Saturday, 31 May 2008

One Year In Japan

..and the coffee has finally run out.

Well. I've reached my milestone and I don't know what I was expecting. No fanfare. No blare of trumpets.

Just like last year, it's raining again. There was a plan to go drinking once more in Shibuya, but the chill from the rain has put an end to that idea.

Here I am sitting in the apartment contemplating my year up until now. My worst fear is repeating myself. There is nothing like the thrill of the new. There'll always be another summer's fireworks, autumn's leaves, spring's cherry blossoms, and winter's snow.

I'm hoping I can find some new things to get excited about. Japan has it's good and bad. A lot of things I thought about the Japanese have changed. I think they like to believe their own myths.

The food is great. Much better than I imagined it could be. I have met the kindest people, the worst people and I think I have a lot to learn about them,.. and myself.

Today I had a surprise meeting. A last goodbye for now. Kampai with an 8% STRONG Chu-hi!! It made all the difference to my day. Thanks for sharing a drink. Good luck.

If you ask me how long I'm going to be here, I can't answer that. Forever? Nothing lasts forever, nothing..

Saturday, 24 May 2008

I Love The Nightlife, I Love To Boogie

Tonight was a big night out with the boys in Shibuya.

There was a great turnout, including a friend I know from Brisbane who's only been in Tokyo for three weeks.

After first getting a drink from a combini, we started off in Tasu Ichi (aka. "Love Connection").

It's a small bar slightly erring to the side of more foreigners than Japanese, but it has a nice vibe and cheap 300 yen beers. Some J guys said they liked my shirt. It felt like an English lesson so I didn't talk to them very long. If it's a J girl I don't mind it at all. Hmm..

Once we had enough of there, we moved on to Club Atom.

It's strange that tonight, after almost a year of being here, I hadn't been to any nightclubs at all.

I'm glad I hung around and didn't catch the last train. I had a great time.
Club Atom is situated on the left side of Shibuya, walking past Shibuya 109 to the area commonly referred to as "Love Hotel Hill", where there are quite a few clubs.. and love hotels.

I paid a 2500 yen entry which is a bit much for me. I was a little perturbed that the security staff rifled through my wallet. I think that's quite a bit too invasive of my privacy. What are they looking for anyway?

There are three floors to the club.
The fifth floor is the largest main dance floor playing dance music. This was probably the least interesting room to me. I just felt kind of bored here.

I spent most of the time here on the sixth floor Hip Hop room. (There weren't the tables there that you see in the picture) This style of music is probably the most recognisable music you hear these days, so I knew almost all the songs the DJ played. The DJ was "spinning" tunes on a Macbook Pro!

I danced with two quite attractive Korean girls, that were on holiday in Japan for a few days. Their English was great, and I had a fun time dancing with them. One of the Japanese girls that tagged along with our group came up to me to dance and scared the Koreans away. Shame that. Probably a good idea anyway.

Finally I discovered the fourth floor psychedelic room. One of the other guys told me it was there. I thought it was the exit!

This was the room you come to get blissed out on heavy Trance/Techno tunes. Here, I was doing my most strange dancing, poking my hands through the smoke-machined air and laser lights. Big box, little box. Trippy!

It was a LONG night. Around 4:30am I stumbled out on the street with some of the others towards Shibuya station to catch one of the first trains of the morning.

On the train I sat next to an old man. At first I thought he was irritated that a foreigner had chosen to sit next to him, but he blurted out, "Nice to meet you too". Ok..

He continued with, "Are you American?", "Australia, nice people" and lastly, "Beautiful Japanese girls".

Yes they are.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Everything Is Blue In This World

Today had enough sun to warrant a road test of my new sunglasses.

Surprisingly I wasn't going cross-eyed with eyestrain with these babies.

So, my initial verdict is that these will do nicely. Everything is a cool shade of blue. The only thing that I'd say would improve the experience is maybe a cap to protect the rest of my face from the sun's harmful rays.

Kawasaki Today.

As usual, after work the footpath to the station had quite a few buskers. I think every second child in Japan must play a guitar, AND have the obligatory Crate or Roland busker's amp. The sad thing is none of the observers shell out any golden lucre for good performances.

What's the point? For the love of music? For the "chicks"??

Maybe. At least the second part possibly.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Playing Hockey With A Monkey

Another one to add to the LCD pile.

Direct from 1984, come on down Donkey Kong Hockey!



I picked this up in Shinjuku. I found this one by searching Rakuten, an online shopping mall.

Although I checked Google Earth for the location, it was a little tricky to find, being in a shop amongst residential housing. I was circling the area for ages before finding the small office/warehouse.

This one's in good condition, and it came with the original box and instructions.

The box is intact with a slight crease impression on the top, but all the flaps are ok. To me this is unimportant, but collectors are kind of anal about these things.

There does seem to be a few "water-like" marks in the LCD, and what looks like a tiny bit of hair under the glass (but it doesn't affect the game at all). I didn't notice when I looked it over. It was a little dark in the office. All the sprites are clear and the controls are good. There are no scratches and it's quite a fun game.

With a second controller, two can play! The controllers wind up inside the actual case. The battery cavity's a little tricky to get to. It's not one where you'd want to swap batteries all the time.

Basically it's Mario against Donkey Kong hitting a ball to score goals, while a referee appears to block and reverse play, and "crazy spots" (as they are referred to in the instructions) make the ball go in unexpected directions.

In a box I've seen this one go for large amounts of money. It's not too common to find. I think I was quite lucky to get hold of this one.

It was listed for around 5000 yen online, but I managed to get them to give it to me for 4000 yen. I'm pretty happy about that.

I had a really busy day today.

Another part of my mission was to go to the ward office to let them know of my visa extension, and update my gaijin card.

Unlike the Immigration Office, it was done in no time. I dropped into HQ to let them know my visa's good for another three years.

Finally, the last part of my mission was to search for good, yet inexpensive sunglasses.

Apart from one store devoted to sunglasses, it's a bit difficult to find them. Most of the department stores and smaller shops only had a few high priced pairs.

I chanced on one that I liked in Don Quijote in Kabuki-chō. They are "Men's Club" brand made in China.

They're polarised, and for 2000 yen it was easy choice. They have blue lenses, and are nice and dark (10% light transmission).

I didn't really get a chance to test them out seeing there wasn't much sun at all today but here's hoping they will do the job.

For what I paid it won't be a big loss if I don't like them. I think they were 99.9% UV protection. I just hope that 0.1% doesn't wreck my vision.

I got my headphones back today too, fixed from Yodobashi Camera.

For dinner we had Yoshinoya.

I picked up four cartons of mango nectar from YaMaYa, and TWENTY "Azuki Milk" from Marusho. They were on sale for 189 yen each. Crazy, that's like $40.

It's official, I'm insane.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Three Year Visa

You see this?

Yes, that's right. Three Year Visa!

That means that I can be here for three more years if I want.

From what I heard it's really up to the whim of whoever is processing the visa, but the usual is two one year visas and THEN a three year one is granted.

Of course I boasted to the other teachers. One who's Australian said, "F*&ckin' B***tard!!"

I had many things on my mind today. Not being least was my debacle with the sunglasses.

I had trouble sleeping last night and being awake at 8am, I decided to just get up and get the Visa unpleasantness (AND the possibility of refund unpleasantness) out of the way.

The Immigration Office was very busy today. Again, if you have to do this as well, arrive early.

While I was waiting I constantly willed the powers-that-be to give me a three year visa and somehow, with this jedi mind trick I managed to score one. I hid my excitement well, but inside I was joyous as you can imagine.

Luckily, after waiting a while I decided to get my ticket for the re-entry visa line slightly earlier. With a multiple entry visa as well, I won't have to visit this place for another three years, which suits me just fine.

All up I was there for a little over an hour. I had an extra queue ticket that I gave to a girl who would've had to wait much longer. If only for a little extra karma, I think it was a nice gesture.

After going back and forth whether to keep the sunglasses or not, I decided to just go back to the shop and try to exchange or refund them.

If I waited for Oakley to check the glasses, it might take longer than the store allowed for that.

I figured if another pair was suitable, I'd be ok.

At first they weren't keen to even exchange them, but after trying on the alternative I still wasn't totally satisfied so I asked for a refund.

It wasn't the most comfortable situation, but I have to say it's not just this place that are reluctant to give refunds. Just be sure that you'll be happy with what you buy, and maybe this won't be a problem. The only exception to this would be your big chains like Yodobashi Camera, where I don't think a refund would be that difficult.

After such a long day I was happy for station beers to come along.

At the combini they had some 8% STRONG lemon drink that I just couldn't resist. I bought two.

I bought what I thought was a nikuman, but it had no pork (vegetarian?) I was still satisfied because I was pretty hungry.

The gf SMS'd with an unusual request for pudding on the way home. I asked "Purin, wa doko des ka?" and a clerk swayed the shelf like a TV game show girl to point out the obvious.

Hey, I was pretty drunk by this stage.

I could have done all this tomorrow on my day off, but like the old man says, "Don't do tomorrow what you can do today". Good advice but me being lazy, maybe I should have done this tomorrow on my day off.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Tired Eyes

I've been shooting off emails to Oakley (US & Japan) trying to find out what the go is with my new glasses.

They were pretty quick with a response. Both said there is a possibility of lens distortion.

Oakley Japan is located in Ebisu.

They asked me to bring it in to test for defects and said it would take 2-3 days.

My dilemma is this. The shop that I bought them from will offer an exchange or refund only in a week. If Oakley find nothing wrong with the glasses, I have just wasted my time.

What if the sunglasses are just unsuitable for my eyes? I don't really feel like going out of my way to fix something like this. I'd rather be sleeping.

In other news, in Ginza it looks like Kimuraya have increased the 189 yen price of Anpan to 220 yen each.

I asked the girl in my bad Japanese ("Kore.. Anpan?") if what I had was the same anpan (it was in a paper wrap). She didn't speak English so I just went, "hmm.. ok" and bought them anyway.

I was on a real azuki craving. Sampleman made it worthwhile by eating as many samples on display as possible.

The train home is quite amusing.

At one point the train filled up every inch of the available space so much that I almost had a woman in my lap (yes, I was sitting). Shame she was a bit of a hag, but anyway. Can't choose these things.

I've finally changed my Homer "Doh!" ringtone to the NES Mario Bros theme. A change is not as good as a holiday.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Double Vision

Yet another detour to geek heaven, Nakano Broadway.

I decided to give a try to Nintendo Snoopy panorama screen (only click the link if you want to try the windows simulator), and a double screen Donkey Kong II.

Snoopy was 7,350 yen and not in the best condition. Some of the LCDs looked a little faded and the overall unit looked a bit worn. The gameplay was ok, but playing it didn't give me the goosebumps of playing Donkey Kong Jr again.

Donkey Kong II was a bit of a disappointment. For 2,100 yen I thought it could be a good bargain, but this was a little too used as well. The hinges and buttons were loose, the LCDs faded and the case was a little scratched too. Better off just playing the flash game of it linked above.

At least I saved my money. That's a good thing.

I really want to get at least Donkey Kong Hockey and Invaders Of The Mummy's Tomb. Then I'll stop.

Maybe.

Galaxy Invader 1000 IS calling me though. Hmm..

Some American geek boys were filming themselves happy that they got Galaga for 500 yen. Losers. I laughed on the inside, then thought to myself, "Just like me." Oh.

My new sunglasses are giving me a bit of trouble. For some reason they're giving me killer headaches. They seem to make it harder for me to focus on things further away. I don't think they're too dark.

I walked into the Bic at Tachikawa today where they had the same glasses. They gave me the same feeling too. Maybe it was because I was still dazed from wearing the ones I had coming here.

I tried their other lenses and none were any better. If it's any consolation, they cost 24,500 yen here so I got a great price.

I just wish I had my old sunglasses back.

Where are you?

Friday, 16 May 2008

Half Jacket Required

This apartment isn't that big. I looked and looked, and they were nowhere to be found. I've given up on my search for my sunglasses. I think I must have left them in Osaka.

So.. until the early hours of the morning I went on my exhaustive internet search for a new pair. In my sights were a replacement pair of Oakley's.

Going back many years I used to have a pair of Oakley Frogskins.

Actually two of them. The first pair I absent-mindedly left on a library shelf, and the second met an unfortunate end falling on the ground, and THEN getting scraped good with a door.

I was very mean to them.

Funnily enough, Oakley has decided to release a limited edition collection of these classic specs. In America, they have sold out completely, but here in Japan it looks like it's still possible to get them.

They were the first (and second) best sunglasses I've ever owned.

They had a bronze tint that was so dark, it was almost possible to stare into the sun without squinting (Not to say that I did. Just stating how good they were). Sadly, the ones they make today aren't as dark as my old ones, so I'm not expecting this new edition to be same either.

My two sources for cheap treats are Yahoo Auctions, and Kakaku.

Like eBay, Yahoo Auctions can be a little bit hit and miss. Most of the stuff is secondhand, and it's possible to receive non-genuine goods.

The better option is Kakaku. It's a price comparison site like Australia's Shopbot or Static Ice.

I often find many things MUCH cheaper than Yodobashi Camera or Bic Camera, THE stores when it comes to mostly electrical and household goods.

I wanted the darkest Oakley glasses so I settled on the 12-800 "Half Jacket" with Black Iridium lenses. They are polarised, so glare should be non-existent.

I paid 15,800 yen which is CHEAP. In Australia, these currently retail for $299.95! I got them from here.

Unlike a lot of internet-only shops, these guys actually have a shop-front in Okachimachi, near Ueno on the Yamanote line.

The actual shop was a little hard to find. The site name here is Liberta, but the actual name of the shop is Brad? Go figure.

Lucky I brought with me the actual street address, and the sunglasses model names I was after. The salesgirl had to call someone to get them out of the storage (No sunnies are actually on display).

Anyway, to cut a long story slightly shorter, I'm really liking my sunglasses. The sun doesn't come out all that often here, but when it does it's a blinder. If you're in Tokyo it's worth checking out.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Donkey Kong Jr's Come Home

Look what I have here!

This is Nintendo's Donkey Kong Jr (Panorama Screen). The memories from so long ago are slowly being reconstructed.

Out of the Panorama Screen series I think it's the best one.

It has the full directional pad, so the most control out of the lot. (Maybe Snoopy or Mario's Bombs Away would be others worth getting).

It's actually pretty hard to find. I DID see it in Nakano Broadway for 12,600 yen, but I baulked at paying so much. It's almost as much as a DS! These models get crazy prices up to 30,000 yen! I think it's easy to see why. The main difference to the usual Game & Watch series, is that these have vibrant COLOURED LCDs.

I bought it at Friends for 7,500 yen. It was 8,000 yen, but I managed to talk the sweet lady into giving me a bit of a discount. I gave it a go and it was like a shot in the arm taking me back to 1983!

The game was rated a C in condition by the store. It looks slightly yellow on the back (very slight), bottom half but apart from that everything looks great. Bright LCDs, no scratches and the controls are solid. What more could you ask for?

I was still racked with guilt for spending so much. Less so now that I'm writing this post though. She threw in the batteries in the "bargain".

Only a few more now to get. I'm sure my parents think I have lost it by now.

Arriving back home I found the postcard from the Immigration Office saying to come in for my visa renewal. Great News!

Finally, the Wonka chocolate has been opened for our enjoyment. There is some unwritten rule that things unopened will stay that way until upon opening, it will finish in no time.

Strange.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

What's Mine Is Yours

An English teacher colleague is leaving supposedly for greener pastures in two weeks.

One benefit for me is that he gave me his steel string acoustic for impromptu jams.

I think we are all envious of his new position. Being a great, down to earth person, I think he'll be missed a lot.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any great incentive to stay for a long period of time. This year I expect to pay a higher premium for my health insurance now that my yearly income has been established.

I did get a slight increase in pay, but it doesn't really make a substantial difference to my living arrangements. I believe that in a lot of English schools there'd be a high turnover of staff.

It's a bit of a shame as I genuinely like helping all my students in speaking English well. And, I'm actually enjoying it still.

Let's hope things might change.

With some things that I don't like about here, there's a lot to like about Japan.

Hey, thanks for the guitar!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Please Do It At Home

There are a few activities frowned upon on the trains.

Eating bentos, talking on the phone, listening to music too loud, and NOT sleeping, or playing a computer game of some sort. Ok, the last two I made up but everyone's doing it!

One thing that I find bizarre is watching young women putting on makeup.

I'm not talking about just a touch of lipstick, but the precise operation of putting on fake lashes which looks like an eye transplant.

Thank you to Japan Metro for doing something to spare us this ritual.

Hopefully there will be also posters of salarymen that pick their noses openly, or even one with someone making a platform pizza. Oh, it seems endless.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

When Headphones Go Bad

Yesterday my headphones decided not to work properly.

What was strange was that there was still music coming through but it sounded out of phase, like the bass and vocals were removed.

It seemed like I just got them yesterday too. A blog is useful to check these things. Here it is! Okay, 12th of July. Not so recent then.

Luckily I still have the box and receipt from way back then. Unfortunately the warranty is written in Japanese so I couldn't tell how long it was valid for. Looking online it said Panasonic's warranty was only six months (from an American website).

I thought I'd take it into Yodobashi Camera and try my luck if they'd still fix it.

I had some library items due in the next two days so I thought it'd a good time to bring them back as well. I played the catchers and lost, so I wasn't too pleased. I am REALLY trying to cut back on this.

Expecting Yodobashi to blow me off saying it was out of warranty, the guy just said take it to the basement where the repair section was. Sweet.

While I was there I decided to check out other headphones. Particularly the old retro "over-the-head" cans style.

There was a Kenwood KH-K1000 (Sound Meister Edition) ( Japan only) that i really liked for 29,800 yen. It has excellent overall sound with great sound imaging and deep, clear bass. One thing is, the cans are huge!

I liked a pair of Bose Triport headphones. These were cheaper at 19,750 yen. Some nice bass and a clear sound too. Probably not as good as the Kenwood ones, but they were a little more comfortable around the ears.

I've heard good things about UE in-ear phones, but they are a little pricey here.

I also got some more Don Simon juice from Yamaya as well. Almost got some Canadian Club or Smirnoff. Each bottle is 980 yen. That's amazing. Back home it was at least $25. Damn government taxes.

For now the best option is just to wait for my Panasonic headphones to be fixed, but what am I going to do in the meantime? I may have to wear my Rilakkuma headphones for now.

That should be interesting.

Oh, Happy Mother's Day, mamammy..

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Doh!

When you see a sign like this, how can you NOT take a picture of it?

Although my mobile ring-tone is Homer saying "Doh" thirty two times, I'm not a big Simpsons fan.

I'm always keeping an eagle eye out for an interesting pic or two. This one is outside the ticket gate at Tama Plaza.

Not a lot to say today.

I looked at two more LCD games. One was Bandai's Cross Country, and the other was Robot Maker from Takatoku Toys. Both were in average condition so I didn't buy either of them.

The sales clerk didn't allow me to put my batteries in to try them out so it took any thought to get them out of my head completely, which is probably a good thing.

I don't see myself as a collector, and I don't think the gf is really liking all my junk filling up her apartment. Initially I just wanted the games I had when I was a kid. I still don't have them all yet though.

The search continues..

Friday, 9 May 2008

Bandai Zaxxon

Ok, I can finally let you know what I bought from Yahoo Auctions. I'm sure it's a big surprise to tell you I got another video game.

What we have here is Bandai's version of Zaxxon.

If anyone remembers the original, it was a bitch to play because of the isometric, pseudo 3D view. This one's even more difficult because it's also in LCD black.

I guess I should thank Japan Post for actually delivering my mail this time. I guess it must've helped when I went into Shinjuku last week and registered a change of address from Tomioka.

I've heard stories of them not delivering mail because the name didn't match, even if it was just a middle name on the envelope and they just had it registered only first and surname!

Just remember if you move house here, let Japan Post know, or expect a lot of return to sender.

Anyway back to my review.

First impression out of the package was, "This looks kinda old".

Lately I've been spoilt by immaculate condition 80's games that are as pristine as they must have looked in 1982. While not as bad as some examples I've seen, this does have scratches on the screen as well as the back.

Not bad enough to effect play, but slightly disappointing. To be fair though, I paid a fraction of what a boxed, in great condition one would cost. What surprised me most was that this thing is pretty big compared to a Game & Watch that's for sure.

On the positive side, the controls work great and the LCDs are perfectly clear. All sound, although annoying, comes through loud and clear.

How is it to play?

Well, at first it felt like I was playing a game on a pocket calculator! Only one shot can be fired at once, so it's a little frustrating for it to actually hit something or fade away. Bombing does the same thing. You have to be on the ground level to fire them.

Having said that, after playing for bit longer now, I'm actually enjoying its quirks, and a space shooting game is a refreshing change from the usual, dare I say "samey" offerings of the other handhelds. An exemption, Neko Don Don, is my current fave.

What's truly impressive about this one is that there are two screens that gives a pretty amazing representation of a moving three dimensional environment. My favourite being the second "Death Star" canyon level. I didn't feel like posting a video. but you can see someone else playing it badly from here.

Now that I've tried Yahoo Auctions once successfully, I might have a new addiction on my hands.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Neko Don Don!

Ok, you guessed it (or you probably didn't), but I got a new 80's LCD game.

This time it's Neko Don Don! from a little known company called Takatoku Toys (I've never heard of them).

While it wasn't on my initial list of must haves, I tried the windows simulator here and had a great time. (It says you need some dll files, but it ran just fine extracted from the zip file).

Comparing the simulator to the real thing, the programmer did a great job. I just had a go now and the game-play is very similar, so if you're on a windows PC (or virtual machine) give it a go.

The example I bought was in absolutely mint condition, still in the box with all the inserts and instructions with strong LCD blacks.

I suspect the original owner left it in a cupboard for twenty six years without playing it at all, which maybe from a collector's point of view is justified, but to not play the games borders on criminal.

After station beers® with T & N, I couldn't wait till tomorrow and bought the required LR44 batteries to run the game from the 99 yen shop. (Actually 104 yen each for two. Apart from false advertising I was pretty pleased not having to wait until tomorrow).

This is one really FUN game. I'd say it's even better than the Bandai ones I have. So why did I buy it instead of just playing the sim?

I'm a big fan of old school things, and LCD is about as old school as it gets for computer games. Sure, if it was able to be played on my DS I probably wouldn't have got it and I'm definitely not going to power-up my laptop on the train just to play this.

So, for a night of beers this seems like money well spent.

Just to finish off, I want to thank the mothers for the sweets I got for teaching their kids. Yes, I work harder for food, AND I got notification for the special something from Yahoo Auctions.

Come to daddy..

Monday, 5 May 2008

Golden Sleep

This Golden Week has been one long sleep-in.

Last night I didn't get to sleep until sometime between 4am and 5am. I could see the daylight coming through the windows.

It's been a week of late nights and long mornings. The usual wakeup is 2pm. Not a lot of time to do much else.

Just like with eBay, I'm getting slowly addicted to Yahoo Auctions Japan. It's pretty useless for people outside of Japan as sellers rarely ship internationally.

I made a bid a few days ago. I'll keep you posted what happens with that.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Separated At Birth?

Take a look at this photo. Look familiar?

For some strange reason quite a few japanese people have said that I resemble Matsumoto Jun. The first time I had a look at this I thought I was looking in a mirror! The resemblance is uncanny.

It doesn't hurt that this person is a singer slash actor, thought of as a bit of a hunk in these parts.

My hair is curly and his is a little bit too. How some people could equate my clearly Italian features, with looking Japanese baffles me.

It could be worse I suppose.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Japanese Sorry

The gf has quite expensive taste.

For a special treat we stayed at the Cerulean Tower in Shibuya.

Our room was on the 33rd floor. The view from the window was fantastic.

In the picture you can see the Hachiko crossing outside the station, Harajuku, the immense Yoyogi park, as well the skyscrapers of Shinjuku in the background. VERY cool.



Run the mouse over the picture for a day and night effect!

Once settled in, we went up to the Executive Salon for some free snacks. Now, by snacks I mean we ate and drank the place virtually dry.

There was an assortment of delicious cheeses, chocolates, biscuits and cakes that we had ample servings of, as well as two Asahi, a Guinness and champagne. Nice.

From there I rushed a little drunkenly ahead of the gf into the heart of Shibuya to get to some shops before they closed.

I mainly wanted to get that Red Bazooka t-shirt I've been mulling over for quite a while.

The sales girl spoke good English. She wouldn't let me try on the actual shirt. She allowed me to try a sample of another shirt to get the size right. It felt a bit awkward taking off my shirt in the middle of the store, but at least I was the only customer there at the time.

She was really helpful. I was deciding between small and medium. I've lost a lot of weight in Japan so I was a little worried getting a shirt that I might grow out of quickly.

In the end I got the smaller size anyway as it looked more "fitted" than the other one.


It's a cool shirt. It has "Japanese Sorry", with a samurai performing Seppuku, on himself. On the reverse it has "Please use it whenever you like". Hover the mouse over the picture to see both sides. For 3360 yen, a good buy don't you think?

At another store nearby they had a sale. Two shirts for about 2000 yen. Some of them had the craziest undecipherable English.

They had dressing rooms, but they wouldn't let me try them on. Huh? No sale, SEE YOU. I'm not buying anything without trying it on first.

The next morning we had a nice breakfast, again in the Executive Salon. I tried to eat as much as I could and I think I succeeded.

To my thinking it's strange to stay in a hotel when I'm living in the same city. Having said that, it was a more than nice little outing for both of us.

Thanks gf.