This side of Nagasaki (day 4.5)

I finally made it back to my room, giftless and tired, with two hours remaining before our next installment of eating and drinking. I was looking forward to just relaxing in the bath but, when I checked my email… bling-o! blong-o! … American Jeff IM’d me to see how I was getting on.

yamanoteI told him about my giftlessness and he told me I should go to Akihabara, a mecca for people in search of dolls or miniatures of their favourite anime characters. It’s only four train stops away on the Yamanote line, he said. I can easily make it there and back in two hours, he said. I can do that, I thought.

I walked down to Shinbashi Station and encountered my first problem. The map was all in Kanji:-(

There was a red you-are-here marker and I knew that Akihabara was 4 stops away. But which direction?!

I had a map in my pocket which had both Kanji and Romanji, and, once I found Akihabara on my map, I matched the symbol to the one on the wall. It was like playing an Alternate Reality Game in actual reality!

inuyashaWhen I arrived at Akihabara, I had the same problem x10 because all the shops were in tall buildings and the building directories were all in kanji. The first shop I went into had every anime character ever made – except Inuyasha, and the second one had one pathetic little Kagome.

The third store had a single, tiny Inuyasha for Â¥1500 – and many , more grown up characters in rather interesting poses. Those characters will probably never make it to America and, even in Japan, modesty required little bits of sticky plastic to cover up the naughty bits.

I searched the remaining seven thousands stores – which is an adventure when you can’t read the signs on the doors – you never know what you are going to find! – but no-one had any Inuyasha.

By now, I was almost late for my dinner meeting so I resolved to go back to the first shop, get the little Kagome and call it a day. But, while I was buying that, I decided to ask about Naruto too.

They had hundreds of Naruto. They even had a big bag containing a variety of characters. The bag didn’t have my favourite character – the rather attractive, well-endowed lady ninja – or Dylan’s favourite, but my Japanese wouldn’t stretch to “Do you have the woman with the blond hair and the big bosoms? Or the dude with the dog called Akamaru”. I thought about making the international symbol for woman with large breasts but I was worried that he’d send me back to one of those other shops and, besides, I was already late for dinner. I decided to quit while I was ahead and set off back to the hotel for my next culinary adventure.
I won’t tell you all the gory details. Suffice it today that it was, once again, marvellous and had some relation to my need for a bucket the next day. The only extraordinary detail – if you consider outstanding Italian food, wine, grappa and being crammed in a little tiny bar that only accepts one coin as ordinary – was the fact that we ended up having more noodles at 3am.

noodles at 3am

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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