55 Days in Tokyo

February 19th, 2007

Woke up much earlier than normal thanks to my asshole roommates. Each of them woke up at different times, seemingly one after another, and proceeded to go into the kitchen and seemingly make as much noise as humanly possible. All three of them did this, one after the other as if it were some kind of tag team event. I'm used to them making noise and sometimes it cannot be helped. This morning was the worst I've experienced this entire trip though. Also doesn't help that the Korean girl who is on the ground floor with me enjoys smoking every 20 minutes outside of her room which causes the smell to waft into my room. She also likes making the most foul smelling food on the planet and then either just throws whatever she doesn't eat away, thereby ensuring that the kitchen will continue to smell horrible. Never opens a window or takes out the garbage when she smells up the place either.

I understand that I'm basically a short term renter at this place, but I still pay my rent. If this continues this week I swear I'm going to get up, throw open my door and tell them to shut the hell up or heads will be busted. The Italian couple each make just as much noise in the morning and in the evening when they get home at midnight. They just love leaving the kitchen light on with the heater set to 28 and the door to the stairway open. Don't much care for the guy since whenever I see him I feel like I get attitude. Last week I got off to a late start one day and he was out in the kitchen, giving his Italian lesson and he seemed pissed that I was daring to exist in the house during his lesson.

Probably just pissed off since I didn't get to sleep until 3am last night and they woke up me up at 7am. Tossed and turned and tried to get back to sleep until 9:45am when I realized I just wasn't going to get back to sleep. Instead I got up and started looking at things online. Watched some anime before falling back asleep a little past noon. Left my laptop on and open next to my bed and would occasionally look at it to see if my girlfriend had messaged me. Finally dozed off and woke up just for 2pm and saw that she had sent me a message but at 1pm. Sent her an email and then headed out.

The plan for the day had been to get over to Rainbow bridge, walk across it to Odaiba and see the sights as well as the views from the bridge. Before I headed off to find the bridge I decided to use part of my remaining phone card to give my girlfriend a brief call, if nothing else then to just hear her voice. It was very nice to talk to her for a few mintes. I had found a website that gave directions for getting to the bridge but they turned out to be very wrong. It said I needed to walk Southwest to get to the bridge but I actually needed to go Southeast. This cost me over an hour and left me very pissed off and sweaty from wandering around, confused as all hell. Finally managed to get some directions from locals and found the bridge. At this point I was too tired and angry to walk all the way across the bridge. It's the better part of a mile, exposed to high winds and smog with only about 70 minutes of real daylight left. Also wasn't able to find the elevator that would put me on the walkway, so instead I found and took the train that crosses the bridge. The scenery was very beautiful and at least I got a pretty clear view of both sides instead of just one side if I had walked.

Got to Odaiba and walked around. Basically, the whole place is a man-made island that was built during the bubble economy. After the bubble popped the place started to fall into disuse and eventually managed to make somewhat of a comeback as a mall and touristy kind of place. Most of the stores were either random gifts or clothing. The resturants didn't seem too bad but not too good either. A lot of the places had this feeling of desperation, seemingly begging for customers to come into their mostly empty stores and resturants. I was wary of going and looking at a menu for too long, lest someone come outside and ask me to come inside, seemingly begging me to come in. I've seen that from a lot of Indian food places since whenever I see them, they're almost empty while all the other places nearby are full. The other attractions were a Sega Joyopolis that required paying just to get into the place and Muscle Town, a themed floor will all kinds of interesting physical challenges. Nothing worth the cost of admission though.

Outside there was a walkway that let you get a nice view of the bay and of Rainbow Bridge. They also have a small scale replica of the Statue of Libery. Kinda interesting. The place would be nice to walk around but almost all of the daylight was gone and it was getting cold and windy. Not going to subject myself to such torment again. I headed across the street to the Fuju TV Headquaters. You can take an escalator a good part of the way up and normally you can buy a ticket to their observation platform but it is closed on Mondays. Need to remember that their Monday is similar to our Sunday in how many things shut down. Anyways, I did get to wander through their gift stores and there was a fair amount of odd and interesting things but only if you've watched their shows. Finally headed back down to street level and started to head back to the main building. I was tempted to check out this place that looked like it might be all you can eat Korean BBQ but they didn't have a menu in English to explain anything so I didn't stop there. Instead I made up my mind to head back to the mainland to go to Ikebukuro. At least there I could find a variety of places to eat.

Before heading back though, I wanted to visit a store that had all this cat merchandise and cats to purchase. Also were selling tickets to let you into a series of rooms where you could play with cats for a set period of time. Interesting concept. I felt really bad for the cats in the cages waiting to be sold though. They either looked very desperate for someone to play with them or shut off from the world and seemingly depressed. Some of the cats were getting close to a year old and I couldn't help but wonder if that would impact their likely hood of being sold. These cats aren't cheap and I imagine most people would want a kitten. Hearing them mew and paw at the window when I go walking by just breaks my heart. Looked at some of other gifts they had but left shortly after. That's when I noticed a Saizeriya across the street. They're resturants with an all you can drink bar (not alcohol sadly) and lots of smaller dishes that are pretty cheap. Got a steak with cheese on top and a ham pizza along with some ice cream. Very affordable and you can take your time and relax. Read some more of my history book before finally leaving and getting back on the train for the mainland.

Got off the train line at Shinbashi (seperate line that goes to Odaiba owned by its own company and charges much more than JR. Got on the Yamanote bound for Ikebukuro. After a few stops some seats freed up and I took a seat next to two business men. The one next to me proceeded to talk to me for a little while, he in broken English and me in broken Japanese. He said he was a big fan of the USA and had been to New York before. He was suprised that I knew any Japanese and was impressed with that and my two month vacation. Only thing that was annoying was the fact that his breath was flat out horrible. I mean it smelt like roadkill left in the summer heat for too long. After a few more stops he got off the train and we said farewell. Sometimes people here just randomly approach you and want to chat for a little. Usually they want to sell you something but sometimes they just want a friendly chat with a tall white guy. How nice.

Got to Ikebukuro and headed down the east side towards the arcades. Yeah yeah, me going to another arcade. Entertainment is entertainment. Played a few more shooting games, one of which I did fairly well at. Maybe I am getting better. Also played some Gundam Card Builder but for some reason, the computer was in full on cheese mode. They seemingly dodged all my attacks and always hit with theirs. They also kept locking on and got to attack me instantly. Really pissed me off. Barely managed to win the first game and got flat out stomped on the second game. Really pissed me off something fierce. I can understand the need for the game to be challenging but sometimes it just seems like the computer will sometimes simply not allow you to win.

Left the arcade still fuming and decided to walk down a few side streets to cool down and get my head leveled again. I came across a film crew that was filming a scene and blocking all pedestrians while they shot. The scene looked like a foreign guy (hard to tell though, was wearing a hood) seemingly pissed off walking down the street and kicking a traffic cone that happened to be there. It took them several minutes just to setup and only got one take before they had to let the people waiting walk across the area. I have to say though, his acting was poor. He looked fake mad and delievered a fake kick that looked like it was supposed to be angry, but instead looked like someone playing being angry and trying not to kick the cone too hard. Didn't find much more down those streets except for a comic store that actually had American comics in it. Nothing very interesting though. By the time I headed back they were filming another scene with someone else doing some random thing. Didn't feel like standing around to watch so I headed to another arcade and watched some Virtua Fighter combat. After a while I got bored and decided that it was probably time to start heading back. Started the walk home and managed to find one of the branches of my favorite ramen place. Made a mental note of its location and continued walking.

Stopped off at the grocery store to get some chicken and cream for tomorrow along with some water. Have to do laundry tomorrow so I figured I should have something to cook for lunch. Got home and took my shower. My Italian roommates showed up and, true to form, made a fair amount of noise after midnight, turned on the kitchen light and didn't turn it off before going to bed. Played some poker online and did some reading before turning off the lights and trying to get some sleep.

Photos for February 19th, 2007