Wherein the author finally learns to condense his posts
Wednesday up and anon, and to the Edo-Tokyo museum, which I had visited some four weeks previous. Being as how I wasn't gawking at everything I passed by this time, I was able to stop staring at everything and look around some. Ryogoku, the station the museum was next to, is Tokyo's center for sumo; although there are only tournaments three times a year, there are still posters and ads up even now. I looked through the parts I didn't catch on the first go-round, spent a few minutes in the gift shop, and went with Derek on my merry way.
Next stop (almost literally, subway-wise): Akihabara. And finally, I bought Mother 3. (For 2,500 yen, to boot; everywhere else had it for at least 4,000.) I found it at one of the hundreds of shops in the block immediately surrounding Akihabara Station. After talking with the shopkeeper to make sure that it was, in fact, a new copy, I handed him the (empty) box. Two minutes and a whirlwind of sleight-of-hand transactions later, I found myself down 2500 yen and up one copy of a video game I've been waiting for for ten years. I also bought Mother 1+2 (Mother 2 was known in America as EarthBound, but M1 was never released here) and some guidebooks. All in all, I spent about 7500 yen ($70 US) in one afternoon, but given that I've been fairly frugal up to now I'd say it's worth it.
Thursday our group went to a Maid Cafe, again in Akihabara. Maid Cafes are apparently the Next Big Thing in Japan; girls in maid uniforms come to your table, take your orders for ridiculously overpriced snacks and drinks, and act in a somewhat servantlike fashion. I found the whole experience rather underwhelming, but that was probably a good thing for my comfort level.
Then Derek and I (again) decided, after much deliberation, to jaunt off to Asakusa, one of the most historic regions in the city. Most of it's been taken over by small shops and vendors, but we still found Sensoji Temple, perhaps the most famous temple in the city. Of course, it had closed just before we got there and it was raining. I've learned to take this sort of thing in stride by now.
The grounds were still open, so we walked past the main temple, the main shopping street, the Five-Storied Pagoda, and a memorial to the great haiku poet, Basho. I'll probably try and go back at least once more before I leave, but given that we're leaving a mere two weeks for now, "before I live" is becoming an astonishingly smaller and smaller time. Today I called the Tokyo Police Museum for an in-class language project and listened to a fairly interesting speech on tradition and modernity in Japan, though it was two hours long. (Short version: just because you have tradition and modernity doesn't mean one has to take over the other. At least in Japan.)
This weekend we're off for Kyoto until Monday night (my time); I really doubt I'll be able to update again before this, but you never know.
Vending Machine Special: Mountain Dew