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01 April 2007 @ 12:56 am
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.
 
 
Current Location: Uguisudani, Tokyo, Japan
In the mood: mellowmellow
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on March 31st, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
I agree, the whole gift thing gives me the willies. Even as an American, though, you can feel it in reverse. Back in 1990 someone admired my Leatherman -- nothing like that existed in Japan at the time -- and I had to give it up. I just had to. Couldn't find one exactly like it when I got back to the States, either.
Dustybigmog on April 1st, 2007 03:40 am (UTC)
You're be glad to know that Kansai and Shikoku have their own local Domo-kun toys. Now you have even more reason to travel in Japan. Oh and if you happen to see that key chain I was looking for, could you get it for me? Thanks!
Douglas Triggs: domo-kun!doubt72 on April 1st, 2007 06:35 am (UTC)
I'm not surprised -- one of the ones I have is actually Chiba-specific, which will make Mike happy. :)

As for looking -- no problem. I haven't seen it so far -- but then, I haven't really been looking, either (still, I think I would have noticed them if there'd been some in whatever stores I was haunting).

Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind finding a Ebisu or Yokohama one for myself, or even a Sendai or Matsushima one.
thjazithjazi on September 27th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
You do know you're supposed to return a gift of equivalent value or else you are in an inferior position of obligation to them. In this case, you are working the convention on your vacation and not being paid for it (I assume) so the gifts are a way of muting their obligation to you though unless they were particularly expensive, probably not voiding it. Since you are an outsider... its a bit more murky. My wife gets lots of gifts when she is there and has to report/turn them down (>$50) per SEC regulations. Of course, in her case it may also be that they are afraid of her and want her to think fondly of them. Who isn't who knows her professionally? I'm always being asked if she's like "that" at home too... to which I usually respond that at least she has to be polite to you to which they usually shudder, make noises of commiseration, or think I'm teasing them.

On the other hand, my information on obligations and gift giving may be out of date as it comes from the late 80s from one of my best friends from NY (half Japanese, father's side)
Douglas Triggs: crazy person with signdoubt72 on September 28th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
Well, as a foreigner, the rules are pretty loose. Intention matters, etc., yadda, yadda.

Things haven't really changed there, though, and, well... Even here, it's basic manners to give as good as you got. And, well, I do like giving people stuff, far more than I like getting it. Some of the things I've gotten I haven't known what to do with. Other things have been totally awesome. You know how it is.