So Japantown has had some changes since the last time I was able to actually go through everything. Luckily, they're mostly good changes.
- Kinokuniya has a bottom floor with most of the manga and stuff. (hoshizora
, they've put PiQ in the Japanese art/media mag section near S Magazine and all.)
- There's a real purikura place
now with staff and all! If you haven't done it, purikura is a great way to waste $5--imagine a HUGE photo booth with green screen capabilities, after-editing, and more, and the results are printed out on stickers (sometimes rubber stamps and stuff, too). In Japan and Taiwan, purikura places have dozens of booths, a closet with funny hats and boas and fans and other costume items, full-length mirrors, staff, paper cutters (to divvy up your results), etc. Pika Pika, the new place, has all of this stuff. It's also full of Asian-American 13-year-olds, but heck, go in anyway. (Here, check out Flickr's purikura results, which include a few interior shots of such places in Japan
, but mostly scanned photo stickers.)
- Coming soon: a manga kissa/manga cafe, Manga Cafe Mika
. I'd always thought one would be worth a try, but kind of assumed it might not be legal or something in the US. I think they're opening April 26.
- Another very nice looking tea place, Kissako Tea (under the stairs near the castle model). They'll be having cosplay cafe service four times this year. Yeah, it's a matter of time till a maid cafe ...
- The hotel where we got married has been overhauled and is now the Hotel Kabuki
. Stupid name, but their improvements look like actual improvements. The koi pond and garden where we were married has been preserved, too.
We caught a few performances and managed to entertain the entire Suzuki Kai dance/kimono club from Kagoshima, because after their performance we headed for a water cooler outside the room. The cold handle was really difficult to use; assaultdoor
is stronger than I am so he was able to wrangle into into dispensing cold water. Then the kimono club came out, all tired and rushing for the water, but they couldn't operate it either. We exchanged some hesitant English and Japanese, and assaultdoor
wound up operating the dispenser for each one of them. The second or third lady he helped exclaimed かわいそう. Heh. Anyway, I'm glad that I was able to actually produce some spoken Japanese for once, even if I did mentally cross "atsui" (hot) and "akai" (red)--a mistake I've never ever made before. I'm really bad about actually speaking up, so that was progress.
There was a nice new art exhibit/competition, "Japonisme," too. So the day went well despite the bad start.
Despite some of the other deliberately LSD-evocative games on this particular website, I think Harmful Park: High-Brow Gag & Pure Shooting
wins my personal prize for wackiest, most Japanese game. No, really, just go look. The review contains the classic line "Also, check out the cow abduction in the background." Also, "Not only is this massive Frankenstein giving you the finger, but it's being controlled by a dancing cat in his head." YES.
(Secret message to kyspaz
: Cattle mutilations are up!)
Google Maps' new live traffic and traffic prediction function is nice. 511.org has such a thing too, but Google's involves less clicking. (Load your route, then click on Traffic, and "Change" if you want to go to prediction.)