Nipponbashi III: Nip Harder

Wednesday came too fast; it feels like all the days we had to start are slipping past me. It was also raining. Rosemarry was kind enough to let me use her cellular to call my bank and see about resolving my card problems while we walked to campus. Glad somebody has a good plan here.

Our first class was Kiyoshima-sensei’s pop culture class. I still can’t believe the man’s in his sixties and keeps at least vaguely current on anime, manga, and video games. He answered some questions we’d e-mailed to him in the intervening week, then covered some notes about fashion and influences of anime. Next was Kitayama-sensei and Japanese, which had more vocab I didn’t know, but nothing new in the grammar. I was sleepy and hungry, and didn’t come off well when asked to say something, which was pretty embarrassing. When class was done, I headed out to try my luck with the ATM. After a couple tries, I actually managed to withdraw some cash, allowing me the luxury of lunch. Wonder what the probem was.

Josh needed to go to the bank to exchange money, and Mike went along, while Warren and I spotted Kazuma and followed him to lunch with Rosemarry, Ashe, and a couple of their partners. We stopped at an udon shop, and eventually added Naoki (fellow nerd), Juri (friendly girl not in my group), and Aoi (not part of that class, just friends with those two). We had a decent time; I got tempura udon and talked a bit, but I was really glad I finally got to eat.

I got back to the hotel and found Mike asleep, did some ‘net work, and then lay down, ostensibly for half an hour with a plan to get up and go to Nipponbashi to clean up the stuff I couldn’t get before. Instead, I slept about an hour and a half. Warren and Josh agreed to go shop with me, and off we went. I snagged two Angel Beats! shirts I’d wanted from the last time (which I couldn’t afford), as well as some used games and CDs — I found the first and third 天使のしっぽ drama CDs, but couldn’t locate the second (so I’ll have to go back one more time). Warren found a few small things he liked, including a smart-looking cap, while Josh only got a drink and a bag of chips at the end. I managed to find a store whose bottom floor was a mixed bag of snacks, cute-girl magazines, books, DVDs, and hats (such as Warren’s new cap), while the five floors above were all adult. Yeah, five floors. I bought two boxes of 16-count takoyaki-flavored Umaibou with carrying cases included (not sure what they’re like), and a box of Giant Pocky (the Pocky are giant, said the cashier, not just the box). They also sold Calorie Mate, which made me laugh. I explained to the cashiers that whenever I saw Calorie Mate, I thought of those Kiefer Sutherland commercials from a few years ago that had him acting like Jack Bauer from 24. The guy who wasn’t ringing me up came out and slid behind me, picked up a single box, went back behind and paid his coworker for it, then presented it to me. I was stunned, and tried to be as humble (read: Japanese) as possible. He said it was okay; I’d entertained him, so it was a present. I’ve met so many seriously friendly and generous people here, it still amazes me.

The three of us finally came back, then headed up to the MaxValu to see what deli food had been marked down. We ran into an employee there whose English was really good. He said he’d lived in San Francisco for about ten years, and had only been back in Japan for two or three. Shun Nagamori was his name, though he apparently went by “Shawn” while in America.

We came back and studied a bit before splitting up and going to bed for the night.

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