Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Oki-na Gaijin, Chisai-na Kuni (Big Foreigner, Small Country) #7

March 26 - Ueno and Ginza

A bit of a later start today - up at 8 and then off to Ueno to shop at Ame Oko. Ame Oko was a black market area established during the American occupation after WWII. It’s not a black market area any more but it is a very popular place to shop for deals. Colleen absolutely loved it. So did Yoichi so quite a few omiyage (presents) were purchased and we all left with many bags.

This picture shows Keiko in front of a place that makes manju - buns with sweet bean paste inside. I don’t like them.

We then headed to Ginza - very fancy stores and hip people. Colleen managed to find some trendy shoes while I bought a bright yellow walled in a bargain store.

We stopped at the Lion Beer Hall for lunch. It was an odd fusion of German and Japanese cuisine. For example, I had a chicken and onion dish which seemed German but had a soy based dipping sauce. Colleen had Chinese dumplings, cheese spring rolls, and french fries! Still, it was pretty good. The picture shows me between Yoichi and Ando-san - notice how they’re both smoking.

This building is actually twisted - there’s no special effect.

We went into a Nissan store and everyone was talking about the new GTL. It wasn’t until I returned to Canada that I realized that it was actually the new GTR!

After lunch, we headed back to Kinshicho by taxi because Yoichi’s feet hurt. We all went back to the massage clinic and had a combo shiatsu and foot massage. It was wonderful although my daughter found it to be a bit strange.

While we were waiting for Yoichi, I thought I’d show Colleen a pachinko parlour. Pachinko is a game where you buy metal balls and put them in a machine similar to a pinball machine and try to win more balls. Then you cash in your metal balls for some objects (flints, for example) and then go to a booth nearby and exchange the object for money. This is all to evade the gambling rules in Japan. Unfortunately, the pachinko parlour was completely packed, extremely smokey, and so cacophonously loud that I couldn’t stand it!

We had dinner at a restaurant called Tsukiji Sushi and ate our fill. It was good and I stayed away from anything really odd. We then went back to Yoichi’s for a night cap and then retired, content and full after yet another super day.


Heinz & Frenchie said...

Shiatsu and foot massage, now that is heavenly. The gambling sounds funny with the work around that they have figured out.

Dave Dixon said...

heinz and frenchie

Yes, it was wonderful, although just a little painful. I did nod off a couple of times, though!

The gambling is interesting but so noisy and smoky that I couldn't stand it - and I don't usually mind some smoke or some noise!