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Chris Weldon

A savvy software engineer and agilist, Chris slings code in C#, but has also been known for commanding fleets of systems. He's currently a Tech Lead at Wolters Kluwer.

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Today was our first day in Tokyo - being able to do stuff at least. Last night we checked into the hotel & got dinner at Jonathan’s Family Restaraunt - a chain here in Tokyo (at least). Let me continue on with my previous rants before I talk about today’s adventures.

What I was previously was going to say were Japanese who drive cars are insane. This was spun off several near-accidents I saw as well as how our shuttle bus driver was driving us. He would typically weave inbetween lanes, and come right up on cars. Several cases I thought he was going to sideswipe others as well as others sideswipe him. The driving of everyone in Kyoto was frustrating, even from a passenger’s point of view. So, with Kyoto’s driving being that bad, I can only imagine what downtown Tokyo driving would be like.

But, let me add to this rant by saying most Japanese seem to treat Gaijin in a more assholish way that makes me want to backhand most of them.

  1. For starters, when walking on a crowded street, Melissa and I typically try to stay together. However, occasionally interweaving Japanese will cut us off from one another with blind disregard. It definitely slows our pace. This also happens in Subway and JR stations.
  2. Japanese are assholes when it comes to the subways. Normally, people exiting the subway go first then people getting on go after everyone has exited. Here in Japan? Nope! How about everyone go at the same time! It really pisses me off...
  3. Staring is a problem in West Japan. Kazukosaid they might be more intrigued and friendly, but Melissa and I found more Japanese giving us ugly stares as oppsed to smiles when they saw us in the Hiroshima and Okayama area. In Kyoto and Tokyo we were simply ignored.

Well, enough ranting. On to today’s adventures.

We started @ 9AM by going to Otemachi station, near the Imperial Palace. Sadly, the first entrance was closed. Next? Closed. Next? SAme. We went all the way around the palace to find out that everywhere was closed! I was so disappointed, until we reached the entrance before the one we first past (essentially the last entrance). Keep in mind it took us an hour and nearly a 4KM walk to get to this point, but we did it. This entrance was finally admitting people! We were hungry as we hadn’t eaten breakfast, but we stifled our hunger on account that we would actually get into the palace grounds. We went in where we passed a security checkpoint with friendly police. We went up to an area where lots of Japanese were gathering. We waited for 15 minutes and then the Emporer and his family made an appearance. There had to be about 2000+ Japanese and other guests in this area. He said 2 sentences inbetween cheering and left. We departed and made it to the subway by 11:30-11:45AM.

We decided first to go to Ueno, as it had a rather large park. We instead stopped at Akihabara to do some shopping, but more importantly: food. We found this italian food restaraunt and got a good meal for 2 for about 2000 Yen. We tehn went into a 9 story shopping center called Yodobashi. This was the most massive electronics store I had seen. It completely beat out Fry’s Electronics in size and capacity. Melissa and I went from floor to floor checking out home electronics, cameras, PC’s, and games. One impressive TV I saw was a 106” LCD (or plasma). Picture clarity was beautiful! Price was about right: 5,700,000 Yen. We went upstairs to look for myself a Nintendo DS and get a couple of games. Sadly, I was disappointed as they were sold out of DSes. There had to be 1500+ on this floor alone looking at games. We bought a couple of games and pouches for Melissa’s DS (and the one I will eventually get) and set out searching for one. I was really bummed out at this point and Melissa could tell. I should have bought my DS when I had the chance. sighs and feels depressed Today is like America’s Black Friday, only 100x worse since practically all of Tokyo’s population is out shopping. I don’t know why I’m so depressed either: I know I can get a DS in the states. I guess its being able to say I bought it in Japan along with getting a Japanese only version that intrigues me.

Melissa and I went walking for what seemed like the next 3 hours looking for another store that might carry the DS, only to find no stores around. It was mainly clothing & food markets we walked into. It was interesting to see the other shopping districts and to note that Japan actually has hawkers for their stores! This is something you don’t see in the states.

We went back to the Akihabara area to see if we could find any other stores. I went back into the Yodobashi store and they updated their signs to say they had DSes! I was thrilled! I ran up the escalators to get in line to wait for one. Sure enough, behind the counter they had boxes of DSes in the store (though I didn’t see the navy color that I wanted). But, the next thing came as being more depressing: the line had managed to wrap itself all the way around the store. IE about 500 people where in that line and I could get almost all of them were there for the DS. I said ‘To hell with it’ and we went to 3 more stores before giving up and going back to the hotel. Now I remember why I hate shopping: it fucking frustrates me! If I could be the only one in the store it would make me happy. Oh wait, that’s called the internet! I’m probably not going to go back like I thought I might late tonight, except for food. I can almost guarantee they will either be sold out or the line will still be too long. They had to have police organizing the line.

Well, the sun has officially set here in Tokyo and I have one piece of advise to end this entry. If you have a choice on when to come to Japan, DON’T COME ANYWHERE NEAR NEW YEARS! You’ll be miserable with the lack of open businesses, reduced train service, and impossible shopping lines. The sales are not even that great. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.