Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Japan Trip X: The Maket and the Park

If you ever find yourself alone in a strange land, lacking any method of communication with anyone you know as well as any way to really communicate with the native people, the last thing you want to do is panic.

On the second day of our Japan trip, I found myself alone in an unfamiliar part of Japan, my entire party having disappeared. I'm not terribly predisposed to panicking about anything, but if I were that might have been the time. The great advice given by the cover of the Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are kind of wasted on me, though.

We had two goals on this day: meeting up with our friends Kari and Ryan, who also happened to be visiting Japan at the time, and visiting the Ghibli Museum. The Ghibli Museum will get its own blog post, though.

We met Kari and Ryan somewhere in Tokyo, I'm not sure where. All I know is that it was near a busy, indoor market located under the offices of Brownie Brown, the game studio responsible for MOTHER 3, among other titles. Lindsay led us to a bakery where, according to her, Shigesato Itoi would come down and grab lunch or breakfast or something regularly.

I apologize if my memory is fuzzy at that point. This was one of those days when I forgot to take my motion sickness medicine, so I was feeling kind of terrible at the time after the train ride.

Anyway, I think we were told to find something to eat, at which point everybody disappeared. I still don't know where they all went, in fact. I started walking around this food market, glancing at the food, though my appetite was non-existent thanks to motions sickness. Mostly, though, I was looking for familiar faces, yet afraid to leave the area in case someone came looking for me.

The place was pretty nice, though. There were all sorts of food stands around, including lots of seafood I can't recall, baked goods and donuts, potstickers, and fried things I couldn't identify.

Eventually I found Laura, Kari, and Ryan after they worked their way back to that area. Again, no idea where they were before that.

I stuck with them for a while, and generally kept an eye on them so I wouldn't get separated again. Kari shared some ginger snaps with me to calm my stomach, which made me start to feel better.

I eventually got a bowl of some sort of meat and potatoes. We met up with everyone and headed toward a park to eat.

Along the way we stopped at a convenience store for drinks, and I picked up a waffle-looking ice cream thing. It looked like a layer of waffle encasing a layer of chocolate, and filled with vanilla ice cream. Though, in hindsight, I guess it might have just been milk flavored ice cream. Apparently that's a thing in Japan. Anyway, spoiler: it was delicious.

We ate our lunch next to a large pond in the middle of a park. Apparently that park would have been a perfect place to see the cherry blossoms, but we were a few weeks too early so we missed them.

The Ghibli Museum was on the other side of the park, so we walked through it, enjoying the few trees that were in bloom. It finally occurred to me at that point why so many games depict springtime as having pink trees: I always just assumed it was an arbitrary choice made to distinguish spring and summer, but I realize now that it's referring to cherry blossoms.

You learn something new every day. Especially if that day is spent in a foreign country.

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