Took the Saikyo to Shibuya and took a different exit to see where it would take me. Turns out that the New South Exit pretty much takes you no where in terms of what you can find. It's probably an exit intended for locals. Took me forever to figure out where I was and even longer to find my way back to the main Shibuya area. Stopped into my favorite sushi bar to have some dinner. They had decorated the entrance with flowers and installed higher wattage light bulbs inside since the place was lit up like a hospital. Ate my fill of Saba and Unagi before heading for Mandarake.
Did I ever say how dangerous this place is? Found all kinds of neat goodies but had to restrain myself for fear of bankruptcy and having to walk the 2+ hours back home. Did manage to get a fair number of neat little items that will make excellent gifts for various people. After that I headed to the 50 yen arcade to play some games and relax. Almost got all the way through Time Crisis 2 on a single credit. I will accomplish this before I leave Japan! Played some more shooter games and continued to realize just how much I suck at them. The most entertaining aspect of the evening was this one gentleman who was playing one of Cave's shooters and was very familiar with the game, so much so that he made it all the way to the final boss and almost cracked the top score (something I rarely witness) before finally dying. Another guy who had been playing the same game was also watching him play, just as amazed as I was. At the end I just shook my head, resigned to the notion that I'll probably never wind up being that good at the game.
Went down to another floor to watch some fighting games before going outside to get some clean air and food. Headed towards Saizeriya and got a mini pizza to make certain I wouldn't be hungry tonight. The place was very noisy and I didn't bring my backpack today so I didn't have anything to read. Only stuck around for 30 minutes but drank about a liter of melon soda before I left. Wandered the streets for a while and found that there was a massive line of people waiting for something to take place, maybe tickets or a concert maybe. Walked back to the arcade to play a few more games but realized it was almost 11pm so I walked back towards the train station and got onto the platform to wait for the Saikyo.
Here's where the story gets a little weird. I'm sure that most people have heard about just how many people they pack into the trains. This was by far the worst I've ever seen or experienced it. It was so bad I was almost being crushed into one of the vertical bars. I had to physically use my strength just to prevent being hurt. By the time we got to Ikebukuro station we'd been packed in even worse when I noticed a man a few feet from me was leaning up against another man, seemingly unable to hold himself up. When we finally got to the station and opened up the doors, he completely fell out and collapsed onto the platform. Those of us in the front of the train that could see this held everyone else on the train to ensure that he didn't get trampled before the station attendants pulled him away. The people behind me who couldn't see what had happened were screaming and pushing to be let off. The people who could see screamed back to wait a minute. Instead the people just pushed harder until they got to the front and could see what had happened.
The guy seemed to keep coming to, try to get up and pass out again while the attendants were helping him. I don't know if it was heat, alcohol, the squeeze of the train or something else but I hope the guy was alright. After Ikebukuro the train wasn't nearly as crammed but it was still an uncomfortable ride home. Finally got off the train and headed for home. Talked with Athena to make plans on how to meet up and go visit the curry and ramen museums in Yokohama. Then I took my shower and tried to go to bed, only to still be awake after 3am.
Photos for February 23rd, 2007