The nerd goes shopping

Didn’t have anything planned for the morning today. Denise and Scott are due to fly out this evening which meant I had to change rooms for my new booking. With checkin and checkout times both at 12 noon, and Denise and Scott not due to head to the airport until early afternoon, I figured I could just do a simple swap over at that time. We all went for a wander up the street in the morning for coffee, then picked up some bakery items to take back the room for brunch. Everyone was happy to sit around and do a bit of nothing, but eventually it was time to make a move. The checkout and checkin process was simple; I was moved from the 11th floor to the 5th floor and lost my view of nearby flat rooftops to a view of a wall. Room was smaller (which I guess is ok since I went from 3 people in a room to 1 person), however it appears more recently renovated and VERY purple as with the rest of the floor. With that now sorted, and with Denise and Scott waiting in the lobby for their airport transfer, rather than me sitting with them we said our goodbyes and I headed out. This afternoon I planned to do a bit of shopping, and first stop was central Tokyo. I had 2 main places to seek out, the Daimaru department store right next to the station, and the Oriental Bazaar selling all sorts of touristy stuff. I found the department store, and spent quite a while browsing its many levels. I think its probably the largest department store I have been in. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but did come across a cool little bluetooth keyboard for the iPhone which I had taken a liking to a few days back in Akihabara, however here it was only 70% the price. It’s not something I probably need, but I think its cool and never seen them in Australia. After wandering the rest of the department store and managing to keep my credit card in my wallet, I went off in search for the Oriental Bazaar. Not taking the map was a silly move, as even though I knew the street name, the tourist maps in the streets only showed the major roads. I also got nowhere asking a few people, so ended up giving up and figuring I will have to work out tonight where it actually is. Next stop was back to Akihabara (visited a few days ago), this time taking a closer look and not worrying about holding Denise up when she was with me a few days back. I wanted to do a couple of things including checking out the game arcades, buy Scott a bluetooth keyboard for his iPad, and buy Denise and myself a new camera. The first thing I found was I couldn’t get far in the game arcades when all the games are new to me, and are not in English anyway. I was quite impressed with the machines though, some with multiple high resolution displays, which are much more advanced than ours in Australia. I resorted to having a play on the claw skill tester with Japanese character figurines as prizes, and after dropping a couple of coins for single turns (100 yen, roughly $1) and managing to move the figurine over the chute and it getting stuck on the way down, I knew one more turn and it was mine. Problem was I ran out of small coins, therefore having to use a larger coin (500 yen, roughly $5) as I didn’t want to go and get change and have someone steal my prize. Sure enough one more turn and it was mine, however with 5 more turns now left I didn’t do so well trying to get a second one but did make it much easier for the next person who came along. Next stop, the electronics shops. After spotting the camera I wanted a few days ago for almost half the price it is in Australia, I went back to take a closer look (planned on getting Denise one too). Playing with the display model, the first thing I wanted to ensure is I could actually change the language to English. I was sure pretty confident it would be possible, however using the pictures that go with the Japanese writing in its menus I wasn’t getting very far. I resorted to asking the shop assistant who started having a play while I pulled out my current camera of the same brand and noticed that although I could change the language, Japanese was not an option, so maybe on this Japanese camera English may not be an option. She wandered off to consult her colleagues and returned to say the language cannot be changed on that model. What a bummer, but not really needing it anyway and only upgrading because it was cheap, it didn’t bother me too much. In my browsing though what I did find was an iPad case with bluetooth keyboard, marked from 8000 yen (roughly $85) to 1500 yen (roughly $16). Seeming too good to be true I double confirmed with a shop assistant, and pricing was correct. The packaging stated it was for the iPad 2, however being a soft case and the later iPads only being 0.6mm thicker (basically nothing), I was confident it would fit. Picking up 4 of them and taking them to the counter though the girl behind the counter asked me if I was using iPad 2, to which I said no, and so she assured me the newer iPads would not fit and thats why they are selling them cheap. Not wanting to take the risk, I bought 1 to give it a go anyway as I was pretty sure she didn’t know what she was talking about. Considering I am sitting here now writing the blog on the new keyboard, with the iPad comfortably in the case, it looks like I am going back in the next day or so to pick up some more. While wandering around I found a large gathering with people on a stage taking questions, people were excited and taking photos, but still have no idea who they are. I did take a photo, and was soon in trouble as apparently photos were not allowed. Having spent the rest of the afternoon in Akiahabara, it was now getting dark and the streets were getting very busy. I managed to get a few happy snaps of the lights, and then set off in search of food rather than trying to track something down after returning to the hotel. I found an English style pub in the middle of happy hour drinks and food, so went on in. Being by myself they didn’t want to waste a table on me so put me at the bar instead; I guess it will do. Ordering a pint, some fries, and what looked like a few pieces of crumbed chicken, the total was still roughly around $20 even being happy hour. Quantity wasn’t huge, but enough. What I found interesting though is the thin pieces of chicken were crumbed in full cornflakes. I have had chicken before in cornflake crumbs but not full ones. Was pretty good, and think I will give it a go myself at home when I return. I made a move for the door as soon as I had finished eating, primarily because sitting at the bar was in the smokers area. After returning back to the hotel on the packed train I got to play with some of my goodies I bought today which was a bit of fun given the instruction manuals are in Japanese, so took a little bit of working out on a few things.