Day 11 and Mata Ne

April 22nd, 2005

Our last day in Tokyo.

This has been the most exhausting vacation I have ever had. I long to return to work to relax.

I wanted to go to new and different stores, so we headed out to Shinjuku where we walked a lot and managed to find stores for Donna, Kelli and Serge, but not Erica. Boo hoo. The directions I had were vague and outdated. We found the right area, but all but one store was gone. We ate at an Indian restaurant, which was pretty decent and tried to find any of the stores on my list. It was a total bust.

Random Shinjuku shots:

The one upshot of our fruitless wandering was that I found myself at “Memory Lane,” commonly known as “Piss Alley.” Last time we were in Tokyo Rica took us here for a surreal dinner. Now I know where it is.

Look behind the bus at the whatever-they-ares. I have no doubt that I can learn what they are with a bit if research…but I prefer the mystery:

I crawled back to the hotel for my daily foot rest in defeat, but determined to spend more money.

I took two last pictures of Ikebukuro while wandering around.

The Mona Lisa made of Kanji characters:

This was a sign for a club across the street from Comic Toranoana. Who wouldn’t want to go?

So, for my last night, we headed back into Ikebukuro to launch wopping frodges of money at the vile temptresses of posable gashopon figures and siren call of doujinshi. I am such a sad geek – I hope someone else thinks its funny. ^_^

(The really funny thing is that I never actually looked at anything I bought or read anything, until I got home, because I didn’t have the time.)

Dinner was a subdued affair in the hotel room. P and I wanted different things so we went to Seibu and wandered the food area. I got sushi and we shared a white chestnut and bean rice which was delicious. She ended up with a sandwich, while I cleaned up my email and responded to some of the folks who had attended the event who deserved timely answers.

Sleep never came, for various reasons.

My morning started early. I had a date with Touko_no_doriru, an absolutely LOVELY person. He had come late to the event on Saturday because of work and he made a special trip to the hotel to see me. (He has been posting great comments on this blog for a while, which you should all read! He was the one who turned me on to Hayate Cross Blade.) He came by with a great big bag of gifts which I will review one at a time here so he knows I have actually read each thing. His gifts to me are quite overwhelming, so thank you, thank you Touko_no_doriru-san!

Let me also take a moment to thank Sakuta-san for the PreCure toys and Horai-san, for the awesome doujinshi. I shall share them with everyone at Yuricon.

And thank you Masako-san for the lantern and strap, Sparkle for the t-shirt and Donna and Serge for the calendar!

Hey…I think I like this micro-fame thing. Getting presents is cool. ^_^

For the rest of the morning, we mostly packed and waited for Rica to come by, so we could give her some stuff and she could give us some stuff.

We had a very emotional and tearful exchange in our room. I think that Rica Takashima is quite possibly the most amazing person on the planet. I can say that, because we arm wrestled to see who was more amazing and I won the match (on both arms, thank you) so I get to say that she is the most amazing person ever. I will never be able to thank her enough for all she has done – but I’ll try. I’ll start by making her famous and we’ll see where we go from there.

Now I will finish this blog, and this chapter of history, at the Narita airport. We are about to board the plane to go home, but I think its fair to say that a great deal of my heart will remain here in Tokyo.

One last note: When I arrived in Japan, the cherry trees were blooming. The day I returned to NJ, the cherry trees were blooming. I’d like to pretend that there’s some deep symbolism in that. ^_^

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