For a different perspective (and more pictures!), see wednesday_10_00's version or melf42's version of the same trip.
Tuesday, May 3rd
I got up early and took the shinkansen to Hiroshima City, where I met up with the others. After leaving my luggage in melf42's car, we took a streetcar downtown. Our first goal (...after manga shopping...) was to find a movie theater playing this year's Meitantei Conan movie, which turned out to be more difficult than expected. We finally managed to locate one, but by that time it was about noon and we were getting quite hungry.
We walked around for a while searching for a restaurant called Spud Love. We even stopped at a police box to
Instead, we went back to our backup option, a Thai place we had spotted near the movie theater. It had very little in the way of vegetarian selections, but we managed. (This involved pointing specifically at a certain dish without meat, taking care to ask the waitress several times if it had other kinds of seafood or shrimp in it, being assured there wasn't, being served, discovering shrimp, and having it sent back to be made again.) We saw pictures of salt-and-pepper grinders in the shape of rabbits on the menu and debated whether that counted as a Bunny Sighting. The grinders were unfortunately designed so that you grind at the top of the bunny and the salt/pepper comes out the bunny's rear. Um...ew.
After the meal, we watched the Conan movie. It had some serious plot holes, I have to say. In fact the one thing that saves the movie--and I can't believe I'm saying this--is Ran's father. I could hardly believe my eyes. He was actually GOOD in this movie. The sad thing is, although Ran is given the perfect setup to totally kick butt, when it comes right down to it she is reduced to acting like a moron and having to wait around for Conan to rescue her.
After the movie, we went
When we finished shopping we went to eat at an okonomiyaki place, specifically asking to cook our food ourselves. You see, we had the ulterior motive of making BUNNY okonomiyaki. We had a lot of fun doing it, too, though we will probably be legendary among the waitstaff of that restaurant for a long time.
Our next stop was at an arcade for some purikura. We had tried another arcade earlier, where we discovered the most amusing restroom signs ever, but it was absolutely PACKED with people so we gave it a pass. This time we went to an arcade that was nearly vacant, so we pretty much had the purikura all to ourselves. We amused ourselves with BUNNY purikura...made even better when one of the booths we chose turned out to have bunny ear stamps to put on the pictures.
By the time we finished, it was quite late, and we had all been on the go since early in the morning so we were running out of steam. We went back to the car and set out on the two hour drive to melf42's house in Sakugi. Her house is quite large and has lots of nice amenities, but I have to say that it's MUCH colder than Moriyama. Here, I'm already down to my lightest PJs and one sheet, whereas there we spent a lot of the time bundled up in blankets.
Wednesday, May 4th
I woke up early and made brownies for breakfast. (...What? It's kind of like pancakes...) Aside from one absolutely delicious avocado sandwich for supper, we wound up eating nothing but junk food all day. (It tasted good, but my stomach was quite glad for the sandwich.) We spent the entire day summarizing a 25-volume manga series for melf42. We tried to go fast, but it was past midnight by the time we finished. At that point we were all ready to go to bed...except we still hadn't done the kimono-dressup we had planned.
wednesday_10_00 was a real trooper and let me dress her up in a
Thursday, May 5th
We dragged ourselves out of bed early and drove back to Hiroshima to put wednesday_10_00 on her 9:30am train. After that, melf42 and I searched for a place to have breakfast while we waited for karaoke places to open. We weren't really happy with the sandwich-salad-coffee breakfast sets that all the cafes were offering, so we wound up going to a nearby hotel and getting their breakfast buffet. It was expensive, but man, it was delicious. We sat around discussing how we could possibly have BUNNY karaoke until the hotel staff kicked us out so they could prepare for lunch.
Coincidence of the day #1: We had bunny salt-and-pepper grinders at our table, and they had a much less offensive design than the ones we had seen at the Thai restaurant.
We thought there should be a karaoke place in the vicinity of the station, but we didn't know where, so we went up to a 10th floor bookstore with a panoramic view to try to find one. Of course, the instant I stepped out of the elevator I got a panoramic view...of books. I forced poor melf42 to hang around waiting while I scoured through the art how-to section. I finally settled on two books, one about watercolor pencil techniques written by an artist who does fantasy-themed pictures and one on how to do simple flowers that actually shows the brush strokes.
We finally got around to peering out the window and located the advertisement for the karaoke place, but when we walked there...we couldn't find it. We could see the advertisement on the side of the building, but there was no entrance. We walked around the entire building and still couldn't find it. We decided that they must not want our business. Instead, we drove downtown and went to another place melf42 knew about.
I thought I should mention that, since land is at a premium in Japan, parking garages can't spread out much. Instead, they build vertically. This is the picture of the parking garage that we used. You drive the car straight in, where it is loaded onto a metal rack (indicated by the arrow). The rack then cycles the car upward like a ferris wheel so the next car can enter. When you are ready to leave, the ferris wheel spins around until your car gets down to the bottom. You back out until you are on the circle in the foreground, and then the circle turns to orient you properly for driving out the door (since there's no space to turn around while driving).
Coincidence of the day #2: The karaoke place had a poster on the wall by the same artist whose book I had just bought. In fact, the picture on the poster was one of the example illustrations in the book.
We signed up for two hours of karaoke and went to our room. I started scanning through the book of songs...but to my dismay, they didn't have an anime section. I was about to panic when I searched through the entire stack of books and found, on the bottom, an entire volume dedicated to kids songs. It included a large anime selection. We were quite pleased to discover that a number of the songs, rather than having random montage videos to go along with the karaoke, actually had videos made specifically for them. I'd been at a place before that had a cycling loop of clips from the show in question, but these videos were specially designed with good scenes and they lasted the entire length of the song without cycling. (The Hunter × Hunter video, in particular, was definitely made by someone who understood the sl...<ahem> essence of the series.)
We still hadn't been able to come up with a way to make it BUNNY karaoke. The best I could think of was to sing one of the opening themes from CardCaptor Sakura, on the principle that Yukito is a bunny. But we tried.
After we finished karaoke, we made one last stop at Book Off for last-minute manga shopping. I bought a few volumes and then we headed back to the station.
Coincidence of the day #3: There was someone in a (cute) bunny suit drawing customers into Book Off. (What are the odds?)
It was standing-room-only on the train back. I was lucky on the shinkansen, however, and managed to score my favorite standing spot: the nook behind the rear seat. I get a wall to lean against, don't get shoved, and I'm near the door without being in anyone's way. If you have to stand, that's the way to go. I arrived back at Moriyama station at about 7pm. Home sweet home!
Note: Updated with pictures (thanks to advice from pacoese) and a description of a vertical parking garage.