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Browsing Posts published on August 10, 2006

Day 9: Overworld

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You know how in some video games like Final Fantasy, you spend a lot of time just walking around on a map? Well that’s not really just some creation of video game programmers; it’s because that’s what life in Japan is really like. I guess they added the random battles to make it a bit more interesting, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I got attacked by a Pokemon walking around here somewhere. But anyway, I walked around what seemed like a lot today, and I never really even left the general area. This was only partially because I got lost. I even made a map, thanks to Google Maps:
Overworld map

  1. Started at the Keio Plaza Hotel after eating the huge buffet lunch.
  2. Walked to the other side of the station, having the go around the station, and went to a movie theatre to watch the Kamen Rider Kabuto movie, God Speed Love (link). Yes, it is nerdy, but it was fun, so shut up. That was my only plan for this excursion, but I decided to do more as you can see here:
  3. Went to the nearby Isetan department store to scope it out for work. It’s a pretty ritzy place.
  4. Decided I would walk to Takashimaya Times Square, partially to scope it out for work and partially because I wanted to shop for more useless crap. Unfortunately, they close at 8:30PM, so I just missed it. Walk down more of that area, but everything is already closing up (all the big stores and buildings).
  5. Began side quest to find a coin laundrymat, so I can clean my clothes without having to pay the ridiculous hotel laundry service prices (like 500 yen per shirt). Walked past the Times Square area and ended up somehow a bit lost. It also started to rain big time, so I had to buy an umbrella. I apparently walked all the way to JR Yoyogi Station. Since it was raining, I decided to just take the Yamanote Line back to Shinjuku station.
  6. Got off at Shinjuku Station; familiar territory again.
  7. Walked all over in the general direction of a laundry place I found online, and finally found one in some apartment complex. GOAL. I’ll probably head there tomorrow and do laundry. It says for residents of this huge apartment complex only, but I’m sure they won’t catch me.
  8. Walked back to the hotel; not too far away.

Yes, after mapping this all out, I see that I should have just walked from point 5 to point 7, but it was raining and I didn’t know exactly how far away I was, so it was worth the 210 yen and the extra walking. I suppose. I have no idea how far I walked this afternoon/evening, but as you can see it was a lot. I blame this on not having a cell phone. If I had one, I could have used NaviWalk and it would have been much easier.

If my life really were a video game, it would be horribly boring.

Glass Court Super Buffet

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Since it was raining pretty hard around noon today, I decided to finally try the hotel buffet for lunch. The place has a sweet name: Glass Court Super Buffet. It’s pretty pricey, about 3000 yen for lunch, but it was one of the classiest buffets I’ve ever eaten at, maybe just not as good as Vegas. They had so much gourmet/classy food there let me try and think of what they had: whole scallops, mussels, fruits de mare with uni sauce, crab, grilled lamb, and a variety of cheeses. Although it is pretty expensive, it was really good and I ate way too much than I should have. I’m going to probably go back at least once before I leave on Monday.

Next to the place where the guy grills the lamb meat for you yakiniku style (they called it Mongolian “Ghengis Khan” style), there was a RAMEN STATION. That’s right, all you can eat ramen. This is the best idea ever. Too bad it wasn’t that good for ramen. They should hire the Chinese renegade chefs from Bikkuri, and this buffet would be perfect.

I also got some dessert, and since it is a Japanese buffet they of course had an entire table devoted to different ice creams and cakes. Japanese girls love dessert. But they had some kind of special Hokkaido ice cream, and since it was such a unique flavor, I decided to give it a try. It was CORN FLAVORED ICE CREAM. Yeah, corn. It tasted like you would expect it to; a lot like the Japanese cream corn soup. If you’ve never had that, just think about taking American canned cream corn, blending that until its smooth, and then make ice cream out of it. It was actually a little sweet and not horrible tasting, but you can’t really enjoy it that much because you realize this is an ice cream freak of nature.

Day 8: It’s Gon’ Rain!

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reminds me of ghostbustersThis blog would have been more menacing if I would have actually written it yesterday, but I was far too busy being lazy. On day 8 of my short journey back here to Japan, Tuesday, all the TV stations were showing weather maps and semi-freaking out. Why is that? Why because there were 3 typhoons heading to Japan. Two of these, numbers 8 and 9 (I think), were heading towards Okinawa on the southern part of the island chain, but big bad number 7 had the possibility of slamming right into the middle of Honshu, the main island where Tokyo and yours truly are at. Winds were reported as being pretty strong, but this was while it was over the ocean, so chances are if and when it did hit land, it would be nothing more than a rain shower. It did, however, make the sky a really weird red-ish color around sunset. Actually I don’t know if the typhoon and the sunset color are even related, but they at least happened on the same day.

Click on the image to the left to see the full picture. That color is pretty close to what I actually saw outside of my hotel window.

As much as I hate Roppongi, I headed there last night to get dinner with Sunny since she works there in fancy-schmancy Roppongi Hills. I realized that I don’t hate Roppongi so much as long as I’m in the normal part of town and just avoid the club and bar area, where as we all know there are only 3 types of people: hookers, foreigners, and foreign hookers. But I didn’t go there so it was bearable. Met under the giant metal spider, which only in Japan would be a normal meeting place. Found this Chinese restaurant nearby that was actually run by Chinese people, including a guy who had a super mullet going. Good lord, the hair around here is horrible. But anyway, it was one of my first trips to Roppongi where I didn’t curse under my breath the entire time.

I woke up Wednesday morning around 6AM; I’m not sure why, but I think it was because there was so much noise outside. It wasn’t a typhoon, but there was a pretty good rainstorm going on, and that combined with some heavy winds were enough to wake me up briefly. I stumbled to the window, looked at the rain, probably muttered something to myself like “oh it’s raining,” went to take a leak and then went back to bed. So much for the big bad typhoon. It rained on and off, but I think that’s pretty much it for the devastating storm that had all the TV stations giving weather updates every 10 minutes. Maybe Okinawa will get hit with the other ones.

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