Thursday, May 08, 2014

Tokyo Evening

I can't tell if I woke up at 6 am due to jet lag, or because the seagulls are too loud, or simply because my sleep pattern of the last 2 days has been way weird.

Sleeping on the floor, even on a futon, even on a futon on top of a one inch piece of foam, is still sleeping on the floor, not that different from camping inside. The main distraction was when the neighboring roommates came home at around 11pm, and spent the next 3 hours doing loud things. There was a lot of shuffling and scraping the floor and clomping (even though shoes are left at the door) which can be heard and felt through the shared floor that my head was resting on. At 2 am I went out to the shared downstairs bathroom (this apartment is a duplex) and they had 2 mattresses in the hall (how come I can't get one if those?) and all the house lights were on. By morning all the lights were off and the mattresses were gone.

I chose my first restaurant meal very carefully. The choices were endless arrays of small places offering sushi, yakitori, ramen, and some with no photos of the food so who knows what they were. I chose based on two criteria: photos of the food so I could point, and more than 2 people eating, preferably all Asian looking so it might be a popular local eatery. None of the menus had English.

I sat down at one of two chairs remaining, facing a wall with a diagram of Korean games that included archery and ring tossing. I also knew it was Korean because they had metal chopsticks, which I've only  encountered in NY at Dok Suni, a Korean restaurant on First Avenue that I just heard is shutting down. I looked it up on Yelp to confirm but there were no reviews.

I immediately knew I had made a mistake because those metal chopsticks are a slippery nightmare. I'm a spaz. But I was there, and the waiter spoke English, and everyone was bowing and polite so leaving wasn't an option. I asked what the neighboring table was eating and he described it as a seafood soup. $10. I'll take it. When the big bowl arrived, the foursome at the table next to me made sympathetic sounds about how steamy hot it was as I swished it around with a long spoon. So they were watching certain failure at eating soup with metal chopsticks. And sure enough my first attempt slipped right back in the bowl. The waiter immediately brought a fork. I felt like such a goon. But I got better at it and resisted the fork the whole way. I also didn't eat those weird side dishes that were set in front of me, they looked spicy hot.

After dinner I strolled up and down the main street where I'm staying (no street names that I can figure out, but there are numbers that might be street indicators), resisting turning lest I get lost. However I was attracted down a side street to stores that looked open at 9:30, displaying high stacks of bikes, tissues and other dry goods, while most everything else was closed. I would say "locked down tight" but not really. Nothing here is locked up. The closed stalls in the side streets are covered with plastic tarp, shut with a string, the merchandise clearly still right there, one knot away from being hauled off by looters. 

I went into what I think is called Don Quixote, a store that went on and on and on, with an aisle for every thing imaginable, unimaginable, recognizable and unrecognizable. Very little was in English. There was makeup, lotions, snack food, camping equipment, computers, TVs, color contact lenses, condoms, Hermes bags ($700), cat toys, workout clothes, dumbbells, toilet paper, towels, futons and so on. Also, every few aisles had a small video blaring cartoon voices, selling something loud.

The rooms kept appearing anew at every corner. I need to buy makeup because I forgot to bring some, and I'm meeting people for dinner and don't want to look like the unsightly mess I am but I couldn't figure out the colors of the pencils or mascara so I didn't buy anything, and was scared to open the package to find some ungodly green or blue eye pencil.

And lastly, I passed a nightclub featuring boy bands. It couldn't tell if it was meant for teen girls or gay men so I didn't venture inside. Later, the door was open and I saw inside. It was a small theater filled with young girls milling about after the show. The last show was at 8:00 so I had missed it anyways. Here are the cuties who were playing:

1 comment:

christine bastoni said...

Im with you, Sistah! Love your guts. This is an amazing thing you're doing. Do it up!