Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The last two days (extended remix)
Monday was a relatively quiet day. The highlight was dinner and going home. Me and some friends at the dorm all went out to eat three stations down. Someone thought it would be fun to walk home, because it wasn't that far, and you know what, they were right. It was fun. I had a good time, but I was a little nervous because our walk was taking a lot longer than anticipated and I had to meet up with the dorm manger. We found a train station that was one stop from ours and I kind of bailed on everyone else. Apparently they beat me home, but that's fine because on the way home I bumped into the dorm manager and talked to him about Tuesday. We had a dorm meeting and I couldn't attend because...
On Tuesday I met up with two of the greatest people on the planet.
Two of my friend's friends were in Tokyo at the same time, and one is moving to Dublin today.
They were there with another friend who was pretty damned cool too.
One of these people I talked about earlier, the other one is just as much of a super hero as her friend. She is Japanese but lives in London, and has the best voice/accent combination I've ever heard. Her voice is so great, even when she speaks Japanese that I don't understand, it was great to listen to. But when she spoke English, it was in this amazing British accent that just had me melting.
Anyways, all 4 of us met up in this cool cafe and we had a great time hanging out and talking. It truly was fabulous. The cafe did have a bit of Engrish in it, which I felt the urge to share:
We did a little walking around Roppongi, which is the area of Tokyo that's known for having the most foreigners. In the process, I saw this magazine:
I may not be a magazine expert, but I always thought a magazine was made out of paper and could be carried around easily. This was a big store, which was not made out of paper and it couldn't be moved easily at all.
Anyways, our goal was not this magazine, it was Cold Stone Creamery. For those of you who are American, I'm sure you know what Cold Stone is, but for those of you who aren't, it's an ice cream store where they custom mix ice cream by hand for you. The ice cream is not bad, but there was a time when I got a lot of Cold Stone ice cream for free, so I overdosed a little on it. It was better than I remember, but the highlight was not the ice cream.
The other thing that they do at Cold Stone in America is whenever you tip them they sing a song, which is for the most part pretty dumb and hokey, but funny anyways. Japan is not a tipping culture, so I was quite curious to see if they would sing here anyways, and they did. And it was amazing. The songs they sang were in "English", and I can't stress the quotations enough. This isn't my video but the location is the same, so please, check it out:
Anyways, after Cold stone, all 4 of us went to Tokyo station, where I had to bid a sad farewell to one of my good good friends. I'm sure she will have a great life in Dublin, but even though I only hung out with her twice, she will be sorely missed.
So, then me and my other new friend enjoyed the sights, sounds, and tastes of Tokyo station.
I was shocked to find that Tokyo station is about as opposite of Shinjuku station as possible. Sure, Tokyo station is big, but unlike Shinjuku, it is incredibly old, as in it dates back to pre-WWII times, and it's built in a very European style, unlike Shinjuku (or almost everywhere else) which is very modern and Japanese.
It's also under construction and is in need of repair, which it is thankfully getting.
Again, this is completely opposite of Shinjuku which is very well maintained and quite clean for it's size and daily traffic. Finally, when you step outside of Tokyo station, you see boring office buildings and no blinking lights and flashing signs, while around Shinjuku you are almost blinded by the sheer volume of lights in every direction at almost all of its over 200 exits.
Anyways, after a while, my new, dear friend and I went our separate ways, and I sincerely hope we meet up again in the very near future.
On an extended note, I feel I need to clarify the phrase "What's up?" for my non-native American English speaking friends. "What's up?" is a non-question. It's completely throw away English with no real purpose and meaning except as a way to invite someone to start a conversation. "What's up?" can mean "What's going on?" or "What are you doing?" or "What do you want to talk about?". It does NOT mean "How are you doing?" So, answering with "fine" or "Not so good" or something along those lines is about the only way you can answer that question incorrectly. If I say "What's up?" the expected, boring response is "Not much." however, you can easily substitute whatever is on your mind instead of that boring, cliche phrase.
Today was the first chance I've had to just relax at home, so I made dinner, played video games, did some homework, talked on the phone to someone special, and just unwound. There's nothing really interesting to report, and that's okay.