Well here we are, face to face... wait wait that's not right. Anyway, here's the final post to wrap up my incredible experience in Japan. Months later I'm sure fellow visitors and I will still be talking about this amazing country. Dug through the rest of my photos as well as Kev's to see which ones haven't been commented on yet.
Farewell Temple Law study abroad students
With exams out of the way, Gina and Alan threw a farewell BBQ at their impressive apartment in the neighborhood adjacent to Roppongi, think it was Aoyama. I was going through some serious meat withdrawal since returning from Korea and the burgers held me over until I got back to the states. Check out the view from their apartment, you can see much of Tokyo, and in the group photo, isn't it weird that I'm in there and not Kevin? He gets to do all the work and I get to bask in all the glory...
Deep Fried Buffet (Kushiage)
I've been to many buffets in my time, but this was the first ever where you deep fried everything and it was surprisingly good! I know! Every booth had a deep fryer in the middle separated by a divider, Kelly and Chris took one side and Muju and I took the other side. We went up to the buffet and grabbed as many sticks of seafood, red meat, vegetables, etc. as we could and dumped it in. I'm not sure what the count was at the end of the night but I was satisfied. Not sure what occurred over at the larger table though, hope they ate enough to justify the entrance fee.
Walking back to the train station we decided to stop by one of the arcades so Chungtae and Sehyung could go rape their UFO machines. We came across this free Taito game where the objective was to hit a button as many times as you could in the span of 10 seconds. Such a simple premise yet captivating as hell. I think each member of our group went at it 3-4 times and when you weren't on the machine, you were on the sidelines discussing strategy. After an ill-fated attempt using a karate chop method (that resulted in some loss of skin) we settled on a palm/wrist method that yielded impressive results. Unfortunately they weren't captured in Chris' video.
K's House Trauma
Over the course of Kev's semester in Japan, he received a ton of visitors who all left their... residue in the bathroom. Since we were leaving the apartment to Kimmy I thought it would be nice if we cleaned up a bit. I didn't expect to encounter the disgusting greasy hair residue left in the shower drain. The photos say it all.
In addition to jumping around looking for galleries, I also went hunting for some gifts which brought me back to Akihabara where I saw a male cosplayer decked out in military gear. He was all over the floor crawling around commando style and striking poses. I'm not sure what possesses someone to do all this (I guess the same thing that possesses people to rock Doraemon or Stitch costumes) but after he pointed his fake plastic gun at some people gathered around taking his photo, a station attendant came out and asked him to leave.
Exploring the other side of the station for the first time, I found Yodobashi Camera which was AMAZING! Think of BestBuy, and Toys'r'us x5 under one roof. Not so amazing was the Tokyo Anime Center which was on the same side of the station. Not really worth anyone's time, but they do have some large props if you are looking for photo opportunities. Took one with a Neon Genesis Evangelion display...
Capsule / Mystery Boxes
Looking for the perfect gift to get in Japan for your friends? Capsule / mystery boxes. All you need to know is what they are into, so if it's something like Godzilla, there will be a few Godzilla series to choose from. You can't choose which character you get which is fun for the recipient and takes the pressure off you on choosing the perfect gift. You just have to find a series your recipient is a fan of and that is usually pretty easy. Yodobashi had aisles and aisles of them. They also had this entire section devoted to all things mecha / model building related.
Since I mentioned Godzilla, guess I should let everyone know that the people in Japan don't really think much of Godzilla, even though in our eyes he's probably one of, if not the most influential cultural export out of Japan. Their attitude towards the lizard is shown by the diminutive statue erected in his honor on a back street near Hibiya Park. Took me a while to find it and it sure wasn't worth the time.
In addition to Yodobashi other great stores for gift buying are Loft, Muji (not so much anymore since they opened up in the U.S.), and Tokyu Hands where I found some pretty sick kitchenware. Check out the nifty teapots in the photos on the left.
If you saw my earlier posts where I was carrying a pink umbrella then you might have already realized that the conservative Japanese ironically like their umbrellas to look like a bowl of Fruit Loops. The skies may be gloomy with clouds but the cheery umbrellas will brighten up anyone's day.
Doraemon Strikes Back
Decided to get back into costume for our last meeting with Jen. We met her after work at the Starbucks on the ground floor of Mori Tower, home to Lehman and Golden Sacks. I saw the security guards get all tensed-up as I approached them but they just stared when Jen walked out of the elevator to meet us. After meeting a few of her coworkers and chatting for a bit, we took a stroll to the Asahi TV building behind Mori Tower to snap a few photos with the Doraemon statues in the lobby. I tried coercing a security officer to tackle me while I ran through security but he politely refused... sad. Left the costume on for the duration of the night, took some photos on the countdown wall (was it a clock?) and a local ramen shop owned by Koreans.
Paying with Change
Best airport food I've ever had and though it was more expensive than the meals in Tokyo, the difference wasn't too bad. Since Kev had a lot of change to get rid of we ended up paying for our meal mostly in coins and the cashier was prepared for it! She had this plastic bin where you could stack coins of various sizes and quickly look up the amount. Seems like we weren't the first customers to pay for our meals all in change.
Additional photos from this series on my Flickr
Kevin: Goodbye BBQ at Gina's
Kevin: K's House Trauma
Kevin: Mucking Around