Bouncing around Tokyo

Sunday we went to Akihabara to meet up with our friend Billy from Stony Brook.  Mike had a great time with everyone, too!

Akihabara’s the place to be if you want anything electronic.  They’ve got everything from the standard TVs & DVD players to computer parts to robots for sale.  It’s also known to be a bit of a nerdy place – lots of anime & manga stuff that I was totally excited for.

But before we could dive into the chaos of the city and get lost in the lights, a Japanese television crew stopped us and asked us if we would talk about sweet potatoes, then gave us some to eat and filmed us talking about them.  It’s actually harder than you’d think.

“Mmm.. delicious.  They’re warm… squishy… like candy.”

I guess they were expecting us to say crazy things, but we’re American and eat them all the time.  I did explain that they’re baked with marshmallows on Thanksgiving.  Oh well, it’s good karma in that now Japanese people can laugh at stupid American tourists.  Goodness knows I’ve done it enough times.

We finally got into the stores and in one building alone it was a maze.  There were four floors, but I couldn’t even tell you how many stores to each because there were so many people and each store sold about the same type of thing (manga & anime figurines, keychains, cards, etc.  Mostly collector items), but one item stood apart from the crowd:

The disclaimer on the box says, “not suitable for children under 14.”  That’s funny, because I’d think a Hitler doll wouldn’t be suitable for, well, anyone.  Ever.  Japan’s got a bit of a fuzzy line when it comes to Hitler at times.  They even had a joke Nazi costume for sale at one place.

After a while, we went with Billy and his friend, Mio, to take the train to Harajuku to see if we could find any girls dressed up and do a bit of shopping.  There weren’t many, sadly; it was pretty cold.

We then met up with Billy & Mio’s friends, Dale and Keila.  Super cool people I’m definitely happy to have met.  Yesterday marked the end of my first full week here in Oyama, and it was really nice to hang out & talk with new people.  Mio, who’s from Shizuoka (near Mt. Fuji) taught me how to say “check, please” in Japanese – okaikei onegaishimasu – very good to know!

Before going to get food in Harajuku we saw some T-shirts on display along a fence:

Some middle-aged American men saw me snapping that photo and warned me, “don’t eat the hamburgers here!”  I didn’t like them.

After a good meal and good conversation we ascended the stairs of our basement eatery to find it was night time.  I really hate how the sun sets so early in winter.  It’s even worse where Billy, Mio, Dale, and Keila are.  Since they’re on a side of the base of a mountain, once the sun passes the top it’s night time – about 4 p.m. each day at this time of year.

As it was a Sunday night, the streets were packed, so we decided to take a turn to Shibuya to get away from the crowds and hit up Tower Records again.

Of course we went back to our new beloved coffee shop and home away from home, No. 8 Bear Pond.

If you read my latest McDonald’s post, you know how difficult it can be to search for things because of the double translation.  Add in small fonts, lots of bright colors, my poor eyesight, and a seemingly unintelligible categorization (remember, the alphabetical order isn’t ABC here), and finding CDs gets to be a huge challenge.  My eyes hurt just thinking about it.

After looking for quite some time we headed up to the top floor – books.  My feet were killing me at this point, so I cozied up in a chair with a good book:

We then headed to Shibuya station to make our way home.

Lastly, a little bit of Japanese advertising from the day.


About Michelle

I lived in Japan for a year & a half teaching English. Now I'm blogging about learning to cook in NYC.
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