My day was all about achieving as much as I could while doing as little as possible. The main quest; finally finding a power cord to charge this laptop while I’m here in Japan. After organising dinner plans with my new friends here at the hostel I set out into the shopping world of Ueno in order to find this illusive cord. I had read and heard that Yodobashi camera store would be the place to go, that was spot on. Within a few minutes, and some poorly structured sentences in Japanese I held in my hand the prize I had been seeking since arriving. It was about 400 yen so I can’t complain about that either. I know a lot of the Americans I have met have complained the shopping is expensive here, but it’s nothing like that for me…this place is a bargain most of the time. It reminds me a lot of Singapore in that the dollar itself doesn’t help, but the products are sold a lot cheaper than in Australia.
After buying the cord I had the first of my socially awkward situations of the day. These are always my favourite travel moments, because I don’t really care that it happened, and I always laugh when looking back. So I was trying to order a Latte at the little french based cafe at Ueno station. This wasn’t what you would call successful as my Japanese didn’t carry me through, she didn’t speak french, and for some reason Latte didn’t really register with her what I wanted. She was also too short to point at the menu board so that I could either nod or shake my head so in a strange turn of events I walked into their cafe, stood behind the counter and proceeded to point out what I wanted. This wasn’t unnoticed by a packed cafe of Japanese onlookers who were a combination of mortified and entertained. I just had to laugh.
By foot I headed from Ueno to Akihabara which is the technology hub of Tokyo. Seriously from anime, to games, to this weird maid cafe set up it has something for everyone and then a little left over. Cruising the streets was an experience in itself but going into these buildings is another thing entirely. The first place I visited was a gigantic card store which interested me because in my youth I did love Pokemon (still adore Pokemon) and Yugioh cards and this place was wall to wall collectors items. Utterly mind blowing the sheer quantity of cards in this place, and it was one of probably hundreds in the area.
Next up was a visit to a Sega building which as I quickly learnt was all about the arcades. Now cameras were strictly forbidden but I did manage to snap this video of a guy crushing some hand version of Dance Dance Revolution
He was the best of everyone there – 98% but still annoyed with himself.
Then it was down past the maid cafe. I honestly didn’t understand what that was about. I thought it was prostitution and figured that it was just a ‘thing’ here. I’ve since learnt that it’s more a master and servant thing but no touching. That’s gotta be a lot of sexually frustrated young men coming out of that cafe.
Speaking of sexually frustrated I was thrown out of a dvd/porn shop. Now, unlike the arcade where I knew cameras weren’t allowed, I was unaware that taking a selfie here would be so naughty. It started when I walked in. It was a total sensory overload inside this shop. So many bright visual displays and almost every single possible speaker was playing a different and rather loudly annoying song or show and it honestly discombobulates you to the point where you get a bit dizzy. Which makes the fact that I could not fit down the aisles without scrunching up and narrowing my shoulders/bag/hips/everything even more dangerous. This had to be documented, and one selfie later I was back on the streets as a very unimpressed Japanese man ushered me out.
Totally worth it.
Something I’ve been wondering is if Sumo’s are so admired here then why do they not accommodate with larger things…ever. Small toilets, low roofs/doorways, very narrow shopping aisles, never anything in XL, and I’m sure many other things wouldn’t make being a Sumo easy in this country. These are the things that fill my head…
After shopping and publicly humiliating myself a few times I decided that it was time to get back and get up to date with my blogs. That filled my afternoon out and dinner quickly came around. A quick train ride back to the Ueno area had a bunch of us going out for 100 yen sushi train and my stomach has never been so happy. I must have had every type of Salmon on the menu. It was unbelievable.
Resting my food baby with everyone at the hostel filled up the evening and card games and beer carried us through till 3 in the morning. I have to say that solo travelling so far has been a wonderful experience. The first few days of total solo adventuring were great and now I’ve calmed down on that front to fill my days up with hanging out with some terrific people. It’s a little early to claim that it’s fantastic for me, but so far so good.