Let’s Split Up and Get Distracted

I woke up around 8am to the doorbell being rung by Bucky. He, Xara, and Fanzy were going to a US base to pick up some supplies since Bucky is in the military and apparently some supplies are cheaper on-base. I chipped in with a few things we were looking for in our apartment as mentioned in my last post. The base was about an hour away by train, plus some walking, so he informed me they would be back just after noon.

This worked out for me since I didn’t yet feel well-rested and wanted to catch a few more Z’s. I came to a few hours later, grabbed the Lemon Cream Soda I bought at 7/11 the night before, and figured out how to use my travel adapter to charge some things. Eventually Claire woke up, and I had the idea of turning on the TV to see what Japan had on the local channels. Talk shows, infomercials, and a Japanese Dub of Men in Black 2. It was very amusing to hear Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones “speaking” Japanese. It was also a little strange since one of them had been in a couple Japanese commercials before, legitimately speaking Japanese.

The afternoon rolled around, and we received word that our supply group had been halted by the incredibly distracting world of anime figures. Apparently, they had gone through the wrong exit at one of the stations, and upon walking around to the correct side, stumbled upon a place which sold reasonably priced figures. Fanzy was basically done for, since he collects them from various IPs. I was less than amused.

Ultimately, I couldn’t complain too much since I needed a sort of rest day to recuperate and get used to the time zone I found myself in. With the previous day having been longer than 24 hours and the sun rising almost a few hours earlier here than it does back home, things felt less than normal. Since the others weren’t getting back until later at this point, I grabbed the “Juicy Ham Salad” sandwich I bought at the store the previous night and gave it a try. For the cool price of ¥250 ($2.25 USD), it was decent.

A Sidestreet in Itabashi

Before the other group got back, Claire and I went upstairs to visit Justin at his apartment. We grabbed a few boxes of supplies he had for Comiket and moved them downstairs, then proceeded to play a game where we walked around town and flipped a coin if we needed to determine which direction to walk. It was an interesting way to see what the local neighborhood looked like. Many of the locals will walk or use a bicycle to get around. Mass transit is obviously prevalent, with the occasional station entrance dotted here and there. It can be deceiving since everything runs underground.

Supplies… and Figures

We got back to our apartment a little before the other half of our group arrived, and we sat in their apartment for a while to talk about our plan for the rest of the day. Claire had a group dinner scheduled before today (and apparently no one except Claire, Justin, and I knew about this). They wanted to go to Coco’s Curry, but the locations near us were limited and would not easily accommodate a group of around 8 people (we were also meeting up with a few others who lived in the area).

Eventually, we embarked on our journey to Shibuya to meet up with a few others and find good food. Coco’s Curry was indeed too packed to fit our group, so we walked a ways down the street to a place called Mos Burger.

Side Street in Shibuya

When it comes to ordering food in Japan, I (would like to think that I) have an edge since I can at least read kana characters. A lot of times, the kana ends up being the phonetic equivalent of the English name, so when I ordered their Fish Burger, I basically said something like “Fisshu Baagaa”, and they understood. I also ordered a “Pepushii Cora”, and apparently I didn’t know the word for “medium” in Japanese because one of the cashier’s co-workers asked me afterwords, in English, if I wanted small, medium, or large.

We had a good chat with the group about various things, and we got to talking to Nelson about the upcoming Comic Market in August. Comic Market, or “Comiket”, is a bi-annual event where artists and creators will make something on their own and form an identity called a “Circle” either independently or as a group. Circles can sign up to participate, and admittance is completed via lottery. Claire has a circle called “Komeiji Records” which I’ve helped out with, and they have a table at Comic Market this year. Nelson has also been on the circle-side of the event, so he gave some insight as to what we might expect as a circle. Even though I’m not technically a “member” of Claire’s circle, I’m still helping to set up the table ahead of general entry by way of a very special item called a “Golden Ticket”, just like in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

Nelson Playing Maimai

After our discussion, Nelson brought our group to an arcade called “Taito Station” and showed us around. Nelson is quite proficient at a particular arcade game called Maimai, a music rhythm game where you hit buttons arranged in a circle and drag sliders in time with the music, and he showed off his skills for a few of us. I gave it a try myself towards the end of the night.

When it came time to leave and make haste for the last train on the Yamanote line, our group seemed to have some trouble keeping together. Bucky got locked out of an alternate exit, but we found him before leaving. Fanzy disappeared somewhere between the lower and main level of the arcade, and we had to go back and find him. We did end up making the train in time, and we rode it to our second train which carried us part of the way before it stopped service for the night and we had to walk the rest of the way.

Waiting Outside a Conbini

Walking wasn’t terrible since, for us, it was a way to experience the small winding roads one finds in the local neighborhoods. We walked past several convenience stores and vending machines (which are incredibly prevalent everywhere it seems, even on small side roads). That was about it for the night. Tomorrow, we’ll learn more about… something. I don’t think we have any hard plans for tomorrow, but I know we’ll be visiting Akihabara on Saturday, so that’s definitely something to look forward to. Till then!

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