Log of Japan, Day 2

9:15 PM Saturday April 10. Overcast.

I made French toast for them today. They really liked it, from what I could tell. After that, we left for the subway to get to a temple in some forest (Note: Later identified as the imperial garden; later additions to the logs will be in parentheticals and italicized). Its name is lost on me. It was quite sentimental. I took some good pictures of the place. There was apparently a marriage, as well as some monks walking about in formation. I took pictures of the monks, but not the marriage. I didn’t like how many people there were at the temple, but it was still nice to go. We then went into the city streets next to it. Alex told me how she didn’t like the smell of Japan: “cigarettes and farted cabbage.” I told her how I found that it smells like New York, but she feels that New York smells better. She never told me the last time she went to New York.

We arrived at some restaurant. We were lucky we got in early; a few minutes after, and we would’ve been stuck in a queue. They served Japanese dumplings, which were good. The walk we took after was interesting; I talked to Ben about audiophilia (he has an obsession with headphones, he said), and cinematography. We went to this place called kiddyland. Alex told me it is mostly adults who go here, which makes sense considering how they sold Joker keychains (and I mean the Joker from the Dark Knight). I didn’t buy anything.

After we went to a coffee pod shop (A place where you can buy those Keurig pods, not like the coffee shops that have cubicles where you can read and play videogames), as well as a farmer’s market, Alex took me to an electronics store to show me what people buy. It is mostly the same things as one would buy in the US. It was strange, because the entire building had an interior architecture comparable to that of a vacuum cleaner store, which gave the impression of “Cheap”.

After that we went to a music and book store. We found a tourist guide, but it was written in Japanese; its uselessness to tourists is amusing. We also found a book that taught Japanese people how to use English swear words and phrases, which I thought was cute. At the top floor of the building, we saw a band doing a signing for fans. One of the fans was dressed up as Alice from Alice in Wonderland. While it may be farfetched for our standards, after seeing so many absurdly dressed japanese people, it was not really jarring (In such a homogenous place, there are Japanese people who dress flamboyantly in order to differentiate themselves). When we left the store, we saw a celebrity band do a performance in front of a building. Alex was kind of stunned, probably by what she thought was the asinine nature of the whole thing. I say that because she asked me whether or not I was amazed by what was going on. I told her that things don’t really stun me anymore. It is true, but not really. I would say that stupidity doesn’t stun me, or if it does, it is quite rare.

We then went to a bakery that served french pastries. I had an almond pan du chocolat, which was surprisingly good. The head baker was french, so I guess I should not have been surprised. After that, we went to some store that sold small goods, varying from bento boxes to sailor moon costumes. I thought about buying a sailor moon costume, but considered it a waste of money because I couldn’t think of a time I would wear it. In hindsight, I could’ve bought it for a friend or something. Alex asked me if I wanted anything for my birthday. I said that I didn’t want anything, but I don’t know if I really want something for my birthday or not. I do know that I don’t know what I could want for my birthday. I think this trip should be enough of a gift, but perhaps I am also greedy. I do not know.

After that, we decided to walk some more, but then I got tired. Alex pointed out how people in Japan really like streetside lockers; they just put their things that they bought in them, and by the end of the day, they just pick them all up and go. It makes sense, but I still find it odd. We found a cab and took it closer to where we lived. Alex needed some bread for tomorrow morning, so she got some at a bakery called Kaiser. I was standing in a place that gave an interesting composition, so I took a picture of what I saw. We went through a park. It was an uphill climb; I was tired, but I didn’t mind that. The park was beautiful. There was a cherry blossom that was still in bloom; Alex said that it was still in bloom because it was an older tree, and that younger trees often only last a week or so. She told me much earlier that they usually cut down the cherry trees on the streets after a couple of years, which would explain why they blossom and drop their petals quickly. I don’t know why they do that, but maybe it could be because they don’t want cherries littering the streets.

When we arrived home, Ben and his kids had already arrived. I played video games with his boy, Jonathan. I got very tired after a while, though, so I took a nap. Alex was kind enough to wake me up before dinner, but I was very drowsy. I think I would’ve slept through the whole night if she didn’t wake me up, a prospect that I wouldn’t have minded, but I still thought it was important that I ate something. They made mexican food. It was good. The kids had chocolate for dessert, which gave them a sugar rush. Alex made Johnathan dance in an attempt to tire him out; it had mixed success. We watched some lip syncing battles with Jimmy Fallon. They found it funny and laughed, but I only smiled. After that, the kids went to bed, and I watched some Ghost in the Shell. I say some, because I helped Alex book me a hotel in Kyoto. Ben watched some of it too, but he fell asleep. Alex finds the movie creepy, so she ignored it.

I am set to go to Kyoto for Tuesday and Wednesday. I am excited, but I am afraid of getting lost; Alex won’t be able to go with me, and google maps doesn’t work without service.

It is 10:00 now. I should go to bed. I will figure out a way tomorrow.

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