Liou's quiet little life...or is it?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Domo arigato!

Now that I am more or less at the same spot, my inspiration for this weblog has suddenly decreased :) The Transsiberian has been a pretty wild trip of course, so Japan seems very quiet and fairylike compared to it.

I spent my last days with my grandparents going through photobooks and found some really cool pictures of my granddad when he was still studying and when he was a soldier during the 2nd World War. Of course, those times seem far away, but the japanese version is even more typical and exotic. The pictures you see are all portraits of my grandfather, except for the blurred one, which was one of his friends. Before I left, they made sure I would come back, very sweet people indeed.

I have been staying at my uncle's and aunt's house so far. And they have optical internet, fantastic! Well, that's when I realize I am pretty well much internet-addicted :) Trying to catch up on the email with everybody person by person...

Two days ago I met Heather, Alex, Lisa, Ayako and her husband John in Shibuya, Tokyo. Ayako and husband left early for Nagano, but I spent the rest of the evening and night with the others. They were staying in Ikebukuro, a pretty lively district with a lot of entertainment. We had some drinks in an Irish pub ran by an Iranian guy (!), and after this some pool. And inevitably some karaoke :D This turned out to be pretty cheap actually: about 12 euro each for one hour with free drinks. Great fun anyway singing classics such as "Mr.Wendal", "Smells like teen spirit" or "Hotel California" :) I missed the last train and eventually stayed in the ryokan with Alex and Heather (ryokan= japanese style hotel, where you sleep on the ground on tatami and futon).

Next day accompanied Heather and Alex to the train station bound for Narita airport, near Ueno. Took the opportunity to walk around the park, which was completely packed as yesterday was a national holiday. I wanted to go to the National Japanese Art museum, which contains an excellent collection of kimono, weapons, makie (=lacquerware) and other traditional japanese crafts. But due to the amount of people I decided to head to Akihabara, Electric Town, after seeing a nice quiet temple.

Pretty strange decision, since that place probably much more crowded and certainly more noisy than Akihabara. Anyway, videogames still attract me, even if I don't play them at home. They have a lot of games on trial, for the geeks in the audience: biohazard 4 and soulcalibur 3 for example. And then they have the arcade halls, with some really weird / innovative machines. This time, the hype is all about controlling some games with real cards instead of a joystick. They had war and soccer games where you can control your players or soldier by buying corresponding plastic cards and moving them around on your table. Japanese gamemakers don't fail to surprise me...

A bit more than a week before I start to work, looking forward to it....


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