I found something I thought I had lost forever – the Tokyo Damage Report Travel Guide.
This guide has directions to and descriptions of many, many things that can only be found in Tokyo. I have no idea how some of these places were found initially, as they are invariably situated in basements or deep in large buildings without any signage. So, many thanks to the author, Shultz, pictured right.
Our first destination after finding the guide was our local Ikebukuro. Actually, we didn’t take any photos of the stuff from the guide mainly because the guide led us to an erotic manga area for girls and to a bit of bizarre, gothic architecture. We did find something that I found strange, though. Yumi told me that ‘cat cafes’ had become really popular and there were increasing numbers of them materializing in Ikebukuro, so we dropped in to see what they were all about. Basically, they are a spacious room filled with the kind of stuff a cat would buy if it had a bit of extra cash – lots of things they can sleep on – and about 10 cats. There’s also a coffee machine, couches and a TV with DVD player and a Wii for the humans. The idea is that you have one hour to enjoy some coffee and hang out with the cats, feed them some biscuits… all the things you want to do but can’t because your not allowed to have pets in your small Japanese apartment. On an unrelated note, I have to include this photo I took of the window of an English school. Yumi assures me that ‘Sirius’ is the teacher’s name and not the adjective, but I don’t care, it makes me laugh.
The following weekend, we again consulted the guide and headed to Nakano. Aside from the multitude of retro toy shops, there were two special treats on this trip. First, the ‘tetsudo wasuremono ichi’ which translates to the ‘Railway Forgotten Things Market’. They only sell stuff that has been left on the trains in Tokyo. With no intention of buying anything, we dug through their collection for our amusement. Yumi managed to find three identical bags all forgotten on the trains. The other find was the beetle shop. I loved the way with each row I looked at, the beetles became bigger and bigger. I don’t know who’s buying these things, but it can’t be easy getting them over here. If anyone is interested, it’s about 3,000 yen for a beetle the size of your fist. They’d make a great surprise christmas present.
In order to fill the rest of this space, I think I’ll add a quick plug for Lyndon LaRouche. Like him or loathe him, his webcasts are really interesting if not entertaining. He’s the only person I have heard so far with an actual plan to deal with today’s economic bonfire.