Day 3: Hugh Jackman is As Much a Samurai as Tom Cruise

16Sep13

Continuing my tradition of starting the day off right, I decided to try out the bidet on my toilet. If any of you haven’t had the pleasure, I imagine the best way to describe the sensation would be that it feels like hot, wet, anal rape. 2/10 stars, would not inflict upon enemies.

I awoke at 6:30, so I took some time to write these blog entries. That’s not all that weird, though. The sun’s up at 4 or so and sets at 6. Land of the Rising Sun, indeed.

I had designs on Akiba again, now that the businessmen are at work, but nature had other ideas. A slight drizzle as I left the hotel became a full on typhoon situation not three minutes down the road. I lost 500 yen when my umbrella took a 60-mph gust right in the face and proceeded to crumple like a dead spider. I had literally a second of indecision before my animal part of my brain got me out of cover.

In the bottom floor of a movie theater.

No way I was walking Tokyo in a hurricane, so I rolled with the punches. The new Ghibli movie out, but not showing until 1 PM. I had to catch another movie to fill the time. The choice came down to that Wolverine movie I had no desire to see, subtitled in Japanese, against an anime movie from a series that I didn’t really like.

On the plus side, I handled my self well ordering my caramel corn and OJ. I even asked if refills were permitted (they were not).

Two hours later, I walked out of that lose-lose situation happy that I had chosen the AnoHana movie. Terrible film, but I got to see the preview for the third Madoka Movie! I freaaaaaked out and squealed aloud when Mami fought Homura. I would have paid double to watch an hour and a half loop of that trailer. The Persona 3 movie also looks great.

You people have no idea what I’m talking about, though. That’s why I came to this country in the first place.

I wish I could have shown you all the informational shorts before the film asking everyone not to record the movie. Not only were they hilarious, but they were weird in that uniquely Japanese way. Doughnut cats, talking anthropomorphized cameras and stuff straight out of nightmares.

Then, the main feature. I dunno what the English title is (translated, it was something about standing against the wind), but the new Ghibli film captures the magic once again. There were a number of times when I got that distinctly Ghibli feeling, the one like when Howl levitates Sophie across the town square. One scene in Kazetachi near the middle of the film was so masterfully done, it can only be described as legendary. Now, is it the best Ghibli? Not hardly. It’s too long in the middle and the main voice actor sucks, but it surely deserves top tiering. Surely above Ponyo, maybe Totoro. I’d put it next to Kiki in quality.

The Japanese cinema experience isn’t as foreign as it would seem. Sure, there’s 20 people working when America would have 3, but the only major differences are that everyone stays to watch the credits and nobody spills food all over themselves. Nobody except the gaijin, that is! American prerogative invoked. I don’t know how the hell you eat popcorn without a mess anyway. I honestly couldn’t do it.

It was mid-afternoon and my rain-beating strategy had proved effective.

Stopped off in Shibuya to maybe find where I went with Jess on Saturday. NOPE. Instead, found a bookstore with the kanji for ‘old’ on it. I assumed it meant ‘used’, but no, it meant Playboys and Life magazine from the 1970’s.

I stumbled onto Love Hotel hill (you know, where you take your mistress so your wife doesn’t find out) and got some great pictures of all the ‘massage parlors’ that offered a happy ending.

Barley tea is amazing. That’s not connected to the rest of the daily story, but I just thought you should know.

Pondered kaitenzushi again, but thought better of it. Actually, that makes it sound like there’s a downside. There’s not. I regret skipping it.

I stumbled, literally this time (damn small steps), into a pachinko parlor. From what I can tell (which wasn’t that much), the game of pachinko is a seizure simulator wherein the maximum possible volume human ears can hear is played and images are flashed at rapid succession behind a series of ball bearings while a middle age Japanese woman’s disposable income slowly lessens.

Actually, that makes it sound like there’s a limit to a middle age Japanese woman’s disposable income. There’s not.

Found a DonQuixote variety store. Yeah, the stuff inside the store makes about as much sense as the name. It’s as if someone dared a crazy businessman to build a store with everything. Then he did. And it’s somehow making money selling luggage, bicycles, beer, kitchen appliances and jewelry with no regard for organization.

Got the hell outta there, took a picture of the world’s busiest intersection and headed once more for Akihabara. You can read the shopping list below. The one bit of trivia I found interesting is that the Japanese use “Auld Lang Syne” to tell you to get the hell out of the store as it’s about to close. I started singing along before I realized all the employees were staring at me harshly. DOESN’T MATTER FOUND PSVITA FOR $150.

Now, I really don’t want to keep bringing it up, but I did come to Japan and not Saudi Arabia, so…

Porn.

It’s like… just there. Like, I’m browsing manga and suddenly the entire next aisle at a glance has a distinctly flesh-colored tone…

I just love how chill everybody was with it. There were businessmen in suits next to me, perusing borderline child pornography. You could probably read that stuff on the train and nobody would look twice. The cashiers were females! And they didn’t even blink at the smut. It’s a far cry from that one time I bought Maxim at college and the blonde cashier sneered at me and scoffed.

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