to America yet (for the record, it's not too bad -- not exactly what you expect out of a Big Mac, though, the lettuce and sauce are wrong, and the hamburger itself is strangely spiced -- although the spices aren't a bad thing, I'd say. I'm not sure if I like McDonalds here better or worse than America, they're just different -- of course, I'm not the biggest fan of McD's in America, either. They're way down there on Doug's fast food hierarchy of ultimate justice. Both here and in Japan).

I swear that whoever made the songlist for this SoftBank kiosk near where I was sitting for a while stole it directly from my iPod. They never played anything that wasn't on my current random playlist (which is a fraction of my total library at 1GB or so). Including the Japanese Stuff. There was some Maroon 5, some Do As Infinity, other stuff I forget now. It was almost creepy.

There was this one of those street salesgirls (you know, the ones that stand on the sidewalk and give out flyers and things in Japan?) that everyone was taking a picture of. I'm not exactly sure why, she didn't seem particularly prettier than the others, nor did she have a particularly eye-catching outfit (she wasn't one of the ones dressed up like a maid or something, although maybe there's some anime character that dresses like that and I just didn't recognize it, but there were two or three others in the same outfit, too), nor was it just the otaku guys doing it -- I saw at least one woman take a picture, too. Basically, I just didn't get it.

Really warm today. Like, 70's -- according to the forecast, that shouldn't last. I'm just hoping for one more day of nice weather for picture takiing -- I'm perfectly happy going to Shimostuma in the rain. :)

Got accosted (so to speak) at the station in Yokohama by somebody who was apparently raising relief money for the earthquake last week. They seemed legit (earnest enough, and this is Japan, where I imagine that a scam would have gotten shut down pretty fast, though I don't really know for sure -- anyway, I just gave him 1000円, which is a lowish-end meal worth of money, anyway). Did the sort of usual (at this point) mixture of Japanese and English communication that I seem to do here around the, er, over-civilized parts of Japan, to the point where I don't quite remember which parts I said in Japanese, and which in English. Which is kind of weird to me at this point. He did the usual 上手ですね thing (which, of course, means my Japanese isn't very good, which I already knew). I suppose that it somehow still amuses me.

Anyway, gonna take it a bit easy tonight. Go find some food, maybe crash early. Might go to Shimotsuma tomorrow. Find the Jusco. Take pictures.

[see photos on flickr]