Tokyo Tales and Random Utterings on Comiket

January 7th, 2008

“Man hath better thing to do than to eat drink and be merry.”

This was the quote on the menu of the “Rose and Crown Victorian Pub” in Akihabara. Look at it carefully. Notice the small, two-letter word missing that *completely* changes the meaning? It was on the basis of this misquote that we decided to not eat at the pub, since we had better things to do than eat, drink and be merry. Ultimately, we ended up at a Mos Burger, because I hadn’t ever had a chance to eat at one before.

This was the second day we were in Tokyo. (“We” being myself, my beloved wife, our friend and one of my best lackeys, Bruce. and the wife’s friend Barbara and her mother Linda.)

The first day, as I reported, we spent the day looking for the Comike catalog, and diving into 105 yen doujinshi bins.

The second day, we went back to Akihabara to shop and to see if we could find Bruce a catalog. We failed at the latter (as I suspected) but we shopped until we were exhausted. This is easier than it sounds because they keep the stores at a toasty 78 degrees. It exhausts one quickly.

After our Mos Burgers (I had the amusingly named “Spicy Mos Burger” knowing full well it wouldn’t really be anything like spicy, since I had just been in Mexico and Japan really doesn’t know what “spicy” means) we crawled home, too tired to appreciate the maid costumes and Goth-Loli walking by.

I have to say. I’ve come to a new appreciation of Gothic Lolita. While it really isn’t my taste, all those frills and fripperies, I think the people who wear it are on to something. It’s *like* cosplay, but isn’t. They can walk around the streets in it, carefree in their sense of self-worth and be different, while managing to be fashionable and not freakish all at once. It’s pretty much the win look for the young Japanese rebel. You don’t even need a gang to make you look less dumb and anyone walking next to you gets powerup points off your charm. I approve.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took and some things I jotted down that pretty much have nothing to do with the pictures. By the way – click on the pictures for larger versions. These are really small and hard to see.

On New Year’s Day, the first shrine we went to was the Toyokawa Inari Shrine. This was the wife’s request. She has collected a nice skulk of kitsune which are arranged decoratively around the house. I have no objection to them, being a dog person myself, and since she includes Gyuubimon when she feeds them, I think it’s swell.

The first two days we were there, Beat Takeshi was not on TV and we started to worry, but then after that, he was on every night. It’s just not TV in Tokyo if Beat Takeshi is not on. BTW, he sponsored an arts show that came on right before or after the Nodame Cantabile special, about real young musicians.

At Toyokawa, I saw this statue and was just moved to take a picture. After I caught up with everyone, we walked back a bit to it, where the wife pointed and said “that was my offering.” It was kind of interesting that of all of them, that was the one I took a picture of. I also put a yen piece in between the ears of one earless kitsune, who I had the whimsical notion of stealing, taking home and feeding.

This is Bruce, drinking sweet sake because it’s traditional. (If he reads that, he’ll laugh.) Afterwards, we headed for the Tokyo Tower area, as I reported previously, so I could make my hatsumode and we could have yakisoba at the Zojouji. We’ve done that three times, now – it’s a tradition. :-) Also, at Tokyo Tower, we shopped for souvenirs, had a pee and decided to try the much-advertised-on-the-subway McPork sandwich, because we could not imagine it being good. It wasn’t. :-)

I know you all think you know what Comiket is like, but really…you don’t unless you’ve been there. The first day nearly killed the wife, Bruce and I. We were there for less than four hours and we felt like we had dug ditches for 36. It wasn’t just that we were carrying alot. I was, but that wasn’t it. It was just brutal. There are a lot of people and your brain just isn’t used to the navigation necessary. It’s hard to watch where you’re going, look for stuff that interests you and keep an eye out for a particular table you’ve marked down. I came with a list, and because we had the Catalog a couple days early, we were able to add a few things to look for, but the sheer numbers of things to look at and the distances one has to walk nearly broke us. We bought what we wanted and fled. Seriously.

The day after New Year, we went to Asakusa, so I could make my offering to Kannon. I have never seen the Sensouji this crowded. They had moved the bronze incense brazier from the middle of the path – it’s this enormous thing that I didn’t think could be moved. People were getting to the top of the stairs, looking back and saying “sugoi” then taking pictures. I said “wow” and took a picture. Here it is. The path is crowded with people for about another half mile back.

On the second day of Comiket, Bruce and I went one way, while the wife and her friends went another. They left about halfway through the day, Bruce and I plugged our way around lines and took a beating for the team. We held up a lot better, but I had bought so much that my bag weighted about 35-40 pounds.

I literally could feel the moment when my arches fell. lol It was in the middle of the Marimite section. After we stood on line for this bag from UGO (and the stuff inside, of course, but really all I wanted was the bag….)

After we had consumed, we met up with Rica Takashima and Ivy, who was stunning as one of our translators at Yuricon 2005 in Tokyo. We jabbered for a while, Ivy left us, and we collected the wife. Bruce, wifey, Rica and I went out to dinner where we had okinomiyaki and monja. My favorite was the mentaiko and cheese monja, with the tuna and cheese okonomiyaki coming in a close second. The beef and scallion monja and the pork okonomiyaki were both good too, but the mentaiko and cheese one was my fave.

We could see Fuji-san from our room. Here is a day view. It was really a lot clearer than this picture makes it look. But all but the first day or so, we had “Kyou no Fuji-san.”

The third day of Comiket, the line to get in the place was about an hour long. Then we headed right for Atelier Miyabi, Fujieda Miyabi’s circle, expecting another hour long line. But we got through in about 20 minutes. The line for Russian Blue later in the day was longer. We probably went to fewer circles on day three, but had to range more widely to find them, so we crossed all of the east halls, twice and went around the west halls as well. After we were done, we decided to go back to Atelier Miyabi again and get a few more copies of the calendar for gifts. Amazingly, they had some left. Oh, and Iono-sama was selling them! It was so awesome, she had on “Blue” and was flanked by two maids. lol I really wish I was good at stealth photography. Where’s Tsutako when you need her? :-)

I cannot even begin to tell you how crowded the third day was. There was one intersection that was just a solid logjam of people. Bruce and I kept looking at each other and laughing, because we were so jammed in, that the only thing that got us through was the pressure of people from behind. The guy next to me got his hand jammed up uncomfortably against the guy in front of him, but I shifted a bit so he could extract it. He was all right, but looked a little pale. Probably because a foreign female asked if he was okay.

Twice I was bumped so hard I lost my balance. Once, the guy who I slammed into and I turned and apologized seriously at one another, because we hit each other *hard.* The second time I completely lost my footing and started to fall backwards, but was laughing about it. Bruce went to catch me, but I regained my footing just then, so my pride remained intact. We were so battered that day, I was surprised we didn’t come home with bruises. Thank heavens for winter clothing. There is NO way I’m doing a summer Comiket.

Here’s a sunset view. The sun set right behind the mountain every night, which made for breathtaking scenes that photo’ed poorly. Everytime I took a crappy shot, I could feel Tsutako glaring at me in spirit – again. :-)

We had gotten the special Toranoana ceramic cup for buying the catalog there, but we learned Bruce has a thing for cups (he picked up an adorable sake cup at Comiket, as we slogged through the east halls 4-6) so we gave it to him. He and I shared a Big Sight canned coffee set that depicted two girls arriving at BS looking normal, then one going all weird and freaky over a catgirl cosplay while the other looks disconcerted. I liked how they depicted girls doing that, and not otaku. (The cans now live in my work cubicle where they can make me laugh.) Speaking of which, there were way more women at all three days of Comiket than there were five years ago when I first went. Sure, they tend to stay in the BL sections, but almost every line I was on, there were at least some women….except, oddly Russian Blue. You’d think that more women would be in line for Hibiki Reine’s work.

Here’s my random “subway advertisement” photo. It’s for a temp agency, but for some reason, they thought the best representation of the skilled employees they could provide was a cute flan with strawberry sauce, a cherry and whipped cream. I spent the entire trip trying to figure out what went through the ad agency’s mind when they came up with it. Sorry it’s blurry – the train was moving when I took it.

On the last day full day we had in town, Bruce, the wife and I hit up Shibuya for Animate and Mandarake, then went out to Nakano where we had kaitenzushi, which included the best crab legs I’d ever eaten ever, and of course, we bought stuff. :-)

The last day they were in Tokyo, we took Barbara and Linda out for ramen, because that was pretty much the only Japanese food they wanted to try. We ended up at a Korean place, for various reasons, that served delicious, but blisteringly hot, ramen. I liked it, but wow.

Oh, oh – so, *finally* I saw Ayumi Hamasaki perform. And by god, she was one of the worst singers I have ever heard. She didn’t hit a single note of what was a really awful song. I hope she was just having an off night, because she was truly terrible. Her nails had horns. …??

And the last note I have here is this: on the way home from Comiket on day 3, Bruce and I were sitting next to a girl who was crushing on her sempai hugely and obviously. Sempai was a punky little blond number with lots of facial piercings, sunglasses and art school cool. The girl looked at sempai with huge eyes that devoured her, and touched her or something on her belt, her phone, etc, anytime she could. I was trying to not laugh out loud, when sempai was showing her how rough a callous on her hand was, asked kouhai to touch it – and then as kouhai stroked it for about two solid minutes, commenting the entire time how…rough…yes…very…rough.. it was. For pity’s sake, sempai, I hope you sleep with the girl.

There’s my disjointed account of stuff and some pictures. Sorry my internet access was down, so no day-by-day, but you know, mostly we just shopped. ^_^

I’ll start up reviewing again tomorrow, unless work flattens me. :-)

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7 Responses

  1. Rich says:

    Okonomiyaki… *sigh*… I miss modern yaki– it’s your basic okonomiyaki with yakisoba on top. Mmmm. One of my favorite dishes ever, but it needs beer to make it perfect.

    I saw those flan temps when I was in Shinjuku in November. I think one of them got eaten in one of the ads I saw near the JR Shinjuku station. Weird. I hope someone can clue us in on what the deal is with that, unless it’s just the drugs they randomly put in peoples’ water over there.

    Oh, and what hotel did you stay at with such wonderful views? I loved my hotel in Shinjuku, because the views were great of the skyscraper district, but I would have loved to see Fuji-san.

    Good luck getting over the jetlag. It took me 2 weeks to get over feeling dumb and drugged, and 3 weeks to be able to sleep for more than 4 hours at a time. -_-

  2. Miss Green says:

    Did i ever mention how jealous i am? :P I am very much so. sound great…. one day maybe! Love the photos. and rendition of the travel :)

    Take care and dont over do it!

  3. rich – We almost always stay at the Crowne Plaza Metropolitan in Ikebukuro. It’s a nice hotel, with a internationally varied clientele, right across the street from Tobu and the Ikebukuro trainstation….and a very easy walk to Otome Road. Perfect for otaku access. ;-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ayu announced yesterday that her left ear was deafened by sensorineural hearing loss. People say that she can’t stay on key anymore.

  5. anon – That would certainly explain what I heard.

  6. kieli says:

    I almost died laughing about the poor girl with her very obvious crush….poor kid. I agree, I sure hope SOMETHING good came out of said fawning. Must echo Miss Green with the jealousy. Now if I could only get over my fear of flying -_-

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