|Nobody makes hamburger steaks like the Japanese. Nobody.|
Today in class we watched the anime classic Akira, which, again, is one of the reasons this class is awesome. I realised today that pre-contemporary Japanese films don't usually follow a traditional plot structure; that or I'm just too used to Western-style storytelling. Maybe I just don't understand retro films. But it was an interesting film nonetheless, though it stuck to the traditional science-fiction tropes of having a weird god-creation-of-the-universe ending which I completely did not understand. Good luck to Mel, who is writing her final paper on Akira.
I was supposed to go to a casual conversation with the Waseda students today, but I skipped it because over the weekend, I got it in my head that I wanted to purchase a yukata for myself, and I went out to try and look for one. Caryn, the Singapore girl studying at Waseda, came today to crash our screening, and one thing led to another and somehow she ended up bringing be around to help me hunt for yukata. She brought me to Takadanobaba to help me find unique Japanese snacks, and then she dragged me back to Shibuya to help me search for it before meeting her friend for dinner, and then somehow I ended up meeting her friend and joining them for dinner. The world works in mysterious ways.
Also, we passed a pet store, which had the most adorable kittens gambolling around their pens:
Caryn's friend Sae-san is a bubbly Japanese girl who lives on the outskirts of Tokyo, and who Caryn met at a windsurfing event. Again, strangers equals awkwardness, but I gradually opened up and tried talking more. Apparently Sae-san is going to study English at Oxford for a year, and throughout the night Caryn was trying to get her to practise her English on me (also becoming a recurring theme).
They wanted to bring me to this teppanyaki place in Shibuya, and we ended up walking the entirety of the neighbourhood to find the place. We passed one shop which had this book clock, which I found terribly amusing:
|They actually got a guy to flip a bunch of pages sixty times a minute!|
Caryn assured me that this teppanyaki would be nothing like I had before. And again I found I was on the receiving end of some unusual Japanese business practice: apparently our meal was supposed to come with soup, but because we didn't want to order drinks, we were told that "water wouldn't go with the soup", and so they recommended us to hold the soup or order a drink. This is absolutely dumbfounding to me, but I think in the end we decided to forgo the soup. It was made up with some really good fried chicken, hot pot fried rice, and a omusoba, if that even is a real term.
|I recall this tasting a lot like KFC Popcorn Chicken.|
|I picked this!|
We decided to hunt for dessert after dinner, and with the girls being indecisive, we said that we'll just walk into the first dessert place we saw. It turns out that it would be a Lindt chocolate shop, which sold luxury ice creams at luxury prices and which also didn't match their pictures.
|These were all 1.5x bigger in the photographs.|
We had a good time nevertheless, and I really enjoyed my ice cream; you could taste the chocolate that went into it, not the cheap Magnolia kind that you can find in supermarkets, but the really good kind, the expensive kind that costs you 700-yen for a tiny cone such as this.
Caryn and Sae-san were showing some of their photos they took, so I volunteered to show some of my photos as well. That took up most of the night, and before we knew it we were being chased out of the place. Somewhere along the line I also helped Caryn with an interview she had for her rowing club, typed out on her massively lagging phone.
|I'm happy I made new friends!|
I have to give a huge shout-out to Caryn here, who I have to credit for showing me around so many places and helping me translate things and generally being great with helping me search for a yukata (even though I didn't manage to find one; it's not full-blown summer just yet so not many places stock it). She was really open and talkative which I guess made me more comfortable and less nervous as well. I'm really glad to have met her and Sae-san too, hopefully we'll meet again in the future!