nimbus in japan

2

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.  

4

Remember when I said my washing machine was semi-automatic so I have to pour in the water myself?  LIES AND DECEPTION.

There is a separate knob for turning on the water flow.  It’s not ON the machine, it’s BENEATH the machine.  I decided to do laundry for the first time in 3 weeks.  And I thought, there MUST be an easier way.  Come the fuck on.  And then oh look.  A little dialy knob near my feet.  What if I turn it?  -hears the sound of water flowing into the washing machine-

-screams and falls on the floor-

Tash got to witness this firsthand.  Via Skype video.  Because I was trying to show her, oh look, look at my stupid washing machine.  Watch me fill it up manually!  And then… no.  NOPE.  Stupid is me.  Watch the washing machine fill itself. 

2

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.

5

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.  

2

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.  

4

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…

10

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.  :>

10

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.”

2

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.  

8

On this lazy Saturday, I thought that I would go for a nice bike ride.  After spending most of my morning lazing about playing Persona 3, figuring out how my washing machine ACTUALLY works, and chatting with Tash, I finally went out about 2 hours before sunset.  The beach is about a 20 minute ride from where I live, so I decided to go.  

It was great.  It was good to just get out, ride around, the wind in my face, and then when I got to the beach, I just felt really really calm.  The sun was setting, the breeze was fresh, and the sound of the waves was just really really nice.  As I walked up and down the beach, I discovered cosplayers!  About 30 or so of them, all spread out in small groups across the beach, cosplaying nautically themed animes.  I asked these 2 girls if I could take their photo when it looked like they were just about done with their photoshoot, and they were really really surprised at first.  Do people not usually take their picture?  Man, I don’t see why not!  

I chatted with them a little, it turns out that cosplayers go to the beach pretty much every weekend, because it’s a good location for photoshoots.  And there are enough nautically themed series to go around, so why the hell not.  I told them that I had done cosplay in America, and they were super super excited to hear that it was popular in the US too.  They encouraged me to do it in Japan too, to maybe come back to the beach next week, but I told them that I didn’t have my sewing machine, and that materials were in general a little too expensive here.  They made disappointed faces at me, but they kept encouraging me to try, and gave me names of cheap cosplay stores even.  They asked me what costumes I had done, and they were pretty much in love with every single one I told them.  XD  Man, if I’m ever just lazing about, I think I’ll probably go to the beach.  Cosplayers, great atmosphere, decent amount of exercise to bike there and back, why not?  

When the sun was almost set, most of them left, and then the beach was filled with mostly young couples.  I strolled away from the sand and the waves and walked a little further inland, discovering the Chiba Flower Museum.  I didn’t actually go in to the museum because I was getting pretty hungry, so I took pictures of the garden outside.  I imagine that might be a popular spot for photos too.  

Then it was dark so I headed back, did some grocery shopping, came home and ate dinner.  Oh, gotta hang my clothes out to dry.  Now that I’ve figured out my washing machine for real, maybe I won’t go 3 whole weeks between laundry sessions.  …maybe.