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Akiba Antics (Japan – Autumn 2018 Day 2)

This morning found me well rested after a full uninterrupted night’s sleep on my bedroll – our AirBnB has traditional tatami mats on the floor of our bedroom – the five of us share a common bedroom area that has space enough for 10 people to lay comfortably if there are two people per bedroll.

I awoke at 4:30 am to find Joy up and ready to get some breakfast… we took the short walk to Lawson’s to get coffee and breakfast foods while the others stayed in bed.

It was so great to sit and talk with Joy after three years of not seeing each other in person – I wish that we lived closer… it can be so difficult when dear friends live so far away. After talking with Joy for quite a while, he decided to go back to bed while I was not sleepy at all so I decided to shower and then soak my aching muscles in our wonderful deeeeeep bathtub.

About the time that I was finished relaxing, Zach and Fredrick awoke, and Joy followed shortly. The guys went out to run an errand with Zach and I stayed behind with Paulina… they returned and we all laughed and talked for a great while as we decided what we wanted to do for the day.

You have been blessed by the Suntory Lemon Man!

It was decided that we would go to Akihabara to play games at a gaming center for the most part and also check out some shops but since we were all very hungry we started looking for food immediately. Go!Go! Curry sounded good, so we stopped there for some comfort food – I ate the small tonkatsu (pork cutlet) plate and even that amount of food was actually a bit too much! This Japanese curry chain regularly has a contest for people to completely eat a ridiculously large amount of tonkatsu with rice and curry – it’s impressive to see their wall of photos with people who have actually completed the challenge!

Me and the Sweet Swedes at curry lunch.

Bellies full and satisfied, we moved on. I have them convinced that next time they crave curry that we should go to CoCo Curry to see if they like that the same or better… I have a definite favorite but I did not reveal that to them for fear that it may affect their opinion one way or the other!

While walking to the area with the most arcades we kept coming on shops that sell collectible figures… we stopped in two or three and spent a bit of time when my friends decided that perhaps we should stop getting so distracted and get to the arcades.

A Sega arcade was the next stop where there were many rounds of UFO catcher plays – we met up with Chris there. He was kind enough to share his stash of SIM cards with me so now I can roam freely without having to find wifi hot spots… they are abundant but rather flaky at times for connection if you are moving about quite a bit. Thank you, Chris! having all of the data GeeBees is definitely better than relying on flaky WeeFees! XD

At Sega Arcade

Everything is cute in Japan.

Tokyo Leisure Land was the destination because they have a large selection of rhythm games… which we did not get to right away because a couple of my friends (*cough* Joy and Paulina) became obsessed with winning a couple of figurines from a redemption game… after some tries they did win! I made myself content with winning a few small prizes, including a squishy orange Slime from the Dragon Quest (I have a slight obsession with these adorable characters!) series of games and a little plush kitty with a mustache.

YES! DDR in JAPAN!

Paulina won the Alice figure she was after!

My sweet squishy Slime! I won one for Chris too

We spent a few hours at this spot – time passes quickly when you are having so much fun and in such good company! Some rhythm games were played as well, but I did not partake because I felt that I was already sweaty enough with the humidity, which was around 80% yesterday. My poor hair is lamenting this weather – it seems that Japan will never allow my hair to look nice while I am here because my curly hair reacts so poorly to high humidity. Ah well it’s okay! I can still have fun whilst looking like a goof!

After the arcade we came upon the Dragon Quest themed Lawson store! SLIMES EVERYWHERE! I need to back to get better photos and a video of this place – very cute theming!

I FOUND IT! The Dragon Quest themed Lawson in Akihabara!

Late in the afternoon Joy and Fredrik broke away from the group to go home and take a nap… Paulina, Zach, Chris and I went on to a wagyu beef restaurant called Roast Beef Ohno… it is a small restaurant which I guess only seats up to 30 from a quick glance about this small restaurant. Part of the seating is at a couple of tables but the main portion of seating is at the L-shaped bar that borders the kitchen so you can enjoy watching your meals being prepared.

The menu selection is small… literally just the wagyu donburi bowl or the Australian beef donburi but you do choose the portion of rice that you receive. I opted for the small portion.

Wagu Donburi is delicious!

My dinner was accompanied by Oxtail soup – yummy.

The printed menu offers instruction for how to best enjoy your meal, first starting with tasting the meat on it’s own, then mixing your egg and dipping the meat in that and the small trail of Japanese mayo, then trying the pickled vegetable (which I think was cabbage) with a bit of mountain wasabi and cream cheese in addition to your bite of meat. However you decided to combine your tastes, this was a superior donburi for certain! I think that I could eat this meal a couple of times a week and not tire of it.

Instructions for how to best enjoy your meal.

I had requested that we go hunting for some gatchapon (Japanese capsule toys) so Chris did a quick look on Google Maps… on our way there we ran into Joy and Fredrik, who had initially said they were going to go home and take a nap before karaoke with a friend… they never made it home because the made a side trip to a Maid Cafe – Paulina and I were a little cross and disappointed because we wanted to experience that with them, but overall we heard some great stories from those two and I’m glad that they had so much fun. Once again we parted from Joy and Fredrik who departed to go find some Japanese libations and Chris continued to  guide us to a store filled with row after row of gatchapon dispensers! They had signs everywhere that asked customers to please not take photos so I respected that while I was actually in the store. Once I was in, I remembered that I had visited this exact place on my very first day in Japan in summer 2014!

I found two of the VAG series that I was looking for! Morris!

On this visit I found some of what I am diligently seeking… dispensers that sell the VAG (Vinyl Artist Gacha) series! These are special limited edition gasha designed by some famous vinyl toy artists. These particular figures are quite detailed and usually have the distinction of having one or more parts that are moveable so that you can pose your figure! They are 500 Yen so more spendy than the average of 200 – 300 Yen, but definitely worth the price.

I was surprised to find one the winter 2018 releases still available! I am now the very happy owner of two Morris figures, which is a cat-deer combination… a design by Kaori Hinata, also known as Hinatique. http://hinatique.pupu.jp/ – such a talented artist! My keen eyes will continue to keep a lookout for more VAG dispensers on this trip for sure.

VAG (Vinyl Artist Gasha) figure Morris in the two variants that I most wanted!

Our happy hearts and weary bodies decided that it was time to head home. Zach, Paulina and I said goodnight to Chris with wishes expressed to meet again for more fun tomorrow… we rode the train back to our station, Higashi-Mukōjima, and walked home. Soon, bedtime and blessed sleep.