Sunday, July 5, 2009

Magnificent Turnabout: Trial Part

"It wasn't hate. It wasn't anger. What remained was... love"

Books are heavy. A 2 minute walk to the post office behind the Weekly Mansion almost seems like Sisyphus' torment if you have to transport giant blocks of books in succession. But in other news, this will the final post posted from room 913 in the Weekly Mansion Ekoda. Been a great 3 months, imprinting all kinds of memories in me. Which knowing me, I'll probably forget very quickly. But anyway, let's begin the second and final part of the magnificent turnabout.

<Witness testimony: "Food! Food!">

As we've been living in Ekoda for 3 months, you'll gradually create favorite eating spots. Some go almost daily to the Mr. Donuts. Me and Benjamin 2号 had quite early found a great place to eat Chinese in Ekoda: Tokyo Ramen. It's built alongst the tracks of Ekoda Station, it's an immensely narrow place and kinda looks suspicious from outside. But I'll never forget the first night we ate there. Words won't do justice to it, but it included an old man who began a discussion with us about politics (in Japanese) and stories about eggs from old chickens and young chickens. The eggs at Tokyo Ramen are by the way service, so you can eat as many boiled eggs as you want. Sheer genius. Free eggs. Back on track, that same night included one crazy Japanese woman who talked with us and... well, she was kinda crazy. Great night. Other adventures there include hostile takeovers by the Chinese triad.

Anyway, Tokyo Ramen serves the best gyouza in all of Tokyo I think and I have eaten my share of gyouza (including jumbo gyouza) here. I'm gonna miss Tokyo Ramen and the two guys who work there. I am happy we actually took a picture of us all together. Tokyo Ramen, I salute thee.

Another place of eating interest is Yokohama Noodles Daikichiya, which is on the corner of this block. The food is not good and relatively expensive. But of interest are the seemingly totally random working hours. Sometimes it's open around noon. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's open around dinner time. More often it's not (yes, that is totally logical for a restaurant). Sometimes it's closed the whole day, while the next week it's open the same day. In 3 months I did manage to find a sort of logic in the working hours by feverishly making notes every time I passed it (which was very often, as it's on the way to the station), which I could now present in a surprisingly detailed Excel sheet and stuff, but that would be just a bit over the top. And the logic is very, very shaky. Suffice to say that Daikichiya is one of the mysteries I'll have to leave unsolved in Tokyo.

<Witness testimony: "My alibi?!">

Friday was the last day on the Japan-Netherlands Institute, where after some formalities concerning feedback and other wrap-up stuff before we leave, we all went to eat shabushabu, essentially similar to the Chinese hotpot. It was quite tasty.

That night, I attended a small signing event of erugurononsense manga artist Kago Shintarou, where he showed us several animations and short movies in his typical very absurd and very grotesque style, which were very entertaining. Kago is relatively famous abroad, but only 12 people, including two of us (the only foreigners), were present at this event. Though it was not like that many more people would have fitted in the cafe the event was held in. This cafe located in birthplace-of-punk Koenji was by the way quite hard to find, especially because our map was outdated. In the end, we had to look for the cafe through the block number and that is really not the way you want to look for places in Japan. The cafe itself was small, slightly sinister avant-garde cafe with loads of classic manga for sale and other stuff like Edogawa Rampo novels. Even though it was a signing event, it seems that only the two of us ended up asking for autographs in the end. As though the Japanese were too shy to ask for an autograph at such an event.

Saturday, after I visited the mostly awesome, but at some points kinda disappointing live-action adaption of Tezuka Osamu's MW on its first day (which I as a Tezuka fanboy really wanted to see), we all went to eat okonomiyaki and bowling afterwards to conclude the Leiden University Tokyo pilot project together. As we all went quite often to the okonomiyaki restaurant, we received the meishi of the owner, which was quite surprising and quite Japanese. Oh, and the final unsolved mystery: why is there always a 1000 yen shortage when there is a collective bill?

<Witness testimony: "It was premeditated!">

Mysterious and imaginative tales in Japan will stop for now. As I'll be in Kyushu later this year, this blog will probably return then once again. Return is certain, so I won't use the phrase 'goodbye'. I'll just say 'see you later'. This trial ends.


"Of course he will come back, because there are still enigmas here, still so many mysteries left that he likes so much. That´s why it's all right, he will absolutely without a doubt return. Until that day we can meet again, sayonara", "The Case Files of Young Kindaichi: The Desperate Run of Young Kindaichi"

Today's song: 小幡美奈子 (Obata Minako) - There’ll Never Be Goodbye (Ending theme of "Metropolis")

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