Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book sale!

The Takashimaya branch of Kinokuniya is having a foreign book sale! I went down to check it out after work today with a friend, and it was great - paperbacks for 400 to 700 yen. I picked up a couple books that I've been wanting to read; four books for only 2000 yen. I should be good for reading material for a while now! They didn't have all the books I've been wanting to read, but they did have a pretty good selection. I picked up a new Stephen Pinker, and a book by this Japanese author I read about who is supposed to be really good; I also picked up Fast Food Nation, just because it seems like everyone but me has read it so I need to hop on the boat, and finally a book by a French author who my friend recommended. I was debating a Poe anthology for 400 yen, but decided against it since I'm pretty sure I can read Poe online.

It seems like there's a new festival happening every weekend here in Tokyo! This Saturday is another fireworks display, this time over the Tama river. One of my friends was trying to get a bunch of people together for it, so I might do that. I won't be wearing my yukata to this one if I go, though! Knowing this friend she'll probably want to go out clubbing after, and yukata aren't exactly made for that, lol. There is, however, a big festival in Azabu-juban the weekend after that I might check out with some people, and it will be yukata time again for that. I'm going to get as much use as I can out of that thing, haha.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Last weekend was pretty busy as well; on Saturday I had planned to go to the beach with a friend, but then we both woke up late, and it was pretty cloudy too, so we ended up not going after all. Instead, we went to an amusement park that's really close to where we live. It's actually only one stop down from Ikuta, where I used to live. It's called Yomiuriland, and it's got a waterpark with pools and slides and stuff, and then it's also got rollercoasters and other rides. So we hit the waterpark first, and I finally was able to wear my new swimsuit, yay. We saw some really, really dark Japanese guys there; it was crazy just how tanned they were. Of course, the majority of the people there were pasty white. Japanese shun the sun. You see a lot of parasols here, people actually use them to keep the sun off.
Then on Sunday I went to see the Tokyo Bay fireworks with another friend. It was sooo crowded, it must have taken at least half an hour just to get to the viewing area after we got to Kachidoki station just because of the massive crowd all making their way to the same spot. Then when we got there we realized that neither of us had thought to bring a sheet or something to sit on, lol. So we ended up just sitting on the ground in our yukata! It was fun though, the fireworks were good (even though you can't tell from my pictures). Then after, we wanted to eat monjayaki, which the area we were in is apparently famous for, but everyone else had the same idea and all the restaurants were totally full, so we ended up heading back to Shinjuku and eating at an izakaya there instead. I want to try monja now though, I always thought it was just the same as okonomiyaki but my friend was like, no, they're different. Aw, I'm totally hungry now, talking about it! That's it for this post, I'm going to go finally get showered and head out for some lunch. Enjoy the slightly bad quality pictures!

Monday, August 4, 2008


Sorry for the quality of some of these photos! I was taking pictures with my phone, and it doesn't always like capturing movement...

Went to a festival on Saturday with a couple friends. We had originally headed to one in Shinagawa, but it turned out to not be the traditional bon-odori festival we had thought it would; all it was was a demonstration, not an actual interactive dancing festival. So then we headed up to a different one in Ebisu, which turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. Festival lights, dancing (which me and a friend joined in; my other friend decided not to because she didn't know the dances, even though we were telling her "we don't know them either! look at all the people going around who have no clue what they're doing! it'll be fun!" We just couldn't convince her though), food stalls with mochi, yakisoba, shaved ice (which we made a beeline for the minute we saw someone with one; it was sooooooo hot), a ton of people in yukata. There was even a little pool set up to catch goldfish, haha. In the little tiered stand set up in the middle of the ring of dancers was where the people who actually knew the dances were; they danced around the raised platform so everyone could see them and follow along with them. They would play each song twice, once so you could learn the dance and then another time for longer so everyone could join in. The dances are all mainly arm-waving and some footwork, easily done in a movement-restricting yukata. You progress steadily forward in them, winding a circle around some center landmark. It was really fun, even though between the heat and the crowd and the dancing in yukata, we were hot and sweaty and tired by the end.
There's another bon-odori festival later this month in Roppongi that we're also planning on going to, and this Sunday is the giant fireworks display over Tokyo Bay that I'm planning on going to with another of my friends. And this Saturday I'm finally planning on going to the beach! Yay, beach. I'll finally be able to try out my new swimsuit.