A Somewhat Wasted Day…

I actually slept in for way too long this morning—until 10:30—some of the waste was my fault. But after finally hauling myself out of bed, I decided to make a visit to see the Ginza and particularly the Apple store there (of course!). At first I got a bit lost (I confused the Yellow Subway line with the Yellow JR line—oops) but finally found my way. It’s a very cool store with 5 floors connected by an automatic glass elevator. I even sat in for a while and listed to one of the Apple Experts teach a class about Final Cut Express. I was actually very proud of myself, because I could totally understand what he was saying, even if it did range toward the technical side.

After that, I wanted to get some more traditional-type souvenirs for everybody, so Makoto-san suggested I visit Asakusa. I did, and it was just the ticket. Of course, if I’d done my shopping somewhere other than here with the higher Tokyo prices it would have been better. Oh well—I’ll remember for next trip. I then had to zoom back to Nakano to the apartment where I was supposed to meet Makoto at 4:00. On the way, I bought a box at the Post Office to send home yet another package of goodies. There was a big line there, so I was a bit late getting back.

However, Makoto-san was also very late. First, an email saying he’d be there after 4:30 but then he finally showed up closer to 7:00. I spent the time packing my bags and watching TV. When he got there, he said the trains were all jammed up because of a “Human Accident”—a euphemism for that other thing in Japan I never want to witness: someone committing suicide by jumping in front of a train. He had to go out and investigate because it was near one of their other apartments.

By the time he finally got back, it was quite late so all we had time for was dinner. It’s too bad things turned out like this because I could have used the almost 4 wasted daylight hours doing something else. Shoganai…

I guess one bright spot was that I spent some time watching Japanese TV—always interesting. But there was this game show on where they were asking a panel of guests things about various very Japanese things. The first topic was about different kinds of Donburi—a delicious dish with various things on top of a bowl of rice. It was pretty interesting. But the really amazing one was the next topic with questions about what three artisans—one working with bamboo, one with wood and one with wagashi handmade paper—were busy making. Turns out that they were handmade traditional umbrellas. It was absolutely amazing seeing the level of skill and artistry going into them. I may have to buy one someday, though they’re understandably expensive (like on the order of $200.00). They’re absolutely beautiful though.

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