We had more early wakings today. I woke up at 5:30am, when the sun came up, and came into the living room at 6:45am to find Mikel awake. I forget if I mentioned this previously, but this Airbnb does not block light effectively; I forgot my eye mask 🙁
(Forgot = did not forget but was too optimistic to bring.)
We did not have solid plans for the day when we went to bed last night, but we had tentative plans to visit a garden or two and try a standing-only sushi place. Unfortunately, as soon as I looked out the window the weather was not looking good:
It only looked overcast, but a brief peak outside and I could totally hear the rain. (The sound insulation here is much better than I expected, you can’t even hear people taking a shower or anything.) We looked at the weather the night before and I thought we were going to be good, but evidently not.
I had been kinda planning on Akihabara (a recommendation from my cousin Finn) on Wednesday, since it’s supposed to rain then as well, but we talked about it and decided today was the day (we’ll figure out Wednesday later, might use Jesse’s credit card concierge service because apparently you can call them and say you’re bored and they’ll help you out).
We hung around the place until 9am to let the rush hour traffic die down. Then as we were about to leave, Jesse checked the directions and we realized we were a little confused. I thought there was one “Akihabara Mall” but I was very mistaken. After way more research than I expected being necessary, we found a mall/building heavy on electronics that seemed cool and decided to head that way.
It was a short jaunt out (it was close enough we could have walked, but opted not to in the rain). When we got there, the view was what I expected Japan to look like based on some media I’ve seen where the visuals are very noisy. Here area few photos showing what I mean:
The first view going in was also visually astonishing:
We browsed a bit and then headed up the second floor (of nine total). We saw a game demo and tried it out:
There was a really long intro scene, so we left it, and a moment after that we saw someone playing it. Bummer, oh well.
Next, we were looking at a huge section devoted to keyboards when Mikel recognized one of his old colleagues. By total chance, we ran into him while he was also visiting Japan! We made tentative plans to meet him for lunch, but went our separate ways while we continued exploring.
Then… I was surprised to see Polaroids (which were expensive!):
Next up we saw some fancy headphones:
We also saw a crazy thin TV:
I was absolutely amazed at first, but then Jesse pointed out that the “guts” of the TV are a separate part, connected with a ribbon, and so I was no longer utterly blown away even though it’s definitely still cool.
Jesse liked this transparent dishwasher:
I thought this was mean:
A little bit after that we saw a weird thing. I won’t explain it here, but you should watch this video.
One of the things I did at this place was look for a new backpack, since there were tons. My old backpack had a broken zipper, but it had three features I did not want to go without – chest strap, water bottle holder on the side, and a secure pocket, ideally facing toward my back. I ended up finding one and bought it; I thought it was expensive but Jesse insists that it was a good deal. I had been wanting to bring something home, and was happy that I was able to satisfy my inner utilitarian.
We had gotten there around 10am and by this time it was 12:30pm so we decided to grab lunch. There was a beef place that looked good and Mikel’s old colleague caught up with us. Here’s my meal, beef tongue:
It was really good, and my first time having beef tongue. I scarfed the meal down, which was great because my appetite recently has not been what it once was. Toward the end of the meal Jesse and I went to use the bathroom, which I think was my first public bathroom use in Japan. I regret not taking a picture or two (while no one else was there) but unfortunately it was right next to a smokers’ room and it absolutely reeked. I wish it smelled like poo instead.
After lunch, Mikel’s old colleague had to run to catch a flight home and the three of us wanted to check out a retro gaming store he had mentioned to us. On the way there we stopped in on an arcade, just to check it out, and I noticed a Digimon claw machine:
I’m not really into Digimon or anything but one of my housemates is, and I thought it might be nice if I could nab him something. I decided to give it one try, which went well at first, but then it fell out. In retrospect I wish I had recorded video of the whole thing so that you wouldn’t have to miss the drama.
I had not mentioned this before but the region we were in is known for “maid cafes” which I will not really talk about here but you can totally Google. I will include one picture though:
We finished our detour and made our way to the retro gaming place, Super Potato:
We checked out three and four, and then Jesse and Mikel checked out the fifth without me because it was smoking (I tried to follow them but the smell hit me hard before I even reached the stairs). Here’s Mikel posing with a shirt:
After this, we ran out of plans and decided to just walk around. At one point I came up with a souvenir idea – if I could find a Japanese copy of an old Yugioh card I liked, Magical Hats, then that would be awesome. Literally within a minute we found a shop selling Yugioh cards, and within another minute I found the exact card I was looking for!
It came out to 303 yen after tax, which was mildly annoying because I had to get 97 yen in change back. It worked out ok though because later I used some of that change to put the exact right amount into a vending machine, and I got 50 yen coins which can be used a coin presser (in case I see one of interest later on).
I thought this was funny:
The place was littered with Sega stores:
After that we decided to head home. We were tired and our feet hurt, so I wanted a little bit of down time before dinner (which I am using to write this blog post [we also watched John Oliver and Trevor Noah]). On the way back we stopped at a shop to get contact lens solution for Jesse and I noticed this:
I’m not going to make fun of the masks or anything silly like that but I will call out two people I saw smoking while having masks pulled down. Wat. One of them was on a motorcycle and the other was outside a shop. I could say more about this but I’m not going to.
After our downtime we took a bus to dinner. We would have liked to walk, forty minutes, but it was raining and cold. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the bus stop had an indicator for when the bus would arrive:
It was the first bus we’ve taken during this trip so far, and it was really easy because it takes the same (IC) card as the train. Mikel kept track of the stops, for which I am thankful (it let me play Pokemon Go on the bus, where I caught my tenth Volbeat!).
We went to a standing-only sushi place, Hinatomaru. Apparently that’s a thing in Japan. For most of the time, it was just us, the two chefs, and a couple, so it was very calm. The chefs were great, spoke English, and made recommendations. It was cheap enough that we had a decent amount of the top-line stuff, our favorite being seaperch, which none of us had had before but we’ll want again now!
Overall we spent nearly $100, which is our most expensive meal so far. It was a deal though, one piece that cost nearly $3 was more like $14 back home! Also I forgot to take pictures. Sorry?
I was hoping the rain would die down and that we could have a nice walk back with full stomachs but once again that was not gonna happen. Jesse let me borrow is hat for the way back, which is nice because I was pretty cold.
I was basically ready for bed when we got back but I really wanted to try out the bath here. That was more of an adventure than anything so far on the trip. It was not a simple faucet like I am used to, instead there were buttons (none in English) and presumably they could be used to get the bath going. I pushed buttons at random for a bit, and then Mikel came to my door and said that something outside the bathroom was talking and beeping. Wat. I get some things are just different, and not necessarily better or worse, but why tf does my bath make digital noise in the living room? Anyway I had a nice bath, read my book (loving it) and then came to finish this blog before bed. (Fortunately I had most of this post already written, so it was a matter of filling in dinner details.)
Tomorrow we plan on visiting Disney Tokyo 🙂
Fitbit step count for the day: 15,492
Next: Day 4