I wake up while rolling over at about 4:00 a.m. The Message light is flashing on the phone. I call the front desk and find out it was a call from Toronto. I call the office with little difficulty (but, presumably, tremendous expense) and it seems that while I slept, new documents have been written and sent to me.
I finally had the courage to try out the spraying toilet. Skip ahead if you don't want to read about it.
So, there's STOP, BIDET (for washing girl bits), SPRAY (for everyone's anus. Hey, we've all got at least one.), WATER PRESSURE (which I hope doesn't go to 11) and STANDBY. When you sit on the seat (duh), your weight causes many noises from below. Besides those ones. The STANDBY light comes on, and water is stored and heated. Grit your teeth and push SPRAY and a warm jet of water hits the (ahem) bulls-eye. Good shooting, Tex. Hit STOP when you feel refreshed. As long as I'm here, I hit BIDET. Great, now the back of my scrotum is all wet. Well, that wasn't so bad. It's hygienic and quick, saves paper. But. IMPORTANT NOTE TO MY MOTHER - STOP READING NOW. GO ON TO THE NEXT BIT. I have this really evil vision in my head of a Japanese family apartment, with 10-14 year-olds. The bathroom door is shut, and has been for some time. The sound of the water jet is followed by giggles. Mom says "What are you doing in there?" "Nothing. <Fwooosh> <Giggle>". And so on...
After a bit more napping, I get up and complete yesterdays entry. I am in a great mood. I do keep CNN on while I do this, but there's no real surprises. I meet Patrick for another fine breakfast at Royal Host.
At the office, we proceed to put the new instructions to the test, with complete success. I'm even more delighted. For lunch, we go to a corner ramen (noodle) house. Some of you know of my love of Juzo Itamis' movie Tampopo, the "noodle western". I finally have gotten to eat chau-sui ramen. And gyoza (potstickers - sort of a minced pork rice dumpling). In Japan. The ramen I've had in Toronto do not approach the fine noodles I had for lunch. Spring onions, the root whose name I can't remember, the noodles made with a touch of soda. Soy, ginger and sesame oil combined. It was grand. Far grander than it's 700 yen price, especially considering I couldn't finish all the soup. Ahhh...
The afternoon mostly consists of meetings and software demos - but it's all working so that continues my happy mood. One of the web producers here, Hojo, asks what I want to see while visiting Tokyo. I say, "A hobby shop". He says there's one two subway stops south of the office, and that we should go tonight. I readily agree.
So off we go on the subway. Actually it's three stops south-west-ish on the Hibiya line to get to Mr. Craft.
|Outside. It's over five (narrow) stories tall!||5th Floor - Kits!||At the bottom right are RC Indoor helicopters - only 93000 yen!|
A minor digression - The previous month I had been looking for a Tamiya SuperFine HighGrade airbrush, to add to my airbrush collection. Dave, at my local hobby shop, Wheels and Wings, didn't have one, but promised to look into ordering one. Finally he got back to me on the Wednesday before the trip - when I didn't know yet that I was going. He said that he would have to order it, it would cost CDN$250, and it would take three to four months to arrive. I said I'd check around a bit before placing the order. I called around that afternoon. No hobby shops in Toronto had one, and most of them actively discouraged me from ordering or buying one. I don't understand business people sometimes. Anywho, the next day I got the news that I was off to Tokyo. So I thought "If I get the time, I can probably find a hobby store with Tamiya products. Hmmm." So this was my big chance.
We came out of the subway at Ebisu (I'm pretty sure). This was quite different from the hotel and office areas. There were far more stores and kids. Hojo tells me that the VR1 Tokyo office is in this area.
After just a short walk, we are at Mr. Craft. The bottom floor is action figures (including a Deckard from Bladerunner). Next is cars, then books, then something I don't recall, then kits. There are more floors to the building - I'm not sure if there is more store as well. On the kit floor (pictured above), there are Indoor RC Helicopters. There are tanks and Gundams and 1/35 scale dogs and .... airbrushes. In the case, the second shelf is Tamiya... and there's a SFHG right in the middle at the back. 11000 yen. That's about US$100, CDN$150. I'll take it. I wander about and get some little accessory bits I don't normally see in the Great White North. As long as I'm here...
There are a large number of things I don't get, because I don't want to carry them back on the plane in the current climate. They are worth remembering, though. This might not be my only trip to the Tokyo office.
John and Patrick are supposed to meet us for dinner, but Hojo can't get an answer from John's cell phone. We go to a small place around the corner, and I commit the faux pas that's clichéd in Japan: I step into a room with my shoes on. The staff lunge for me, yelling. In my defense, Hojo should have warned me - I haven't been taken to any traditional-seating places during my stay, so I don't know what they look like. Plus, this room is defined as starting at the bottom of a spiral metal stairway. Like I could have guessed that.
Anywho, at least I put on cleans socks this morning. Boots off, up the stairs we go, to this way cool industrial loft thing. Concrete walls, 5-foot ceiling, oh and the little mats. I took the corner by the wall, so I could stretch out. Which was lucky, because the rest of the tables filled up in the next 20 minutes. We had eel sashimi, raw, fresh that day. Very good. More of the tempura chicken, and some meat thing, and a cheese thing. All very excellent. Then Hojo put me back on the subway, and I made it back to the hotel all by myself. Although I did consult my notes quite often.
Here's a blurry shot of my hotel. Sorry. I didn't think to bring a tripod. The fact that Japan does not use daylight savings means I always get back to the hotel in the dark. Well, that and the fact that we normally don't leave till 7:30.
I would have mentioned the name of that restaurant, but it's a complete mystery to me. All interior text was in Japanese. Now, to bed. Even with this tempting thought on my pillow. I finally gave in and tried the toilet fountain. Will I give in to this temptation as well? Not tonight, that's for sure.