Wednesday, April 06, 2005

3/31: condoms and crepes make for joyful day

[Transcribed from trip journal; mouse over the pictures for relevant info and/or comments.]

I almost forgot to mention that I am now the Sultana of Squat Toilets! I have mastered this delicate art, and I even used the one on the bullet train last night with nary a sprinkle or splatter. I friggin' rule, yo.

Christ, there are seriously some of THE most irritating people in the world on this tour. Almost all of the women are obnoxious, with the exception of three fairly quiet girls and a middle-aged woman who's here with her son, but almost all of the guys are cool (excluding Mouthbreather and a teenage boy I'll call Nerdy McSnortylaugh), especially a friendly guy from LA named Joe and a really raunchy dude named Phil, who convinced Shimako, one of our native guides, to pose for a picture sticking her tongue out between her fingers, telling her "That's the cool thing to do in America right now." Later on, he and Isaac were talking trash, and Phil said, "I don't need your damn dictionary 'cause [making a muscle and rubbing his bicep] I got the definition!" Then someone else in the group walked up and said, "Hey, what's cooking?" and Phil pointed down at his crotch and said, "Sausage, bitch!"

I'll just be an honorary guy on this trip.

Anyway, after breakfast I met up with the tour group in the lobby, and a camera crew from NHK, one of Japan's biggest TV stations, was there to follow us around for a program. The producer asked me to tell her a little bit about myself and what made me want to come to Japan. I was able to introduce myself and say where I was from in Japanese, but I had to revert to English for the rest of it.

Side note: I've found that when I use any Japanese aside from arigato, the locals have the same reaction I would if I came across a talking dog...I'd think it was sort of cool, but it would also freak me the hell out. I asked for hamashi (scissors) at the front desk today to open up the bitch-ass packaging on my memory card, and I swear the clerk's eyes bugged out of his head.

Our first stop of the day was the Square Enix studio in Shinjuku. Square is famous for its work on Final Fantasy and Full Metal Alchemist, so the fanboys were spraying their shorts. This beautiful Yoshitaka Amano map was hanging in the lobby:

This was much larger and more breathtaking in person.  I just wish there wasn't so much glare from the damn glass.

Next we went to Nakano for shopping, where I bought more gashopon, a Bleach t-shirt and bag, and two manga magazines. I had lunch at McDonald's (more out of a desperate need to use the bathroom than for the familiarity), and then I met up with the tour for Akihabara, our next stop.

Shibuya was next, although I didn't really do a whole lot other than roam around and window shop. I did buy a very tasty food item that I think was called an okiya, but I'm not sure. It was kind of like a hard pancake filled with hot lemon custard, and that shit was choice.

Our final stop of the night was Harajuku, famous for the fashion-conscious people roaming around in elaborate outfits. A group of kogals (deeply tanned girls with bleached blonde hair) chirped "Haro! Haro!" as we walked by.

The girl condom is saying 'George'; the boy condom is saying 'Emily'.

I had a crepe filled with cheesecake, caramel, and whipped cream from Angels Heart, and it made the aforementioned lemon custard goodie taste like something fished out of a squat toilet. I was practically moaning in delight.

This is what heaven looks like, only Jude Law is working behind the counter instead of a giggling Japanese teenager.

Back at the hotel, I picked up my pass for the optional tour tomorrow, and then I played Taiko Drum Master, bought souvenirs and snacks, and then went back to the room to crash.

I almost forgot! Ladies and gentlemen, THE BEST FUCKING ENGRISH EVER:

For all your wedding needs...A-Titty.

More tomorrow...