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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Busy day today!

Armed with my new 'Tokyo for Free' guidebook, I set off to Asakusabashi station, sort of on the other side of the downtown 'cores' from Pete's house, and headed off to a store called 'Sakura Horikiri', which is a pretty cool place! You basically buy do it yourself Japanese craft kits which are made from pre-cut and scored card (about 1 8th of an inch thick). All of the kits I bought today centred around storage, but they had an assortment of other things including a paper lantern I was close to buying!

Anyway, you assemble the boxes, cover them with paper of your choice (which makes it nice, you can pick tasteful patterns!), attach the drawer pulls, etc. I felt everything in the store was a great deal (I got seven kits for under $65.00), but the reason it makes it into the 'Tokyo for Free' guidebook is that they give you a 'beginner kit' to try as well. So, that's the one I started with in case I mucked it up (predictably, I forgot the back of the silly thing until it was almost too late (some un-gluing was required!), so it's lucky I started with this one!) The little box, with two drawers, which measures about 5" high by 3" deep by 2" wide took me about 45 minutes to assemble I think - these are just the thing to quell the crafty urges I've been getting while hanging out in multiple art stores and the design sections of bookstores the last few days!

Unfortunately, its a little overexposed at the top, but here is a picture of the practice drawer set:
The black paper was pre cut, but I had to cut the origami paper myself - its a good mix of do it yourself and pre done, very much IKEA for the crafter!

Then, laden down with craft supplies I was itching to get into, I headed to Ginza, more or less because my train was going through there and I decided to hop off! I headed up to Hibiya Park, which is gorgeous to eat my lunch and wish that I'd brought my proper camera along with me! It is Tokyo's first western style park, and opened in 1903. There is a large fountain, tennis courts, rose gardens, several indoor/outdoor cafes and some great benches/areas to relax.

After I relaxed in the park for awhile, I walked back into Ginza and checked out some of the huge buildings while basically wandering aimlessly around. I was hoping to make it to the five storey apple store at some point, but I was just curious to see what would happen in the meantime. I ended up going to Bic Camera, which is of course, a camera store, but also sells everything from liquor to golf sets and just about everything in between on it's five or six floors. It was pretty fun to poke around in there! I tried to get Peter the Nikon shutter release he's been after since he got his camera, but they didn't have them, and according to the German guy who spontaneously translated for me when he figured out that I didn't have a clue what I'd been told, it would take a month to order in. Thanks, but no thanks - there must be one in stock somewhere in Tokyo!

Then, as I walked past the Koban, or local police box (they're on practically every corner), I stopped in to ask them for directions, which is basically their main job since Tokyo streets don't always have names, and if they do, good luck finding a street sign! Besides that, the numbering system is completely nuts, and the whole city is designed so that you can't walk to the imperial palace in a straight line, a whole whack of factors resulting in some pretty confusing areas!
The five storey Apple Store - pretty cool, but not soooooooo amazing...

Anyway, the policeman lived up to the direction giving stereotype and showed me on a map how to get to the Apple store. It was pretty cool - five floors of apple related stuff, but honestly, not as cool as I thought it would be. Part of that was probably that I couldn't really take advantage of asking the Genius Bar my question about iweb (how do I open a website from one mac's iweb onto another mac's iweb? I have the entire folder system it created originally, but nothing makes sense to open in the new version of iweb). I also couldn't sit in on the Adobe Illustrator CS2 class which was taking place for free in the theatre on the third floor. So, pretty cool stuff going on, but maybe just not for me...
(shops built into the train line (like the train runs over their roof)
A Ginza street at night
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! Decorations in Seibu Department store, Ginza

Since It was sixish by then, and I was on the JR line anyway, I headed up to Mejiro, planning to meet Peter at Orbitune... I happened to be walking past Freshness Burger and looked in to see Pete and Kong having a meeting, so I headed to a nearby Italian coffee shop for an iced caramel cappucino and double chocolate cookie. Its kind of weird that stuff like that can actually be cheaper than at home here, the land of the ten dollar coffee supposedly... My (big!) cappucino was like 3$ and the cookie just over $1 - definitely cheaper than at home I'd think... And btw, liquid sugar for iced coffee drinks is the best idea ever!

I'm reading a new book, after finishing Tully this morning - I'm not sure about it, she (Tully) was annoying me quite a bit at the end, and I really wanted her to get over herself! Besides that, she was incredibly selfish for what turned out to be dubious reasons, so in the end, I'm not sure that it was worth 600 pages of my time, but it was still pretty good.

Now I'm reading Good Faith by Jane Smiley (who wrote Horse Heaven). Its about real estate in the early 80's. I got through about 170 pages waiting for Pete this evening, and so far I'm enjoying it more than Tully!

Back at the office, we chatted with Jordan for awhile and then when I was about to pass out with hunger, we headed out at about 10:30...We decided that home was too far (or rather I whined a lot about being low/hungry) so we stopped at 'Sunday Sun' which is a Japanese style family restaurant for dinner - I had a thin steak over beans (the kind that are sometimes in chow mein, but I'm totally blanking on the name), and the rice set (rice with corn soup).. It was good! The funniest thing about the restaurant was on the table, they have a buzzer, and when you want service you just push that, and then the whole restaurant knows you'd like something and your server comes running!

We got home at about 11:30 I guess (lucky the Venus had some company today!) and then I built my sample chest of drawers, and now, at 3am, I'm finishing up this and pretty excited about falling into bed!

1 comment:

jack nadelle said...

I love tokyo as well, but if you are in japan for awhile, make sure you get out to the "back country" in the tohoku area. Also, a short distance from tokyo is Omiya where there are some truely great bonsai gardens. Bonsai sounds so touristy but they are beautiful. Omiya is a big city but the bonsai area is small so you can see a dozen or more gardens. They are all located in an area that i think is identified as the bonsai district or something like that. Winter in tokyo is great! I love the ramen and oden push carts that come out at night!