The last time I was in Japan was in 2008. My friend had just arrived back in Japan and I wanted to maximize our time together before I left for the States the next day.
We stayed up all night and she showed me the seedy parts of Shinjuku, which is a part of Tokyo. We went to a club where we women sat lined up under numbers and men chose from us based on how attractive we looked. The men and women were only allowed to interact by talking or flirting, nothing more. My friend and I were the odd ones there, since we weren’t drunk nor were we meek like the other women. My friend put on her intimidating stance while I just felt amused by the scene. “See these guys? They’re all gross here,” said my friend.
Next, my friend took us to an underground bar where she was friends with the bartender. We ate a little snack as she chatted with him in the empty bar. Also, luckily in Tokyo, all-night karaoke existed, so we went to one karaoke place to sing until 5am.
We were already exhausted when the sun came up, but we were also hungry. We went to McDonald’s, ate breakfast amongst drunk patrons, and took the train back home. We were both full of adrenaline by this point.
We briefly went back to her apartment to relax a bit and so I could pack up the last of my luggage. I had been without sleep for 24 hours or more; she had been without sleep for much longer. We were growing delirious yet we pushed on, visiting a few small stores to get a few more things for my friends back home before we parted ways at the train station.
Immediately when I took the train to Narita Airport, I fell into a deep sleep. Luckily I was able to wake up in time to get off the train and get on my flight. That plane ride over the Pacific was spent sleeping most of the time, but also chit-chatting with my seatmate and helping her with her English (while I pretended to be Japanese and responded to her in Japanese).
It was an exhilarating experience, to stay up that whole final night before leaving for the US. I can’t say that was the longest I’d been without sleep, but it’s certainly one of my more memorable all-nighters.
Today was one of my (few) days off, and I spent it at my friends’ house. Their roommate had a great idea to have a sushi party for the evening, so we prepared all the raw fish/toppings and cooked a lot of rice. There were five of us eating around a small table in their living room; we had all sorts of sushi, including unagi (eel), maguro, uni, and lots of others. I felt a bit of nostalgia/happiness within me as I enjoyed the camaraderie we had tonight. Cutting up the sashimi, preparing the rice with the rice vinegar, watching dumb funny movies…
I’m a bit turned off by the concept of this “maid cafe” in Culver City, CA. Not saying that I support the authentic maid cafes of Tokyo either, but after reading the article about Royal/T, it actually annoys me to understand that the owner had never stepped foot into a maid cafe in Japan, and that the cafe is decked out in the stereotypical/American view of what “Japan” is. It sounds like a place of real fusion, with tea, curry bowls, and other things included in the place. A real mish-mash, it seems.
The place has only been opened for a month now, so I wonder how well the business is doing. I personally think that if Ms. Susan Hancock (the owner) had wanted the place to be a “Japanese-style” maid cafe, she should have stuck with more Japanese pop culture items rather than make it into some weird fusion.
So…while I was downtown today, I passed by the H&M store and noticed a huge sale going on; I sent a memo to myself (via Twitter) about going back to the store ASAP to take advantage of the sale. I completely forgot about that memo until just now, when I went back to my Twitter page and saw the memo. Then, I decided I would check the H&M website to see if they would have information about the sale…
I clicked “US” and it led to this screencap I am presenting to you. Wait, what? A competition to represent H&M in Tokyo in September? HUH!? I thought at first I had clicked on the wrong country, but hm, I did indeed click on “US”. I didn’t even know about this; so I’m guessing the contest is one of those “submit your own video” and users vote on who will win. Fun! Perhaps I should send in a video….but I feel a little nervous about it. Then again, what do I have to lose?