Day two of my Nagoya visit was to feature dinner out with one of my only real friends in Chuubu — but first, I wanted to head into the city.
I bought an 一日乗車券 at the station and launched into the subway system. It’s strange to go back to an underground method of transportation. Sure, Tokyo has plenty of subways, but my time on trains is almost completely above ground. I had also forgotten how much better-looking Nagoya were. I can’t explain it, but when I mentioned it to a college friend of mine who lives in Nagoya, she more or less agreed with me. Finally, the pedestrians, while annoying, are much less so than in Tokyo. And people wonder why I like this city so much.
I hit the usual spots: Oasis 21 to shop, Sakae for お土産, and finally Oosu for the otaku stores. I noticed almost immediately that Urban Square, the big game center I spent so much time in, was now part of Phoedra (one of which we have in Heiwajima Big Fun). It had a different feel, though much of that was probably just time away. No trip to Oosu is complete without lunch at Lee’s Taiwan Kitchen, where I was finally able to redeem my stamp card (only took me four years!) to get a lemon-jello drink (weird but good). I also went into Mandarake, and while I found very little to interest me, I was caught on my way out by a TV news crew. They did a short interview, asking me which anime girl I thought was the best, or cutest, and the question caught me flat-footed. I named three off the top of my head (Noir‘s Kirika Yuumura, Haibane-Renmei‘s Kuu, and Higurashi‘s Hannyuu), and I think I surprised them by doing the whole thing in Japanese. They had me sign a release form, and told me when their show would start airing.
I went from there straight to meet Konan, my old kendo friend. He’s really the only person in that area who regularly talks to me or makes any time for me when I come visit, so just like last year, we planned to go to Wine Watanabe to use up the birthday coupons my company sent me. First, though, we made a stop in Gee! Store, which blew his mind — he’d never been before, and was stunned at the sheer volume of stuff they had. He had way more fun there than I did, though I did find an XL hooded jacket with the TDD-1 from one of my favorite series, Full Metal Panic!
The restaurant was far less busy this year, so we were seated immediately. Konan and I ordered a couple Asahi beers (Super Dry for him, Extra Cold for me) and dove into the menu. We ended up eating beef tendon and shrimp ajillo, a caprése salad, corn fritters, pork schnitzel, Hokkaido beef steak with vegetables, and two more drafts each. There was also the usual baguette, which I sent home with Konan. Since Japan doesn’t have take-home boxes as part of its restaurant culture, we couldn’t take any of the other stuff home. Fortunately, Konan’s been doing some body building the last few years, so he was easily able to put the rest away. We called for the bill once we’d appropriately stuffed ourselves, and contrary to last year, we actually went over the 10,000円 I had in coupons. K graciously paid the difference, and we said our goodbyes until either next year, or if he ever comes to Tokyo, whichever comes first.