Day 29 Japan Monday 9th November 2015
Today we had one of those travel experiences where you don’t remember how you found it – but you’re very glad you did. I think it may have been through Time Out Tokyo. We found an artisan market in the space under the rail line. 2K540 Artisan Market
What a treat a large number of individual artisans making and selling their wares. A favourite of mine was a man making jewellery out of recycled items. Rings featuring keys from computer keyboards, bracelets from tin cans. A pair of spectacles made with fine wire, paper bound with Sellotape.
For Chris it was expected items out of alternative materials– a wooden keyboard, USB memory stick,
We spent many hours browsing the shops before heading out to Akihabara. The market was close to Akihabara Electric Town which I also wanted to visit after reading A Time for Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.– a short walk past the market following the rail line brought us to another world. An assault on the senses. Made all the more surreal as darkness falls around 4- 5pm. The buildings lit up adding to the overpowering sense of an “Electric Town”.
Anime porn abounded – large breasted young anime women strode across billboards and posters. Technology and games were gods. Sega had a multi-storey building. Neon signs announced video game releases.
Just as we thought it was all too much we found shops that sold more than video games. Multi-storey buildings with floors dedicated to all sorts. One had a basement for “foreigners” and a treasure trove it was – clothing, gadgets, Japanese souvenirs and wonderful inventions such as a milk carton shaped object you put in your fridge and when you open the door it talks to you. I had to have that!
Finally – it’s enough. Home we go. Impressing ourselves with our ability to return to our Hello Kitty haven – by train and foot – as though we knew our way around.
Exhausted we decide to eat at the Izakawaya restaurant just around the corner. It was cozy and looked friendly and inviting when we passed by the night before. We arrive just ahead of another couple – both of us are seated straight away and we are given an English menu. Then we waited. The couple who came in at the same time got drinks, entrée and friendly service. All we had were the ubiquitous towels given before meals. Enough we decided. We left.
NOTE – we later found out it was our problem we were supposed to call out for service. One of those culturally different ways that reminds you the world is a big different and wonderful place.
After a couple of false starts – it was by now 8.30ish. We enter a tiny place with a row of seats along a bar and a friendly woman behind the bar. Open. Not English spoken or written. We are given a bowl of quite delicious cooked Tuna. Then ask for Chicken and vegetables. We got tasty fried chicken.
More customers arrive and we are watching the corner TV – a game show in progress. A question (guessed by us) of flags around the world comes up. This gets us all talking and guessing. One of the men sitting beside us guesses Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro. No-one (on TV or off) gets France, Greece, Italy. This fascinates us without answers.
This leads to a night of Shochu and Sake and fun.