Saturday, April 07, 2012

Random thoughts and picture dump: Japan trip 3/2012

It's about time to just do a little cleanup - some little snippets of thoughts and photos I took over the past couple weeks that didn't fit anywhere else.

Apparently, "American cherries" are just black cherries. Still something funny about it to me.

Lots of these in the subway this time. Eventually they'll be all over Japan, to prevent scenes like this.

Why a picture of some random mall? It's not a mall, it's Haneda Airport! Actually one of the more impressive airports I've seen - way more interesting than Narita.

Do not taunt Crunky Ball.

Lots of these signs around Tokyo, to thank everyone for the support after the earthquake.
(I hadn't noticed the "no goods, no life" sign in the background until now.)

If I ever move to Tokyo, I want to live at the Hanzomon Bain-Douche.
That can't possibly be a name.

Some Japanese cities have these crazy streets that they've blocked off to traffic and stuck a roof over. They go on forever, and the weird thing is there are still cross streets going through this (still under the roof), with walk signals that you have to stop at. It's like being in a mall, and then all of a sudden there's a stoplight with cars coming at you.

One of Hiroshima's old streetcars - I love these things.

Mmmmmm, unlicensed Totoro cake.

This was a crazy bridge at Miyajima's shrine - how do you even use this?? The weird thing was there was absolutely no apparent reason it needed to be built this way - there was just flat land under it.

I showed Haneda airport's observation decks earlier; Narita has a couple as well. (This is not the best one.)

The Grand Prince Akasaka, which I've stayed at twice, is now a ghost hotel. Wonder what they're going to do with it.

The view, again, from our room at the Grand Arc Hanzomon. I love this view; it has everything you could hope to see in Tokyo. Tall buildings (for Tokyo), Tokyo Tower, even a moat. How many hotels give you a view of an honest to goodness moat?

My wife was impressed with the fact that Haneda airport's bathrooms have monitors in the stalls.

Of course I ate my share of McDonald's on the trip - that's how I know I'm in Japan! They still make the best teriyaki burgers. That's a little American Cherry Shake on the left. It was good!

My wife's Beverly Hills Burger was nasty, though. I tried it. Blecch! Avacado and egg do not belong together on a hamburger.

If this pic doesn't look crazy to you, look closer. This is basically an escalator... that's flat! It's like some sort of practical joke, or the beginning of a cartoon punch line.

You can get bagels in Japan, though they're weird. This is a green tea bagel.

You may have heard of Book-Off, Japan's big used bookstore chain. But now they have "Book-Off Bazaars", which have used everything. It's basically just a giant thrift store. This is now my favorite chain of stores in Japan. These are like the size of an average Wal-Mart, and all they have is used stuff of all kinds. It's like if Ebay opened a store.

Yes, that's me walking towards it. (I feel like this looks like a still image from a film about a terrorist who walks into a crowded store and mows everybody down with a machine gun.)

A couple other random thoughts:
  • I always forget how sick everybody constantly is in Japan. I don't just mean the number of people wearing masks, which is inflated right now because of radiation fears. I mean people actively hacking up mucus all over the place. It always seems to be about 40% of the population whenever I visit, and many of them don't wear masks. I now have a cough myself that I'm convinced I got from someone there.
  • This was my first trip to Japan where I didn't need three changes of clothes per day due to sweat. I've always gone in summer before. Everywhere felt a little weird to me as a result; there's a different energy in a city in early spring vs. late summer.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.

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I'm married. I like to travel. I have no kids. I have a house... that I'm bad at maintaining. I used to collect classic video games. I own a lot of musical equipment that far outstrips my ability to use it. When I was younger, I was in a band. I like gadgets, and I'm an Android guy. Someday, I would like to live on a different planet.

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