Tokyo Journal 2003: – Day 4, Part 2

February 21st, 2003

The Cosplay area was located on the roof. To get there, you left whatever Hall your were in, which was always the furthest one possible, walked about a mile to a middle area, where you were wound around in a circle (apparently so yopu could get to know the other people on their way up to and coming down from the Cosplay area,) up an escalator and out onto the roof…where you wandered aimlessly for a while snapping pictures that you would later wonder what they were of.

People were posing for animal crackers, clustering in little series-related groups. We snapped a few pictures of some pleasantly plump Senshi, & a few One Piece characters and other random stuff. Like the drooling hentai fanboys taking a picture of a provocatively posing bunny girl. There were some things that were consistent with American cosplay…some series that you could just gurantee you’d see: DBZ, Ranma, Evangelion, Sailor Moon etc – all the basic “gateway” anime.. While walking around, we saw a Rei from Eva, and I pointed and said to Saiko, “Kyo no Rei,” (Today’s Rei) because we had seen at least one every day. Some things are universal. LOL

Pattie awarded best in show to a really spectacular Lady Oscar and Marie Antoinette from Rose of Versailles. I awarded my Best in Show to a faboo Mr. 2 from One Piece. Not only was his costume really good, he was prancing and mincing around on his toes just like Mr. 2 Bone Clay should. All Oscar and Marie had to do was stand there.

By far, the most overcosplayed series was Prince of Tennis – there had to be a hundred of them on any given day. Considering the ease of the costume  – a blue sweatsuit with “Seigaku” on the back, it wasn’t all that surprising. Some sports store was making a fortune with Seigaku Tennis Club workout clothes, I’m sure.

While we fought our way out to the Cosplay area, we passed through the Corporate area – lots of anime and manga companies had booths there. There was a real press of bodies, and Pattie and I were laughing as we squeezed through, past a long, crowded line of guys, past some idol singing a song on a stage, while other guys sang with her, shouting “We love you Mima!”: (OK, OK, they weren’t, really – that was a little anime joke. But they were shouting “Hey” and jumping up and down.) When we got through, Pattie and I were like. “Wheeeee! Can we ride again??” After we passed through, I turned and realized that the crush was for the Gainax booth. Ah, that explained it.

We had exhausted all the joys Comiket had to offer (of course, we hadn’t – we would have needed another three days to do that for real. And I still smart thinking of all the stuff I didn’t get – and the stuff I didn’t know was there until too late, like Haibane Renmei.) Anyway, Saiko and Emi led us to Odaiba – one of the stations in the reclaimed area of Tokyo Bay, now mostly given over to massive malls. We met up with Takami, another friend of Emi’s, who we had met last summer. Takami is a very funny person and she and Pattie absolutely crack each other up. Pattie’s Japanese and Takami’s English make for some really hysterical conversations…to be fair, Takami’s English is better than Pattie’s Japanese. But the two of them are endlessly entertaining. I keep swearing that at Yuricon, I’m going to set the two of them up at a table and charge people $5 to watch the “Pattie and Takami” show.

Odaiba Aqua City is basically a mall. The stores were about half the usual stores you’d see in any other mall. We had coffee and cake at a cafe’. Pattie spied a sticker store and was all psyched, but when she got there, the stickers were all exotic – from America. We heard the “Ketchup Song” in the mall – if a friend hadn’t played it for us right before we left, we wouldn’t have recognized it.

We detoxed for a while, and Takami approved of my haul of doujinshi for the day. After it got dark, we headed out to the Fuji TV building that we had passed everytime on the train. The building looks like four thick towers with two cross ways and a big ball suspended in the middle. First we headed for the store, were pattie and I bought One Piece stuff. (Nami, Nami, Nami!!!) Emi taught Pattie to make a gesture and a noise that were apparently VERY funny, because some comedian did them. (We later saw that comedian on TV, but he never did the thing he was famous for.) Then we went to the rooftop observation deck (which prompted a very funny conversation between Pattie and Takami about the observation dick, which led Pattie to ask Emi to tell Takami that dick meant penis, which Emi misheard as peanuts.Poor Saiko probably thought we were insane.) We walked around and didn;t participate in the Love Stamp Rally, but we did see Tokyo Tower and all of Tokyo at night, which was very beautiful.

When we came down from the building, we headed back to the train station. Saiko left us, so the four of us were left. We got on the train and Emi asked if we were hungry. By then I had been through three waves of sick, tired, hungry, etc., but all I really wanted right then was to go back to the hotel, so of course I said, “Sure.” And when she asked if we wanted to be Indiana Jones, inside my head I was screaming “no!” So I said “yes” without hesitation. The smile on Emi’s face made me worried as anything. I figured that this was payback for making them eat peppers and sausage sandwiches at the New Jersey Shore.

So, the four of us headed to Shinjuku. I couldn’t even begin to tell you where we were, or how far we walked. All I know is that the evening was dark and cold and full of lots of little shops…all selling cell phones. LOL And stuff being sold on the streets…crap that no one needs or wants, but we all end up buying anyway. Eventually, we ended up at a skanky little alleyway. All the “restauants” were one step away from being open-air street stands. Some only had plastic strips to prtect the patrons from the wind. We squeezed ourselves into a counter with an actual door, full of older guys with large bottles of Sapporo beer. Emi said, with a grin, “Women don;t come here often.” No…you think? LOL We were delighted and so was everyone in the place. Not only did four women show up – two were gaijin! Yeeha! The guy at the end of the counter was grinning from ear to ear and waving at Pattie and me like crazy.

Emi was explaining what they had and she said they agemono, aka fried things – she said, “pork and…” and everyone in the place started calling out random food items in English – beef, chicken, tofu, shrimp, on and on…and everyone was laughing hysterically, including Pattie and I. Emi waved at the little plastic bins on the shelves in front of us and said that we could order from them too, but that she’d order us rice and soybeans. We were totally cool with that, and Pattie and I picked the bin in front of us as looking interesting and tasty (it had bacon, how bad could it be?) The guy cooking kept calling out whatever he was making in English, so we knew what it was. It was a hoot.

The rice had curried soybeans and jellied consomme’ with a slice of ham – which was alot tastier than it sounds. The bacon dish had chicken and tofu and was pretty amazing. Emi ordered eel (anago, not unagi) and tempura parsley, which was absolutely fabulous. Takami said it was called “tomorrow leaf” and Emi said, “No it’s not.” Everything was incredible, but there was too much food. I felt bad that I couldn’t eat more. But we gave the place something to talk about for a few days, I bet. Or perhaps a few weeks.  LOL And the bill for this feast? $2/person.

We got back to the hotel at about 8:30. We had a bath and moaned around the place. Tomorrow will start early – we’re doing a 4-hour bus tour, but we’ll be on the bus for more like 6 hours, since they’ll be picking up at a bunch of hotels and we’re first. We hope it’s a comfy bus….

Next time: The Wheels on the Bus….

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