Archive for June, 2015

Old Friends – Returning to Tokyo

Tokyo. Wake up. 8:30 AM.

Got in the night before, delayed flight. Got Yen. Crashed at 3AM.

Shower. Breakfast. Out the door.

The mission:

Visit old friends: Places I’ve been missing since 1999, when I left here. Two of my favorite restaurants in the world. Akihabara Denkimachi (Lightning-Town). Find an otaku shop: See if I can connect with Tokyo board-game culture.┬áVisit the Kinokunia bookstore: See if the toilets there are still lit up with more glowing controls than a science fiction set.

First stop: Akihabara. Not finding the electronics parts stores of old, where folks would stand over racks and racks of specialized components. Did I miss the right turn off the main street, or has that moved to Huachangbei in Shenzhen?

Well, here’s an arcade, let’s get a game in at a sit-down machine.

Nerd stores: Well, this is awesome. Look at all these mecha kits. Look at all these random parts in baggies, so you can kit-bash your mecha.

I think this miniature giant robot would defeat alien invaders much better with just a few changes.

I think this miniature giant robot would defeat alien invaders much better with just a few changes.

Mission: Find boardgames in Tokyo: Failed.

Lunch: Find my favorite old soba stand. That was 14 years ago. The guy who ran it was old. Can it still be there? It was at the corner of a tiny alley out of an exit from a train station that defies the laws of geometry.

Yes, my feet still know the way.

I found the alley. I found the right exit from Shinjuku station, found the right alley... my feet still know the way. It should be ahead, on the left...

Found the right exit from Shinjuku station, found the right alley… my feet still know the way. It should be ahead, on the left…

It’s still there. Two young guys are running it tonight.

It’s just like I remember. The best soba in the world. 380 yen for a bowl, tempura and an egg on top.

The one change is, more people know about it now. There was never a line to get a seat before.

The one change is, more people know about it now. There was never a line to get a seat before.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments