It’s never a good idea to go to Nagoya without a plan. At least it’s not a good idea for me. But I went anyway, because the idea of sitting around all day on a weekend just gnawed at me. And yes, once again, this weekend it’s raining. Argh!
Every week I’ve been in Okazaki, it seems like the weather pattern has been the same. It’s sunny and beautiful all week when I’m in class, it turns cloudy on Friday, and then it rains all day Saturday and Sunday. Expletive expletive weather. This has been going on for about 5 weeks now, and everybody is sick of it.
By everybody I mean me. Although I’m sure I’m not the only person who hates this pattern.
I slept in a bit this morning, and lazed around a little bit while trying to form a plan. What to do in the rain… what to do…
At around 2 p.m., I decided to just go out and do something in Nagoya, so I grabbed the 2:30 train out of Okazaki, and got to Nagoya around 3 p.m. Part of the plan was to get some of the money I spent on my new electronic dictionary back from Bic Camera, because the day I bought it, I found it for 10,000 yen cheaper, and it turns out that Bic slashed the price by 10,000 yen as well. So I decided to follow V-san’s advice and get that 10,000 yen back!
Flick My Bic
I headed over, and sure enough, after a bit of waiting and some shuffling of papers, I got my 10,000 yen back. They had to “sell” me a new one, and I “returned” my old one, and I lost a few points in the process, but I don’t really care. Cash is cash, and with the yen as hideously expensive as it is these days, I’ll take cash any day over points. 10,000 yen is about $120 these days!
Thanks, V-san! You saved me a ton of money!
And Bic, that was awesome.
In Japan, Skippy is in the Imported Food Store, Next to the Caviar
I did some strolling, and found a 5-story drugstore nearby… it looked impressive on the outside, but it was really cramped on the inside. I kind of got wrapped up in a quest to find Pepto Bismol, just in case… yeah, that was a total failure. Not gonna find that outside of Tokyo, I think. Maybe not at all.
Then I wandered around some more, and went to the back of the station, back around, and found a neat International grocery store, called Seijoishii. It’s kind of wedged in back behind the station, behind the Marriott. If you’re craving some goodies from home (i.e. not Japan), they may have what you want. I picked up some Ricola lemon-mint cough drops, because my throat has been killing me on-and-off since I had that cold a month ago.
This is Now a Blog About Me Buying Books… Or Trying to, Anyway.
Then I headed off to see if I could find Sanseido. It shows up in Google Maps, but after walking around the target building and not seeing anything, I gave up and went to Junkudou instead. I found some nice manly-looking cloth book covers there. I’ve been looking for some of those. When you buy books here, they always offer you the paper book covers, but I don’t like them. I wanted the cloth ones for a long time. Sort of like cloth vs. paper grocery bags.
After that, it was off to Sakae, to look around at the Book-Off there, because it’s big. Book-Off sells not just books, but all kinds of second-hand stuff, like jewelry, clothes, sporting goods, electronics… but mostly used books.
I found a bunch of used books on sale for cheap, so I nabbed them.
Then I headed up a stop to Hisayaodori to pick up a few more books. There’s this sci-fi novel series I want to read, and all of the books are about as big a phone books, density-wise. The nice thing about buying them at the store there is that I get freebies for buying them there, but they weigh a freakin’ ton.
I crossed the street to the Tokyu Hands in Hisayaodori to get a cloth shopping bag. I’ve been meaning to do this for a couple of weeks, anyway. The 25 pounds of books that are making my hands go numb have absolutely nothing to do with it.
Okay, it has everything to do with it.
I went up about 5 flights to the floor marked “bags.” No luck. Wrong bags. Up 2 more flights, to “kitchenwares.” All I see are bags that are very much not for me. Then I saw a Trader Joe’s bag.”Well, at least it’s a brand I know…” Then I look over and saw a Whole Foods Market bag, and just laughed, because I shop there in the US. The Whole Foods in Chapel Hill is one of the oldest stores in the chain. It’s been there forever, and before that, it was an independent store called Wellspring, and it was pretty popular even then.
The laugh was on me, though. 1200 yen for a $4 bag. Yeah, I felt like an idiot, but the Trader Joe’s bag was 1600 yen. And all of the other bags had stuff written on it in French, and were too small. No thanks. Give me that American size bag that I can stuff a car or a whole cow into!
It’s Even Carolina Blue!
I’m hungry. On my way to the bookstore in Hisayaodori, I had spotted a nice little restaurant called The Sun Room, in the underground passageway called Cenrtal Park at the Hisayaodori subway station. They serve a lot of organic food there, and some vegetables, I think. Turns out it’s a chain, but it’s fine by me. The spaghetti with mozzarella and asparagus in pesto was good, and cheap.
One thing about restaurants here that’s different from restaurants in the US, and that’s ordering. In Japan, you order everything through dessert up front, then your server never comes back. In the US, the server keeps coming back to make sure you don’t want to order another cow, or another giant tub of ice cream, or whatever. (Now I’m getting hungry again.) It’s something small that I need to remember to adjust to every now and then.
Now it’s 7:30, and I had to rush to Takashimaya at Nagoya Station in a hurry, before it closed, to buy a decent blanket. It’s getting cold, and I can’t run the heater at night without wrecking my throat. So I caught the subway, got to the station, hustled up 9 flights of escalators, and made it to bedding by 7:50. (Hey, I was impressed.) The store clerks helped me find a blanket on sale that would fit my bed that I could wash and hang up to dry without having to wait a month. (Woot.) It’s even Carolina Blue.
And it’s warm and fluffy.
And I did it all in Japanese. Pardon me while I hurt myself patting myself on the back.
After that, the store started closing, so the “Get Out!” music started gently playing, to gently tell us to “Get the hell out so we can clean up after you, then get a beer and go home before the trains stop running!”
But in a gentle way.
My Fellow Americans Make Me Want to Facepalm Sometimes. Okay, Frequently.
I decided to go get some Krispy Kremes on the way out. Hey, I had seen them in Sakae already, and I know there’s a Krispy Kreme at Takashimaya here in the station. Sure enough, there it is, and there’s the line. And there was an obnoxious American guy behind me, convinced that this line was just for Japanese people, and didn’t apply to him. He even got out of the line, walked to the counter, and tried to order.
Please dear God, when you go to Japan, don’t be that guy. The lines apply to you, too. You are not special because you’re an American. Get in line with everyone else and have some manners. I really wanted to give him a dope slap with my menu, not that it would make a difference. This is the same kind of guy who goes to a restaurant, orders off the menu, then gives them a bad review online when they can’t get it the way he wants it.
I hate that kind of guy.
Of course, by the time I got to the front of the line, they were out of the good doughnuts, so I got 2 chocolate crullers. I’ll take what I can get.
Then I went back to the international grocery to pick up the last few things. By now, I resemble a pack mule, carrying tons and tons of crap. But I managed to get some peanut butter (Skippy: sadly no JIF available), some more Ricolas, and some chocolate… the good stuff.
I just managed to make the 8:26 train back to Okazaki. The train ride was uneventful, but the bike ride home was… interesting. Juggling all that stuff was not an exercise I wish to repeat. The blanket was very big.
I have to keep unlearning shopping habits learned behind the wheel. If I want it, that means I have to schlep it home; there’s no trunk except my backpack.
Oh well. I have a big bag to carry it all in now!