I awaken in the morning still feeling the light effects of the Fugu. I decide to rest in a bit since it’s been a couple of big days. I watch some TV shows that I brought over on my laptop and also get my Netflix working by using the awesome Firefox plugin called MediaHint. It’s nice to be able to have a taste of home after a few days in a completely different country. I’ll admit one thing I watched was Adventure Time.
Still a bit disconcerted from the odd fugu feelings, I head down for breakfast at the hotel restaurant. I get the traditional Japanese breakfast, and am then off to get my first big errand done – a shipping box and packing materials.
I run over to Tokyu Hands, a pretty remarkable and famous do-it-yourself department and crafts store. I pick up a large box, and then run into these folks as I’m on my way out:
They’re some kind of news/interview folks from some show called ‘Zip!’ TV. My guess was it was kind of like the local cable-access channel. They asked me if they could interview me about my purchase at Tokyu Hands. After tentative agreement, signing a waver, and getting a tip or two from their translator – the camera guy switched on. They asked me a lot of questions about my box. What I bought it for, what I was going to send home. They had a young 20’s-ish kid from Vancouver, BC doing their translation and he admitted he kind of fell into the gig of translator for them. Anyway, it was kind of awkward to admit that most of what I was sending home was Otaku stuff: some models, a few action figures, a DVD or two, and a nice tea set and some pottery. Yes, pottery and tea set – that’s what I was sending home – and didn’t mention the otaku stuff. My goodness, I guess I now know what it’s like to be Bill Murray in Lost in Translation! But onwards, I had a meeting to get to!
At about 11 o’clock, I run over to the Shibuya Hikarie building to meet up with some friends-of-a-friend. What a fabulous building. It sits right behind the Shibuya station and is connected to it. But the connection was described as “Hikarie is part of Shibuya station the way a tree is part of your house when it falls on it.” Love it.
Before we went to lunch, however, one of the guys I was about to meet was super-helpful and we ran over to the post office. He helped me get my box of otaku wares shipped – so thanks Howard! I still have yet to see it about a month later, but they did tell me that sending it via surface ship could take 2-3 months. No hurry thankfully. We had a great lunch and we chatted about much geekery. Great success. Thanks Tanya for setting us up.
But after lunch, it was time to get to touring again! On my way back to the hotel, I take a little different route, and what do I find? A pet store!
So, how much does a cat in Japan cost? 89,000 yen is roughly $900. How much is the little black and white doggie in the window? 139,000 yen is about $1400. The little black pug was even more at almost $1700 USD. They were all adorable little animals – but it definitely showed that pets were a terribly expensive luxury item. If you see a person with a pet of any kind – they likely spent almost a $1000 on even an average looking animal.
But onward. I was going to take a trip through the heart of downtown Tokyo, and visit something I was very keen to see. It involved, however, an interesting train ride out to Odaiba island in Tokyo bay.
I take the subway all the way to the waterfront, and then switch to the Odiaba loop rail. It’s much like airport trains you see in that it’s really a train with car wheels that runs on a monorail track. It goes over the Rainbow bridge to the island itself.
Does this picture look familiar? For those using Windows 8 – it should. The left shot is the exact same train line as the one on the Windows 8 desktop. In fact, it is the same rail line, just taken in the opposite direction off the bridge heading back into Tokyo. I thought of setting up my tripod/camera, but the train was full and so I just hand-held it. Nifty.
Anyway, I arrive at Odaiba island – and go looking for what I came to find…