So apparently I do like shopping – just not the kind most people mean when they say the word. Because Nakano Broadway? The made my geek-lined heart soar!
Nakano Broadway. What is it? I'll tell you what it is – a mecca for all things terrible and geeky. Think of that nerdy basement dweller, and his collection of comics, figurines, and other assorted things most people's mothers threw out when they were away at camp in the fifth grade. Now picture well over three dozen stores packed with that stuff, laid out in just about the same way, now picture that on three floors and you'll have an idea of what Nakano Broadway is.
The thing is – you need to make your way down the shopping hallway to even reach its hallowed doors. And this is a problem because there is a sock shop on the way, and it has been discovered that sock purchasing is the most painfully side tracking thing possible. Sure, you don't think they have any value, but you're wrong. Do you want the regular socks? Toe socks? The Ninja socks with the one split in them for the big toe? And what style do you want?
A few years ago this would have destroyed me as well – when I teach drama I try to keep it real by wearing wacky socks. No shoes in the drama room, please.
But now? Now I just looked and thought wistfully. I accept that I am unemployed and may remain that way for some time once I return back to Canada. I'm not sure how long that will last – or what I'll do. Sure I'll make the moves to go back into teaching, because I quite like it, but if there is a problem getting a job, well there are other things I could be doing with my life. I'm sure, yeah?
So socks – not so important to me, though I understood their draw.
Next up? Wacky t-shirt place. It offered me a washroom, so I was all for that. I can appreciate t-shirts too, but a XL here, is like a medium back in Canada, and – well – look at me. That just won't cut it. So T-Shirt store is also of little desire. However, making sure I'll never fit into any of those clothes, I made my way to a Mackers for two McChickens and a Lemon Shaka Shaka Chicken (The most delicious McTreat of them all... Think about a Spicey Chicken patty in a bag, with lemon powder, that you shake and shake (or shaka shaka) until it's covered. That is an epic treat! Now think of putting the two McChickens together, and throwing in the lemon one to make Ultra Chicken delux.
Combining 100yen menu items to create monstrous creations is a wonderful new hobby of mine, I'm discovering. And it leads to tasty treats. In Japan they know how much mayo really belongs on their food. Bless their clogged hearts.
At long last it was decided that we would split up for a few hours and meet back. There is no way to stay together inside this place. And Mike's Girlfriend? I think she had better things to do than look at toys for the next few hours. I mean I can't imagine what girl wouldn't want to spend hours and hours going through the things I saw – but apparently some people just aren't into it. Crazy, I know.
So off I went to find the strange and bizarre that was being offered to me in this mall. What did I find? Well my first purchase was a little figure of two old people canoodling, naked, with each other for 200yen. Creepy, weird, and only from Japan. That's the way I approach things. Next up, I grabbed a Kingdom Heart's figure. For hours I searched through bags of opened capsule toys, and crazy wacky things, and just thought about how I wanted them all. And I also thought about how much I wish I just travelled here so I could bring home a pack of souvenirs. Again, it's probably for the best that that option wasn't open to me – but, you know, a boy can dream can't he?
For hours none of us ran into each other. It wasn't until just at the end that I saw Stew, and he suggested I leave the third floor. I guess that makes sense. But I needed the time just to see these things. There were eight different Mandarake stores here! None of them sold Layton. I had decided, after days of wishing and searching, that if I ever see him again I will just buy him – waiting is stupid, and subway fare to get out to a better deal would destroy the deal.
Layton! Why didn't I buy you before?!
And there, right on the second floor, between the Alien bust, and the Predator sculpture, just behind the – well – I'll leave those descriptions for my Akiba entry – there was Layton. Only 2200. I could deal with that. Done and done! Purchased, and escape! Back to the group meet up.
But this group meet up would have to wait, as Tsang, Tonia, and I were showed a picture of Stew's Ice Cream cone. Off we ran to get one for ourselves.
You need to understand this is no normal ice cream. This ice cream cone was bigger than my head, with eight different flavours soft-served on top of each other. This was the ice cream cone you dreamed about as a small child, but you could never convince your parents to get for you. It was under four dollars. Under four dollars! What could go wrong?
Ten minutes into eating it, I'll tell you what could go wrong. I had suffered through six levels of ice cream headache. Mike and Tonia, sharing, were at the same place I was enjoying every bite. I was on a mission to devour before it melted into nothing. Also – I have a beard. One foot of ice cream leaves terrible markers in the hair, so much that an employee came out from behind the counter with tissues, looking me in the eye stating, “perhaps you need a napkin?”
This does not happen. Japanese people, in my experience, will not suggest things to others, or make eye contact. I hardly ever catch people giving me looks in this country. They're ninjas at it! But this lady – all the way from behind the counter. I was a sight, to be sure.
Five minutes, and two more head aches later, I was polishing off my painful treat, just before Mike and Tonia had their last delicious bites. Jerks. Sharing. That's not the real way to do it.
They asked if Katherine would have shared it with me. Maybe – but more likely, we'd goad each other into buying one and then race to see could finish it first, health and safety thrown to the wind. Am I looking forward to this race, over a year from now? Somewhat. Other parts are dreading it.
And now I know why parents never let their small children have these cones. Still, if I have a child and they ask for one, you better be sure they'll get it. Learn your lesson through pain. Just like when they ask for chocolate, I'll give the 100% dark. That'll learn em!
Eventually things died down and we met up, ice cream in the past (and being craved, pain forgotten) then off to Ikebukuro to find some food.
Well we went to find an underground shopping complex, but failed. Then found an English pub where for six bucks we could have fish and chips. Look Japan, I know you think you know how to deep fry things, but that was not fish and chips! That was tempura fish. You better believe there's a difference. And putting pickles in Mayo does not make tartar sauce!
Still, you were a good meal, and less than six bucks. And you tried real hard, so there's that too. Still, fish and chips? Please.
As we all headed in our own ways to nap, planning on karaoke later in the night, it slowly dawned on us all that this would not happen. After all this rushing around, there was no way a nap could ever end. There would be no karaoke, just sleep – sweet sweet slumber.
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