with a dream is continued (backlog flush #74 and travelog)

March 23, 2008
Travelog of the Moment
Now reading: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This is actually a profoundly wonderful book, thanks for the suggestion Lex!

You know, I've taken almost 1,200 shots so far this trip. Yeesh!

Today was a bit of a repeat of last week, visiting the electronics store area Akihabra and meeting up with old college buddy Alex.

LAN3 asked for a shot of 7-11/iHoldings... here 'tis. Not too exciting.

Japanese shops usually put a sticker on stuff you just bought if there is no bag, or seal the bag if present...

So note the complexity of the Tokyo Japan Rail subway map. Also not the complexity of the ticket machines. Also ponder the difficulty in using said machines, which have an English mode, but often the maps don't have the place names written in Romanji, so figuring how much of a ticket you need is tough.

I was trying to make a balanced photo of the next subway train over.

Josh and I returned to Electric City Akihabra... this is the Taito Station arcade previously photographed, some gal DDRing, and a drummer drumming.

I was kind of surprised to see sit-down arcade machines, with little stools. When I met with Alex later he said this had been common for a long while.

This shop had nothing but those "gumball machine" type toy dispensers. My favorites were the Super Mario noise makers that played a sample from the game (200 Yen, ~$2 each) I have secret hopes that in a few years they'll be able to dispense little LCD video games. I mean they make those things for Happy Meals, why not here? Come on, get with it Japan!

Retro videogame store. I enjoyed the Pac-Man ghost wearing Mario's hat.

So I bought this random CD of Jpop (Alex was telling me something how it was actually some kind of synth voice) and when Josh and I came back to the store there was a costumed gal hawking it, so I got my picture taken.

So what I called a "department store" last week was actually just a "camera store", though it had pretty much the same range as a Best Buy, actually quite a bit more. Anyway, outside the store there was a robot for taking pictures with.

This was in a different store, "Bic Camera". Josh says "Bic" is probably Engrish for "Big". Which might explain these binoculars. My faith in Japanese miniaturization techniques is diminished.

Just a note on Tokyo fashion; this is a conservative version of what seems to be the most popular look, short skirt, and then either boots or socks almost up to the knee. I gotta admit, it's a pretty good look.

The 50 minute wait for Krispey Kreme donut. Oddly they were giving people in line free donuts to bribe them into waiting longer. But what if a single donut was all they wanted in the first place?

Demolishing some building or other...

Engrish on Alex's bag... "It is felt familiar always. SHELTER SPORTS. The time of when is also active and aiding people with a dream is continued."

NTT/DoCoMo tower, with lots of cellular and communication equipment.

At this point Josh headed back home to be with his wife and child so it was just Alex and me. Alex says this store is not actually pronounced "My Lord" even though it looks like "mylord"

Alex also had a bit of scorn for extremely strict Japanese interpretation of promising to meet someone "under the AltaVision" (Shown here). Waiting, you know, in the near area isn't enough... you have to be UNDER the SIGN.

Shinjuku district, entertainment and more.

Seperated at birth: this Tokyo building circa 2008, and the Northcal Headquarters of the Atari Technology And Research Institute, circa a 2005 that never was?

Design school ad image. It would seem to be a girltank.

Intriguing Traffic Halo.

Alex suggested this would be a cute photograph. He's probably right.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Its design is a little disturbing, this kind of modern reinterpretation of gothic spires.

The court area at the base of the building. Alex and I observed it looks like the area for a final boss battle. "Just break these statues on the outer part to reveal health powerups if you get damaged"

So you can go up that building, about 42 or so floors, and visit toy stores and see a pretty fantastic view of TOkyo.

The Eye of Sauron Shinjuku.

Shinjuku at night.

I would have liked this shot more except for the guy at the bottom.

So Shinjuku is a bit of a redlight district, which was kind of fun, we had a few offers of various entertainments, nothing too exciting. And we decided against this Stewardess cafe. That kind of things not my bag, baby.

So we went to a Shabu-Shabu restaurant, where there's a big simmering dish with broth and veggies in the middle, and you cook thin pieces of beef and pork in it. All you can eat in 90 minutes for around 20 bucks! Tasty.
Alex and I had some really nice conversation, talking about Tufts back in the day and our careers now. He's Chinese by origin, and actually I enjoyed his cynicism about Japan and the folks there, kind of a nice contrast to Josh's generally upbeat attitude.

Terrible shot of the nightlife. They had a number of little bands setup. The odd thing was that it seems like the most important instrumentalists of these buskers were the drummers. I saw some solo drummers, and even one case that had a prerecorded background, a live singer, and a live drummer. That's what you can't see in the back center of this photo.

I navigated to Shim-Matsudo on my own for the first time, but I had done it enough with Josh that it was pretty easy. Especially for the train to Ueno, that had this helpful digital map of the Tokyo loop.

Finally, like the free English lesson on the monitor next said, time to call it a day...