Nimbus-meets-Nihon

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The first pic is from the actual butler cafe website because pictures inside are forbidden.  But we can get a personalized fruit tart.  The limit was 20 characters.  My friend and I decided to be clever.  

This SHITsuji be cray

Trying to explain it to the butlers who presented it to us on a fancy tray was the most amusing thing I’ve had to do in a long time.  

Oh butler cafes… they’re a lot more fun and more worth your money than a maid cafe in a lot of ways.  I pouted because I wanted a megane butler.  But you can’t win ‘em all.  

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On another cold and windy, miserable day (god I love winter), I went for a walk around Shibuya.  My goal was to find the XXXHolic cafe, but I was thwarted by a private party that rented the cafe out for the entire friggin’ day.  Oh well.  Better luck tomorrow, I supposed.  

I did find a Disney castle and had lunch at the Loft cafe.  Their mascot is a bird thing… so they brand their burgers with it.  It’s… sort of cute?  It’s also why there’s egg in basically everything.  And that made it less cute.

I also spent a good hour in Tower Records listening to music samples.  Rediscovered Miyavi.  Love his new single, Ahead of the Light.  

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On a nice day where it was actually a bit warm, I went to Tokyo Tower.  I expected to see the Japanese skyline riddled with giant power rangers mecha fighting godzilla while magical girls raced across the sky and Mt. Fuji erupted in the background, but instead I just got these buildings.  

I ate at the top floor cafe, looking down upon the puny peasants as I downed my chilly strawberry parfait.  Then I took the wrong subway line and ended up in Ginza, decided to wander, got bored of the high couture shops (not nearly as fun as the shops in Harajuku and Shibuya), and wandered back to Shibuya.  

In the evening, I opted to see Les Miserables finally.  And for 1800 yen no less.  God, movies in Japan are stupid expensive.  But it was worth it?  The movie was fantastic, I was bawling ugly tears, making the people next to be uncomfortable, and left the theater with swollen red eyes and slightly smeared makeup.  I was walking back home when a Japanese man tried to hit on me with the LAMEST pick-up line.

“Did some asshole make you cry?”  

And I was like… what just… did you really just… and I legitimately laughed aloud at him.  I couldn’t believe what he had just said to me.  He then smiled, and said.

“See, you look better smiling.  Let me buy you a drink.”

I politely declined, and explained that I had just gone to see Les Mis.  He said,

“Oh… well I’ll still buy you a drink.”  

But I refused again and kept walking home.  

Oh Japan… I can’t believe you tried to use such a lame pick-up line on me.

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The second day, the XXXHolic cafe was a success!  The lighting is really bad for taking cellphone pictures though, so all of these are tinted horribly.  I got this fizzy blue and purple alcoholic drink, and caramel smothered banana pancakes.  

The decoration was really nice.  Combined with the lighting, it gave the cafe a really nice atmosphere.  I also got special XXXHolic coasters for ordering from their special menu, and my waiter was cute.  

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Another day in Ikebukuro with Nami.  It’s more or less our hang-out spot of choice.  This time we got sushi for lunch, and then she bought some tea from the Swallowtail patisserie, then we wandered around Sunshine City.  

This stupid mall has… a small cat-themed amusement park inside of it (for some reason, the music was Frosty the Snowman), along with a rooftop aquarium and planetarium.  It took us way too long to find the elevator to the aforementioned aquarium and planetarium, and then the line was stupid long and they were shouting that tickets might be sold out by the time we got to the top.  

Afterwards, we got astrological parfaits at a cafe called “Milky Way.”  She got the Virgo parfait because she’s a Virgo, and I got the Aries parfait because I’m a Libra, but the Libra parfait wasn’t as exciting.  

Of course we did purikura, nearly killed ourselves laughing because of stupid faces and poses.  And without fail, we did karaoke too.  I was really feeling the 90’s vibe of my childhood because I’ve recently been watching Hunter x Hunter with Tash.  So I sang some Yu Yu Hakusho, some Hunter x Hunter, Sailor Moon, it was great.  

It was super freezing and WINDY AS HELL at night, and I had worn shorts because the afternoon high was a beautiful 71.  But then the weather turned on me like an asshole.  

Now there’s only one week left here in Tokyo~  What else to do…

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The Nakagomi bros and i returned to Odaiba a week later, determined to see Palette Town, the start of our epic Pokemon adventure.  This time we went to Venus Fort, which looks like a dingy warehouse from the outside, but inside, it’s a shopping mall made to look like Venice.

There was even a fake sky ceiling that changed colors from dawn to dusk, etc… and there were hanging lights everywhere that sometimes simulated rain.  There was a fountain plaza, with a giant fountain that played a light show every so often, and a church plaza, with a fake chapel that was only a wall relief (you couldn’t go inside).  

Inside Venus Fort, we found a Chinese Hot Pot restaurant that was made to look like a Triad hangout?  It was 2 stories tall, but the first floor was made to look all dingy and run down, you had to go through an alleyway and up a creepy flight of stairs… I guess they wanted to make you feel like you had slipped into the back alleyways of the slums of Shanghai or something… And then on the second floor, it was a nice restaurant with a terrace view and a stern man in a suit greeted you and took you to your table.  I’m talking mafia suit.  The whole time we were eating, we kept wondering if maybe there weren’t shady Triad deals going on in the kitchen where we couldn’t see… I really am not sure what vibe they were going for.  If they wanted creepy Chinese mafia vibe, they got it down.  

Wandering around the other side of Odaiba, we walked across this huge bridge, 夢の大橋.  Literally just means Big Bridge of Dreams.  It was so wide and open and free and all I wanted to do was just run up and down the bridge, skipping and jumping, because I haven’t been in a WIDE, OPEN space in too long.  

Then I nearly tripped on some loose tiles and saw that they had marked it off with some painter’s tape and a half-assed sign.  Really Japan?  Is that how you fix things?  You can’t even muster some Duct Tape for that shit?  

We also found the Odaiba Joypolis, and Aqua City, and found a good vantage point to take pictures of Rainbow Bridge, and I found these polar bears crying from the cold.  Because that makes sense.  For polar bears.  I wanted to cry with them too.  

Oh, and Wonka Splooshberries in a store of random knick knacks.  They were quite splooshy and good.  Good loot for the day’s trip.  :>

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On a slightly warmer but STUPIDLY windy day, I went with my friends (the Nakagomi brothers) to Odaiba!  Unfortunately, we went on a day where nearly everything was closed for some unspecified reason, so we couldn’t see Palette Town or ride the ferris wheel.  Well, rather, the rainbow ferris wheel was closed since January.  Won’t be reopening until the end of March, so that’s something I’ll miss out on.  -sadface-

We did find the giant Odaiba gundam, took pictures in front of it (I’ll admit their picture is way cooler than mine), then had cream-filled gundam-yaki at the gundam cafe.  It was actually super delicious.  Who knew gundams would be so tasty?  

We wandered around for a bit, found the place where the digidestined defeated Myotismon Fuji TV Headquarters, and I bought a box of GIANT Rainbow Pocky.  Odaiba is connected to the main Japanese island by a big Rainbow Bridge, so rainbows are the theme here.  

But we couldn’t kill too much time in Odaiba with everything closed, so we also went to Ikebukuro, where this time, I took them to a different cat cafe than the one I went to with Diana.  Personally, I liked this second one more.  There was more open space and toys and just a general feeling of… come here to enjoy the cats.  The previous one was more like a cafe reading space which happened to have cats.  

Dinner was at TGI Fridays, where we got dinner AND a show because we came just as the bartenders were doing a show of juggling bottles and cups and making the most elaborate mixed drinks I’ve ever seen.  They were nice too, and the drinks were awesome.

Just some of the things you might see while walking around Omotesando. I don’t know who he was, why he was there, but he was super genki and jumped around a lot.  My secret hope is that he’s not officially there for anything, he’s just a man who owns a giant foam suit and goes out in public sometimes to confuse people.  

My friend Scott and I had been wandering around Omotesando and Shibuya that day to look for gifts.  In particular, gloves.  Which shouldn’t have been so hard to find given the prevalence of cold weather, but it took us several hours and only two places had any decent selection.  

There was one point, a couple of hours in, where we had gone a really really long time without seeing any gloves.  Scott suddenly jumped and popped into a store.  I called after.  “Did you find gloves???!”

He came back with slumped shoulders.  “They were socks with toes.”

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On a cold, snowy day… when sane people stay indoors and don’t venture out… I decided to go for a walk to Meiji Jingu Shrine.  It was eery and peaceful because there were basically no people, but that has a certain charm about it too.  

Not being a particularly religious or spiritual person, I didn’t make an ema myself, but I read through some of the others that people hung up. Some were cute, some were silly, most were exactly what you’d expect: good luck in school, work, love…

Before I went home, I went to a ramen shop because hot noodles on a cold day is the best.  A group of Japanese guys were sitting behind me, discussing English and how to pronounce it properly.  They got stuck for fifteen minutes on how to say “shorts.”  I tried really hard not to laugh every time.  

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My friend Diana came to Tokyo for a weekend, and we planned to meet up bright and early Saturday morning to hang out~!  It had been a long time since I last saw her, so I was really happy and glad to see that she’s doing OK.  She’s teaching here in Japan too, just several prefectures away.  

We decided to go to Ikebukuro, most just sit and chat, catch up.  We spent some time at a cat cafe, wandered around the anime shops to find a gift for her little sister, and I took a picture of this “eye mirror” place.  It’s a glasses shop.  But it’s staffed by butlers.  So it’s a megane-shitsuji thing.  And I couldn’t really process it.  I could understand a cafe staffed by megane butlers.  But this was just a glasses shop.  

The second picture is a view of Sunshine city taken from one of the top floors of the Animate building across the street.  

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I have noooot been updating this blog about what I’ve been doing in the month that I have free to wander around Tokyo.  I moved into a Sharhouse/dorm in Harajuku.  One of my first nights there, I took a walk around after the sun went down, trying to get a feel for the area.  

I found a Starbucks rooftop terrace, a mirror-crazy entrance to a mall, ridiculous car drive by on its way to Akihabara no doubt, and finished the evening with some Japanse TV.  Weird as usual.