Archive for May 23rd, 2010

Clothes in Japan

I guess I should say the lack there of.  I am not saying that there is no clothes in Japan, I’m just saying that there is none that will fit me.  I’ve tried on several items and from what I can tell, I need to buy everything in at least and XL.  Although, some XL shirts were still too small.  The petite Japanese male figure and feminine stature frustrates me.  My broader American chest has inhibited me from buying some rather cool jackets and hoodies.  The only shirt I was able to fit in completely was a shirt made baggy for fashion purposes.  The shirt is awesome and I did buy it, but it was in no way my favorite item in the stores we have been in.  One jacket in particular stood out to me.  I tried it on and my broader shoulders nearly ripped the seams.  Sadly, it did not come in any size larger than L and I was forced to leave it there.  It is now destined for some scrawny Japanese teenager

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Akihabara

Akihabara is not all that appears to be at a distance.  After walking the streets and visiting several stores, I have concluded that this is a perverted district.  I have seen electronic stores.  I have seen video games and arcades.  There is anime and manga.  The disturbing thing is that no matter what store you go to you will find some porn.  Most places look innocent.  The first floor is everything that you would expect, but watch yourself as you walk up the stairs the floors above.  Hentai posters and body pillows liter the stores.  The most disturbing aspect is the age depicted in most of their “art”.  Most of the hentai everywhere appears to display young girls.  I realize they claim to be over 18, but seriously.  None of this would stand a chance back in the United States.  And I’m only talking about the stores that appear innocent at first.

Part 2:  I revisited Akihabara today with Jared and his brother, who has lived in Japan for the last seven years.  My experience there was completely different from the first day.  Traveling with someone who actually knew the good electronics shops changed my whole perspective on Akihabara.  After visiting several computer parts and collectable video game stores, I now know how Akihabara received the title “Electric City”.  Akihabara just became my favorite destination in Japan.

Maid Cafe

Can I say WTF in these blog posts?!  Today was an interesting day indeed.   For our lunch we attended the spectacle that is Maid Cafe.  I still don’t know what to write in this post as I am speechless.  This insane aspect of Japanese culture will forever leave me dazed and confused.  In my personal opinion it was nothing sexual, although it may be for some.  The entire time I was laughing.  The worst part of it all is that people spend so much money here.  The 500 yen cover charge for each guest is a joke, because on top of that drinks and food are still expensive as all get out.  I seen on the menu an 88,000 yen Champaign choice, to which I am assuming the customer is not paying for just drinks.  The only thing I ordered along with most other students was dessert.  The cutesy anime drawings on each dish did not warrant the 900 yen price tag.  This may be considered a legitimate restaurant in Japan, but I can’t imagine ever coming back to one of these places.  Just another example of “CRAZY Japan!”

*image courtesy of RadinYadolahi

Harajuku

The rain is back and in full force.  Today is the day we go to Harajuku, cosplay central.  Unfortunately for us it is raining, yet again.  We are unable to see the full spectacle that normally surrounds Harajuku.  The gloomy weather scares off the cosplay regulars.  Only the hardcore or weather ignorant remain.  While I do spot the occasional pink-haired extremists, there is no doubt in my mind I am missing the true experience.  I cannot stress enough how depressing the weather is.  Walking down the streets I am overwhelmed by the amount of umbrellas around me.  Just like the first night, umbrellas from passing locals slap into my face.  It seems like I am the worst height for Japan.  Being just slightly taller than the majority, my eye-line matches up perfectly with umbrellas held high.  I swear I could lose an eye just meandering down the streets, minding my own business.

Tokyo Disney

“Mickey Mouse.  Donald Duck!”  Today we made our way to Tokyo Disneyland.  On our first free day in Japan, a small group of students from the program, along with myself decided to visit what is called “the happiest place on Earth.”  I feel that this expression may be a little exaggerated.  Tokyo Disney was much smaller than I expected.  I have traveled to Disney World in Florida several times and my experiences between the two varied immensely.  Instead of going on vacation and noticing the foreigners grouping together of by themselves, we were the foreigners, we were the outsiders.  It was interesting walking around not knowing what others were saying.  The layouts of the Disney parks are the same, but the experience within are different.  It was bizarre being in a familiar place but feeling lost.  My day was thoroughly enjoyable, save for the long lines.  I cannot think of a better way to spend my free day.