Alright, here come the day-by-day posts. It takes me a long time to do each post, so I will only post one day at a time. In the meantime, there’s always the summary below this post.
Before leaving, we went up to a shop in the Transit Center to get snacks for the trip. There I found Marias, these cookies/crackers. I had been thinking of bringing Marias as omiyage, but decided against it given how fragile they are. It was surprising to find them, and I bought a pack. These Marias are from Portugal.
We left Fukuoka around 7PM via overnight rapid bus. The bus ride took 14 hours. The older gentleman (or as I say, that ojiichan) in the seat in front of me didn’t turn off his light until midnight, and even then, he opened the curtain! I can’t sleep sitting up or even reclining anyway, but it was somewhat annoying. In the evening they played some boring movie, but in the morning they played 「犬と私の１０の約束」, or, Ten Promises to My Dog. It’s a cute movie; really sad.
When we got to Tokyo, we hopped on a train and went to the hotel, the Hotel Mystays Ochanomizu. It’s really close to Akihabara Electric Town, affordable, and comfortable. We checked in, dropped our stuff in the room, and had breakfast at the nearby Spanish-themed restaurant El Chateo del Puente. I had a dish that was called…something or other manchego. (Manchego = Spanish sheep milk cheese.) I don’t remember, but it was good!
WARNING: This post is about to get really GEEKY really fast! If you can’t handle it, go do something that proves how much of a non-geek you are.
After breakfast, we headed on a train for Shibuya to go to the Square-Enix Character Goods Show Case. Yup, that again. I got two chibi Sephiroths, an umbrella with various Final Fantasy critters like Mog and Cactuar on it, and took a better picture of the life-size Sephiroth statue in the floor there.
After the SE Store, I happened to spot the Soccer Shop Kamo and went in to see what they had. ^_~
Then, we went to Harajuku to walk around and see all the people in the crazy Harajuku fashion. There weren’t too many people in extreme clothes. Then again, there were soooo many people there that it was hard to distinguish one for the other. It’s the closest thing to the Castlevania boss Granfalloon that I’ve ever seen.
Next, we walked around Shibuya in search of the famous 109 (sometimes pronounced as “ichi-maru-kyuu,” meaning “one-o-nine”) building, where all the trendy girls shop. There is now a 109-2 building across the street from 109 with shops for men. Their website linked above has a few sections in English. The intersection in the photo below, like many major intersections in Japan, is a six-way crosswalk. That is, when the lights turn red, they turn red on all sides for cars, and pedestrians cross the streets in all directions.
We had lunch in a restaurant inside 109. I was surprised to learn the girls who shop there eat. *rimshot* Anyway, the Italian city of Genoa is written in Japanese as ジェノバ (“jenoba”), which is the same way that Jenova (Sephiroth’s “mother”) is written, so when I saw ジェノバ風えびスパゲッティ (Genoa-style shrimp spaghetti) I had to eat it! ^o^ It was green too!
After dinner we went to Akihabara. Akihabara is known as the tech and nerd capital of Japan. Well, of the world really. ^o^ There’s plenty of stores for all your gamer/otaku/pervert needs. (If you’re the only girl in the shop, you should probably leave.)
As we walked around, we happened to see a Kotobukiya, a store that makes and sells various model kits, figurines, and other fandom goods. I picked up a Lightning (the protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII) clear file to add to my Pretty Clear File Collection, as well as a Rosch Elixir to finally have 8 Elixirs (enough to be entered in the drawing for FFXIII stuff or a PS3).
After that, as we were walking about, there were many young women out in the streets promoting various maid cafés. A maid café is a café where all the waitresses dress as maids, call patrons ご主人様 (goshujin-sama, meaning “Master”), and act super cutesy. The second girl who gave us a flyer led us to the café. They serve a bit of diner type food, but also lots of sweets. My friend tells me that girls go to maid cafés because they think it’s cute and/or funny. Since I don’t know much about all the different types of maid cafés, rather than give the impression that they’re all the same, I will leave this link to a blog post on Akibanana reviewing the MaiDreamin franchise: To Akibanana!
Anyway, there was a 500 yen minimum table charge, and one drink minimum (it didn’t have to be alcoholic). We both got parfaits. The parfaits came with a choice of commemorative photo or game time, which I assume means the maid will play some cutesy little game with you. You can’t take photos of the maids with your own camera, but you can buy photos that they already have printed, or get the food items that come with the chance to take a picture with the maid of your choice.
Like the maids, all the sweets were put together to be as cute as possible. When it came time to take a picture with one of the maids, I had wanted to take a picture with one of the cooks, but I said the wrong name. The girl who came out didn’t seem too pleased. T_T Oh well. They draw a heart and write the name of the maid over all the photos. I would put it up here if I had a scanner, but since it’s just about 2 x 3 inches, if I took a picture of it it wouldn’t come out right.
Two patrons paid for the “15 Minute Dream Time,” which included the maid bringing this to everyone’s attention, lowering the lights, popping open a bottle of champaign, and proceeding to have everyone in the bar (maids and patrons) make the champaign more delicious with magic. The magic consisted of putting your hands together in a heart shape and saying “moé moé kyuuun!” The maids also had patrons do this “spell” on their own drinks.
After that, we went back to the hotel.
~End of Day 1~