Today, the plan was to head into Nagoya. Mike wanted to check the otaku stores, Javad wanted to look for the Pokémon Center, and I wanted to go to Gee! Store to pick up the shirt they’d ordered. It was raining (and still is), but only a little. Javad and I met Mike at the station, and we headed to Nagoya, then Kamimaezu. I struck up a small conversation with the lady next to me on the train to Nagoya, talking about the weather and where we were going. I got the standard compliment on my Japanese (which I deflected, as usual). This time, though, the lady admitted partway through the conversation that this was the first time she’d had a conversation like that with a foreigner, and she was sweating from nervousness. I assured her that she had nothing to worry about; she was the native and I the foreigner, so if anyone was to be nervous, it should be me.
The game center was still closed, and still no word on the sign when they’d reopen, but the center gate was up, letting us see that they were apprently making progress. The three of us went to Mandarake, Gee!, and a small retro-game shop, with all of us finding a handful of things we liked. I also managed to get the last reservation for the first-press Persona 4 anime drama CD at Wonder Goo (the store downstairs from Gee!), as well as a reserve on the first-press Persona 4 The Golden game soundtrack that comes out the week after — damn lucky, since all my online-store options are already reserved out or simply say they “can’t guarantee first-press.” Afterward, we headed back toward the subway, but we passed a store that had a crane-and-ball version of the key-pull game; you drop the ball into the chute and use the attached key to get your prize from a nearby locker. My first try, I won a pillow-and-mouse-pad (yes, one of those mouse pads) set from a locker, but that’s all I was able to get. A nice employee from the game shop had printed off a rough map of where the Pokémon Center was, and we were off to Sakae.
The rain had picked up somewhat by then, and the humidity made everyone sweaty, but we forged ahead. It took some walking, backtracking, and asking for help, but we finally located what we needed: Oasis 21, a huge sunken shopping center. Imagine a mall, only one floor below street level, yet open to the air (though with a roof and stairs overhead to keep out rain). The Pokémon Center was opposite where we were, very close to an NHK Character store and a Jump Store (Shonen Jump merchandise). I looked around the Center, but I’m not into Pokémon, so I left and waited outside. I had a short conversation with a Japanese couple who asked the usual questions and gave the usual compliment (I seriously get at least one of these a day, at least two if I leave the city). When M and J were finished, we blew through the Jump and NHK stores, then made for home. On one of our first trains, I’d taken a seat toward the end of the car, and an older lady came to stand in front of me for the ride. I quickly apologized and stood, intending to give her my seat — whereupon she said to me (in Japanese), “Oh, no that’s not necessary, I’m not old” — and turned her back to me. She wouldn’t even respond after that, so I sat back down. I’ve honestly never gotten that sort of response when offering my seat, not even in my own country. It was an otherwise easy ride back, since we got a Special Rapid train from Nagoya to Okazaki, but the rain made the walk back somewhat less pleasant. I stopped for a Coke and some 骨なし chicken from the Mini Stop, came back and got a much-needed shower, then dried my shoes and clothes (somewhat) in the neighboring laundromat.
It’s been a fun three days, but I’m looking forward to spending tomorrow doing very little except some homework I have.