Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Neons Signs at the Ginza

All night the air conditioner kept on spewing smoke-scented air. My polo shirt that I had washed yesterday and hung on a clothes hanger smells like tobacco! When we left the room, the maids and cleaners greeted us cheerily. The owners are really making an effort to jazz up the appearance of this place. They put up cute room numbers on door and tourism posters on the wall. I even saw anti-violence posters on wall warning yakuza in Japanese not to come. But the red carpet has to go!

Outside, it was quite chilly as strange cold front had entered Tokyo. But I will gladly take this weather over any hot temperature. We both went off to Tokyo University and studied in the library. When I was sick and tired of reading Japanese, I went upstairs to visit my mentor Yoshimi sensei. I had sent an email to him earlier, but no response. I knocked on his office door, and when he opened it, he seemed genuinely shocked to see me. Yoshimi-sensei is a truly busy man. His office is huge, and he has two assistants to help him with his work. He had two conferences coming up, one tomorrow and one on Saturday. I wonder where he gets his energy from? We spoke for ten minutes, and then he had to get back to work.

For dinner, we ate at the Tokyo University cafeteria. If you want to save money in Japan, eat at university cafeterias. They are very cheap - actually ridiculously cheap, reasonably delicious, and quite filling. I decided to splurge and ordered a set meal plus a side order of hayashi rice. Price? $8.00 for me, great considering I ate two meals.

Yoko needed to buy some clothes, so we went to the Uniqlo in Ginza. The Ginza at night just lights up with neon. And there are elegantly dressed women everywhere. We are not talking the funky Tokyo fashions, but rather the Gucci, DKNY, and Vutton type of crowd. All women with perfect makeup, hair perfectly in place (not a single stray strand), and impossibly slim. It is so bright out in the Ginza district, with all that neon!

On our return to Asakusa, we went to an Internet café. For a hundred yen ($0.90) every fifteen minutes, you can rent a cubicle, and surf the Net, play video games, or read their extensive library of manga and soft porn. Soft drinks are free. So this is a better bargain than a coffee house but unlike Starbucks, you have to put up with a lot of tobacco smoke! I finally manged to create a blog and began uploading my entries, when I realized that I left most of my stuff in my laptop which I checked in at the front desk.

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