Ebisu is south of Shibuya and is supposed to be the home of more than one beer company. I was getting there too late in the day to get into the beer museum (alas, another time) but I still wanted to see if the area had much to offer. Sadly, it really doesn't. A few interesting shops exist there, including one that specialized in american toys (including a scale model of the TK robot from Robocop) but aside from them there was little of interest. Walked around to see if I could find anything that jumped out at me for food and finally decided on a place with lots yakitori. Ordered a bunch of yakitori plates and a beer to go with it. The beer was actually very good. Not much of a beer drinker normally outside of the Skittlebrau Project but this beer was decent. Went well with the food too. Also managed to make a mistake at the end of the meal. I turned to the waiter and asked for the bill. When he brought me another mug of beer I remembered that I used the English word "Bill" and that word sounds very similar to the Japanese term for beer, "Biiru". Oh well, I pounded the beer down and then, remembering the proper term for the bill, paid my large tab and headed back out. I consulted my atlas and discovered that it would actually be a much longer walk to Shibuya than the one from Roppongi to Shibuya. Also didn't want to be walking around in the cold, when the city is overcast and with beer going to my head. I must be getting weaker and weaker with respect to alcohol. Then again each mug was about a liter.
In any event, it was best for me to take the train to Shibuya instead of trying to walk. When I finally arrived I wandered over to Mandarake with the beer in full effect. Wasn't drunk mind you, but it was less coordinated than my usual clumsy self. Lots of neat toys but nothing overly new that I really wanted. I suppose that's the trouble with a place that sells a lot of used and random goods; the selection changes slowly. I did notice a Doujinshi on the table right next to all the porn ones with picture of a very muscular and dangerous looking Mario. I was tempted to buy it just for the sake of the cover but decided against it. I can always go back another time and get it. This time I actually left Mandarake without buying anything (heresy!) and hit up the crepe place that is just above it. Ordered a Tiramisu crepe and was suprised when I discovered that they used raspberry syrup instead of chocolate, but then I looked more closely at the plastic model and sure enough, the syrup was supposed to be raspberry. It was still a decent crepe dispite not liking the raspberry flavor.
Headed over to the 50 yen arcade to squander some cash in a poor attempt to regain my lost gaming skills. On the way over I saw the usual rouges gallery of people that usually hang out in the area. Plenty of girls with spray on tans, sliver makeup and awful jewelery in skirts too short for the weather and heels too tall for Tokyo. There were the menu hawking guys trying to get customers into their resturants and the black guys dressed up in full thug gear, physically pulling men into their stores. The diehard nampa guys were hard a work, trying to get girls. Why do I meantion all of this? This place is strange and has an odd effect on those who aren't native to it in that over time you become accustomed to this and things become normal. I only realized how much I'd become numb to these things when I was walking around tonight slightly buzzed. When it takes alcohol to make you realize how messed up some things are, you know you've gotten lower on the totempole.
Anyways, got to the arcade and squandered some cash playing mostly shooter games but a few adventure games as well. Did poorly on all of them. I wanted to play the Time Crisis machine but after the last time with poor calibration I didn't want to waste the cash. I did find an older Time Crisis machine and played that for a while, getting a good distance into the game on my one credit. Part of me has succumbed to the belief that you should try to complete games in one credit. Japan really does rub off on you. Continued playing and watching for a while until I was tired of this arcade and headed over to another one. It was mostly empty and the games are really lacking in diversity. It's only fun if there are people playing games. Not too suprising to find the place mostly empty on a Sunday evening, especially since it was close to 10pm. By this time I was tired and ready to head home, so I took the trains and got home around 10:15pm. I had thought about going back to the public bath house but after I sat down on my futon I just felt too tired to walk all the way over there just to get completely relaxed and then have to walk back. Not like it is a long walk but trust me, after that scalding hot water your muscles feel like jello. Instead I opted to take my shower here and just relax for the rest of the night. Actually talked with my friend Gavin online for a little while. Finally turned off the lights at 3am.
Photos for February 18th, 2007