Day Three in Tokyo was date day. I waited for Chris at Shinjuku station, and when she didn’t show, I wandered around Shinjuku for a bit, angry. On my way back through the station (I was going to Akihabara again), she caught me by sheer chance, apologized, and took me to 100 Yen Sushi before we left the city. There, she told me her name wasn’t really Chris; it was Jacky. Also, she hated Japanese Food.
Regardless, I was set on having a date with C-J, so I held my spirits high as she took me far outside the city center, to the suburbs. We shuttled from Train to Train to Train to Bus and landed at Gaming/Go-Karting/Baseball/Golf/Darts Paradise: DAIKEN.
It’s been years since I’ve loitered outside a city center, and the suburbs of Tokyo felt very Midwestern. If it wasn’t for the immense Shinto/Buddhist/Christian cemetery beside this Tokyo Pseudo-Dave-&-Busters, I would have felt trapped in Rosemont.
I searched for a SFIII cabinet, and was disappointed when the warehouse of gaming didn’t have a single Capcom machine.
I played video games, raced go karts, threw some darts and started to get very bored. Finally, I asked C-J if we could head back into the city for dinner. Reluctantly, she agreed . . . which was strange, since I couldn’t tell if she was having fun or not. It was raining now, and we only had a tiny broken plastic umbrella for the both of us. Together, we slipped down the steep abandoned suburban streets to the bus stop, and discovered that the bus had stopped running at 5:45.
CJ got on the phone and starting chattering to the public transport help line and located another bus stop some 2km away. We had to get there by 7:47. So we laughed and walked through the freezing rain, her jeans getting soaked up to the knee, and my skirt-exposed calves cramping in the cold.
At 7:15, we arrived at the bus stop. The streets were empty, and the only shelter from the rain was a torn tarp over someone’s doorstep. We stood across the street from a temple, and waited. I kept thinking, "This is just like Totoro," but knew I couldn’t share my feelings with C-J since she didn’t know anything about any pop culture in Japan from the last 30 years.
You gotta love the public transportation system in Tokyo. At 7:47, the bus showed up.
Too bad it was haunted.
We got back into the city and I treated C-J to dinner in Shinjuku. We picked a random restaurant in the NJ building, and were seated in a nearly-private room. The menu was all kanji, so I just ordered the "Course Dinner." Waiting for the meal, I gazed out the window - - and was shocked.
Our restaurant was guarded by the Tokyo Metropolitan! Never in my life have I been star-struck, but here I was, speechless and giddy over a building! The Met has been in so many anime. I’ve rarely seen a photograph of it, yet here it was, watching me eat dinner. C-J couldn’t understand, but I was in heaven. I left Shinjuku that night disappointed by the date, but delighted by the scenery.