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Amparo Bertram

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09:24 pm: The Fearless Explorer and the Very Long Day
This morning I started out by taking advantage of my Monday off and going to the post office during business hours. Now, let me take a minute to talk about Oda Yuuji. He is a popular Japanese actor, star of Odoru Daisousasen (marketed internationally as Bayside Shakedown), and he is now appearing on posters advertising the new low prices for the post office's "Yuu Pack" service. When I was at the post office this morning, I asked if I could buy his poster. Unfortunately, they wouldn't sell me one. <grumble> You'd think they'd appreciate the extra source of money they could get by selling the posters to Oda Yuuji fans, and it would be extra advertising to get the posters into their customers' homes. Oh, well. Later I saw him in another advertising. This time it was a banner outside a gas station advertising snow tires. He is currently the lead in a romantic drama, and he sings the drama's theme song (which debuted at #6 last week, according to the countdown I watched), so I guess a lot of people are trying to cash in on his popularity.

Anyway, after I got home and played around on my computer for a while (and decided on my next sewing project), around 1pm I decided to go to Kyoto again. Here was my plan: I would hit Animate and two branches of Book Off quickly and then spend the remainder of the afternoon visiting some temple or park I'd never been to before and snapping pictures of red leaves. (wednesday_10_00, you can stop laughing right now.)

This plan turned out to have a few kinks in it.
  • I underestimated how long it would take me to walk between bookstores.
  • I underestimated how long I would browse at each store I stopped to visit. (Stop laughing!)
  • I underestimated how many interesting shops I would discover along the way.

    Let me begin by saying that, knowing I would be buying books, I thought ahead and took my wheeled carryon bag to cart them around in. This turned out to be a lifesaver as, once again, my purchases were quite heavy.

    For those unfamiliar with Kyoto, it has a reasonably easy-to-understand layout because it was intentionally designed to have perpendicular streets dividing the city up like a chessboard. The major streets that run from east to west (and are therefore parallel to each other going north to south) are numbered consecutively. Kyoto Station is around 8th Street, the numbers getting smaller the farther north you travel. Thus, I took a route that started at the station and worked in a northerly direction.

    My first stop was the new Book Off branch on 5th Street. So far so good. After I left there, I headed toward Animate, which is just north of 4th Street. On the way, however, I ran across the fabric store of my dreams, called Nomura Tailor. The lower two floors were crammed with bolts of fabric of all kinds, while the third floor had other craft supplies.

    Okay, so I located Animate. After shopping there for a while (<fangirl babble> They have Halloween Naruto pins! Kakashi is dressed in an angel costume! </fangirl babble>), I wandered out to make my way back to the main street. I then chanced upon a store called Mighty Soxer. (Don't tell me I'm the only one who suddenly started humming "Joxer the Mighty.") By now, anyone reading this should be aware of my sock obsession. I could not resist taking a look inside. (wednesday_10_00, they had spats. Girly spats, but still.)

    I survived looking at the socks without spending *too* much money and headed toward 3rd Street. There I ran across a branch of the Shidax karaoke parlor, which was kind of exciting, but then a little farther on I found a food import store. I didn't think I would buy much...yeah, right. Anyway, I really cracked up at seeing the box in the picture. How would you like mushrooms in your oatmeal? Yes, that is how Quaker markets its cereal in Japan.

    I finally made it to the 3rd Street branch of Book Off and completed my planned shopping. By that time, however, it was around 6pm and pitch black out. No red leaves for me. I had supper at a nearby Indian restaurant, figuring that would be the easiest place to find vegetarian food. They did, in fact, have a vegetarian dinner set (consisting of WAY more food than I could ever possibly eat at one sitting), so I was quite satisfied. I checked my map and saw that, although I was right next to the 3rd Street entrance to the subway, which was great, the closest subway stop to Kyoto Station was on 7th Street, quite a hike to the east. I resigned myself to it and entered the subway station...where I spotted an arrow pointing "This Way for Biwako."

    Oya? That looked promising. Upon further investigation, I made the happy discovery that I could take the subway to Yamashina Station, where I could transfer directly to my Biwako train line and head straight home. Yay!

    I arrived at Moriyama Station and stopped at my 24-hour grocery to pick up some milk. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of what I was looking for. I asked one of the employees, and he said they were "out of stock" of skim milk. This worries me. Japanese supermarkets have the tendency to stop selling items with no notice. (Remember the "tofu steak" mix I mentioned a while back? When I went to the store a few days later to buy some, they no longer carried it.) I'm crossing my fingers that they're only temporarily out of stock. If they stop selling skim milk permanently, they've just lost a customer.

    So, I made it safely back home. Now, to unpack...

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  • Comments

    [User Picture]
    Date:November 22nd, 2004 05:28 am (UTC)
    wednesday_10_00, you can stop laughing right now
    <cracks up> You were planning the fastest shopping spree ever, were you?

    they had spats.
    <immediately does search for Mighty Soxer> Ooh, there's one in Sunshine City! <gets excited and chokes on water> First the laughter and now this...are you trying to kill me here?

    How would you like mushrooms in your oatmeal?
    GROSS. This makes me think of Bill Cosby's routine about his mom trying to kill him with lumps in his Cream O' Wheat. ^_^;
    [User Picture]
    Date:November 22nd, 2004 12:24 pm (UTC)
    You were planning the fastest shopping spree ever, were you?

    It's called positive thinking. "The store layout will be easy to understand and my favorite sections will be in the front. They will have all the books I want right next to each other."

    Here's what I don't get: Why in the world does Book Off stick the CD and game section *between* the comics and the novels? You'd think people who are there to read would be separate from people there for electronics and music. But no. I'm walking along, looking for the things on my list, and suddenly it's like I've come upon this gaping chasm.

    ...are you trying to kill me here?

    Oh, sure, that's my plan, kill off the person who lets me stay for free near Tokyo. I had to think long and hard to come up with that one.

    Which reminds me, if you go into Tokyo anytime soon, could you check the used book stores for 2003 editions of Wings Bunko? I only found the 2004 Spring edition at Book Off, and it only had the Kill the Crows title page picture, no other illustrations, so I didn't bother getting it. (Maybe that was when TOKAI stopped drawing?)
    [User Picture]
    Date:November 23rd, 2004 07:20 am (UTC)
    Why in the world does Book Off stick the CD and game section *between* the comics and the novels?
    Ahaha. I don't have this problem at my Book Off, as they've moved the BL manga section over to the novel side. I usually just skip the shounen/shoujo section.

    Oh, sure, that's my plan, kill off the person who lets me stay for free near Tokyo.
    <laughs and then chokes again> Yeah, sure. I believe you're not trying to kill me.

    Which reminds me, if you go into Tokyo anytime soon, could you check the used book stores for 2003 editions of Wings Bunko?

    Agh, I was just there today...wish I'd seen this this morning. Well, I'm sure I'll be back soon enough, for actual Christmas shopping. (You know, as opposed to the kind where I pretend to shop for presents and spend all my money on myself. -_-)
    Date:November 22nd, 2004 09:28 am (UTC)

    What an exciting day!

    "I thought ahead and took my wheeled carryon bag to cart them around in..."

    I'm so glad that worked for you, and that you found easy accomodations by train bak to your home. We are so used to cars here, it's nice to see how this can work out without one.

    "How would you like mushrooms in your oatmeal?"

    I sure hope they keep selling the skim milk. Even here there are days our stores are out of skim milk. Very disappointing!

    Don't knock it until you've tried it. Even though I usually eat oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins, I know a lot who love it with butter and salt. It sounds as if it would be good the salty way with mushrooms. It's rather bland by itself and probably compliments a lot of different flavors. Now I want to try it...sort of like grits.

    Date:November 22nd, 2004 09:30 am (UTC)

    Re: What an exciting day!

    Okay, I have no idea how the paragraphs got mixed up. Anyway, the "don't knock it" paragraph goes before the milk one. Sorry.

    Now I'm going to have to prove I'm a real human being to send this second comment. What a funny program.

    [User Picture]
    Date:November 22nd, 2004 01:43 pm (UTC)

    Re: What an exciting day!

    Well...rice is good with mushrooms...and barley is okay in soup...so I guess if you look at oatmeal simply as a type of grain it sort of makes sense.
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