Log of Japan, Day 3

Monday April 13, 9:00 p.m. Rain.

I missed a log yesterday, so I will write about yesterday today. I went to Akihabara and Asakusa yesterday. I didn’t do very much in Akihabara; I went to some anime centre where they had some sketchups of anime characters. I saw a girl with a funny shirt that had some engrish on it; I asked if I could take her picture, but she said no. I forgot what the shirt said, so it couldn’t have been that funny. Or maybe I was tired. After we went to the anime centre, we walked around and found a street market with anime figurines, some shirts, and some pillow cases with girls in suggestive positions. I saw a man in a suit, amongst other people, browsing their wares. I can’t tell if society really frowns upon this behavior or not; I hear that people really don’t like how people participate in this “otaku” culture, but then people participate so openly, as if nobody cared. It is strange. A normal sight in Akihabara are those girls who talk in cute voices who are dressed up like dolls, anime characters or maids trying to get you to look at their stuff. They concern me. I didn’t buy anything Akihabara, but in hindsight, I should’ve looked harder for the shirt that I was looking for (I was looking for a keyhole sweater; I bought it online after the trip).

After that, we went to Asakusa. I think Alex was happier to be there than in Akihabara; I can understand why. On our way to the temple, we went through the street markets. We went into a neighborhood that sold kitchen knives, and I found them very pretty. One can expect that from japanese blades. One of the things I found of particular note, more than anywhere else in Tokyo, were the absurd amounts of electrical wires bounding across the streets. They were fascinating. We continued on through the street markets until we ran into what looked like the Japanese equivalent of a bazaar. There we bought some two toed shoes. They are cool, but I don’t think I could get away with wearing them in Japan.

We ate some street food as well. I had a meat bun, which I enjoyed greatly. I liked how they were gooey. We also had some fried food, which was also tasty. After that, we reached the temple. It was crowded. Alex decided to wait in line to get some melon buns (I think they are called), so that I could roam around the temple. I didn’t really explore all that much; I was tired, and I didn’t like how crowded it was. I saw some people brushing themselves off in the smoke of some fireplace. I suppose it is supposed to represent one cleansing themselves spiritually, but I don’t know. I then had some of the melon buns. They tasted like belgian waffles, but had the consistency of a soft, recently baked croissant. I enjoyed them. After that, we went to a ramen place on a side street, which was nice. After that, I think we went to Shinjuku, in order to find the shirt I wanted. We couldn’t find it, so we left. We took the train back towards home, when we asked people around where we may find the shirt I wanted. A street vendor suggested I try Nakano Broadway. I did that the next day.

Today, I went to the Imperial Palace, the Financial District, and Nakano. The Imperial palace was interesting, if uneventful. We couldn’t enter the palace, so we stayed outside and looked at the river.

Alex told me that she found that Japan’s society is socially stunted. She feels that the social structure, in its attempt to retain traditions, stagnates over time, then suddenly reforms, but only reforms to a point the rest of the world had reached ten years prior; she finds this apparent in how the Japanese people treat other, less homogenous Japanese people. I find this odd because the Japanese people are looking for ways to differentiate themselves in their society, but ostracize those who are truly different.

After that, we went to the financial district. There wasn’t much to see specifically, but the overall vibe of the area was cool. We went to to a very nice ramen place that was quite cheap too. After that, Alex dropped me off at Tokyo Station in order to navigate to Nakano Broadway. I made it there, but left empty handed. At the end of the day, I went to the Tokyo tower, where I took pictures of the landscape. I had a nice apple pie for my birthday, but now I have the runs. It is probably because I had ice cream with it.

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