I got a late start on the day, probably because the fatigue is catching up to me. When I look at all I’ve done in the last few months, it’s a little mind-boggling.
Today I went to Asakusa, and to Senso-ji for the Battledore Festival.
It sounded great from the flyers, but I didn’t see anything really special going on there. There were some extra stalls open, and some of the usual festival stalls selling the usual festival food. I used the chance to buy souvenirs for people, and took a few photos.
I went to the omikuji stand and this time I pulled a daikichi! 大吉, which means “big luck,” or “best luck.”
There are two ways to look at this.
1. Yay, I’m gonna be reaaally lucky! (A typical Western view, and somewhat typical in Japan, too.)
2. I better work hard to work off the inevitable bad karma that will come with “great luck.” (You hear this in Japan sometimes.)
I got a talisman for general safety, in case 2 comes true.
On the way back to the station, I found a taiyaki vendor. I love taiyaki, so I looked at the menu, and made a great discovery– chocolate taiyaki! Someone finally listened!
It was awesome.
Yeah, I know. They made it especially for us non-Japanese tourists who aren’t fond of sweet bean paste. And for that consideration, I thank them!
I don’t mind sweet bean paste, but give me a choice, and I’ll take chocolate just about every time.
Do Not Eat
After the good food, I decided to go to Kappabashi to get some plastic food.
There are some really neat stores there, selling all kinds of cool kitchen stuff. I could easily drop 10 bills there on knives alone, but I didn’t.
I bought some platic food instead at Satou Samples. I liked the donut “covered in glass powder.” Looks like sugar, tastes like broken glass. Yeah, don’t eat it!
I wandered around a bit, then found a station nearby.
Here are a few photos from Kappabashi.
Covering Sounds You Didn’t Even Know You Wanted to Cover
Nature called. Who am I to ignore the call of nature?
I had an encounter with the oddest toilet so far. They’re right there on the platform at this station, which is kind of handy. You can hear the trains come and go as you do your business.
And I found a rarity for me in a Tokyo train station– an actual Western-style sit-down toilet.
I haven’t gotten to the odd part yet. Now I will get right to it.
When I went into the stall and started taking off my backpack and jacket, it started agressively playing this “rushing water” noise to cover up whatever wretched noises I making… taking off my jacket, I guess?
Then when I finally sat down to get around to making some wretched noises, it was already done, and fell silent, which apparently made the machine feel kind of awkward after about 5-10 seconds.
So it started back up again.
I headed back to the hotel, grabbed a sandwich at a station on the way, and took a one-hour break.
Recharged, I headed out to Jinbocho, and looked at a bunch of used books in a bunch of different stores, but didn’t see anything I liked. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun, though! Jinbocho has a lot of great used book stores if you’re looking for used Japanese-language books.
On the way to the station, I found a neat stationery store called Bunboudou, that was selling some really useful 書道 stuff, like a booklet on how to carve seals. That will come in really handy.
I also found some nice book covers for my mom, who likes to use book covers when she’s reading in public, and sometimes in private, too.
And of course plenty of postcards. Really nice ones.
I was starting to feel a little crummy, so I headed back to the hotel to rest for a bit.
Recharged again, I headed across the tracks to Tokyu Hands in Takashimaya Times Square for more souvenir shopping.
I bought more Nanoblocks as souvenirs for some of my friends (and myself!), and some Rirakuma stuff for my goddaughter. (M-Sensei at Yamasa is a huge Rirakuma fan.)
They had an amazing collection of Stuff I Can Adhere to My Cell Phone to Make It Look AWESOME. I was sorely tempted for a few minutes, I have to admit, but I decided in the end not to. I like my Nexus One clean after all. Maybe next time!
Then I headed up to the 11th/12th/13th floors in search of dinner. They have a lot of restaurants on those floors of Takashimaya Times Square in Shinjuku. I recommend it if you’re looking for a good restaurant.
I found a really nice soba shop with an awesome view of the various Shinjuku stations called Sou Hon Kei (I’m sure I butchered it), and they had a cute Christmas dinner special for 2000 yen.
I love fresh soba. Their soba was delicious, and the view was fabulous. I was revived!
I went back to the hotel after all of that and crashed for the night.