Friday, January 23, 2004

Two weeks after coming back from Tokyo

During the last two weeks back in London, I felt like I wasn't in London. I didn't feel like studying. I was always depressed by how difficult it is for me to manage to speak English in a satisfactory way. When I attended a seminar, I couldn't concentrate myself, something that had never happened to me before.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

I Miss Tokyo.

Come back to London. I was missing London during the first few days of my stay in Tokyo, but now I am missing Tokyo. I really enjoyed the party last Friday, but I can't throw a party in the same way in London. This fact made me even feel I didn't want to go back to London... I usually don't feel this kind of backward emotions (Is "backward" the right word for this? I don't know how to put this in English). I always look forward, though I sometimes stop moving forward. But never going backwards. So this upset me. Why do I feel like this?

Friday, January 09, 2004

London-style Party in Tokyo

I visit University of Tokyo again, meeting Aoki-kun, Takahashi-san, Kato-san, Kanaya-kun, Kawamoto-kun, and Waki-kun.

For lunch, I take away Yoshinoya's gyu-don (a bowl of rice topped with beef). Just paying for 280 yen (1.4 pounds), you can get your lunch. Unthinkable in London. Another moment I'm impressed about Japan.

In the evening, I throw a London-style party at Bobby's Cafe in Shibuya, inviting my best friends in Tokyo: Mihara-kun, Misao-san, Yoo-chan, Jun-chan, Torolin, Ono-san, Reiko, Tomoko, and Mark. Why is this London-style? Because each of my friends doesn't know each other. It's not uncommon in London to invite your friends from different backgrounds. But that's not true in Japan. We usually go to restaurants or bars with our friends from the same background so all of us know each other in the first place.

So I'm a bit anxious about it. Does a friend of mine enjoy talking to another friend of mine who he or she didn't meet before? But it turns out that everybody seems to enjoy the party more than I expected! Of course I enjoy the party, too, surrounded by my best friends. It's really a good evening.

When the party is over, my last train has already gone. In Tokyo, there's no night bus. So I visit and stay at Mihara-kun's place overnight. Actually, it's good to have a chance to talk to him a lot.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Consumer Electronics Shopping in Tokyo

I go to Yodobashi Camera, a consumer electronics chain, at Shinjuku. First, I have my minidisk player fixed. Then I buy Seiko Instruments Inc's IC Dictionary SR-M6000 at around 30,000 yens (about 150 pounds). IC dictionaries (mobile electronic dictionaries) seem very popular now in Japan. What's good about this product is that it contains Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, my favorite English-English dictionary. Cool!

When I walk around the store, I find the same wireless ADSL modem router as the one we got in London (see 5th November). I check the price. 15,000 yen. About 75 pounds. Less than half as much as we paid for it in London. Oh, my God.

This is what's good about living in Japan. Electronics products are of high quality and available at reasonable prices.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Menswear Shopping in Tokyo

I visit Reiko working at a boutique called Agosto Shop in Laforet Harajuku, Tokyo's counterpart of Topshop. The last time I saw Reiko was last July, when she left London (see 4th July). Since then, we exchanged some e-mail messages, getting along with each other.

Her shop is mainly for ladieswear. Unless she works there, I'll never visit this shop. It's really different from menswear boutiques. The fitting room is really huge, like a hotel lounge. Reiko shows me some clothes that men can also wear. They are really different from what's available in menswear stores. Actually I get one pair of trousers, though it's not for winter. Thanks to Reiko, I can peep at a different world.

Then I head for Shibuya, where three other Marui department stores are located. I finally get two nice winter trousers of Morgan Homme and Michel Klein Homme. I also buy a green and black mohair scarf of 58 Goya By Jun Men. Shopping menswear in Tokyho is fun!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

University of Tokyo

I visit the Department of Economics at University of Tokyo, where I got my master's degree. I meet Shoji-kun and Uochi-san, both of them are writing their master theses due this Friday. Then I attend the Microeconomics Seminar, where Hanaki-san presents his joint research on experimental economics. After the seminar, I talk to my ex-supervisor Yanagawa-sensei for one minute. He says, "When you write a paper, send me a copy." I hope this will happen soon...

Monday, January 05, 2004

Women's pro-wrestling again

I still have a cold. But I'm tired of sleeping. So I'm watching Japanese women's pro-wrestling on satellite tv all day. (See 29 March and 6 April last year for my passion for it.) Last year I always checked what was happening in the world of Japanese women's pro-wrestling via the internet. But I didn't watch the actual battles. So it's fun to connect the real images to what I knew. Among the bouts I watch, the best single match is Hotta Yumiko vs Akino (at Kawasaki Taiikukan on 25th July 2003), and the best tag match is Tamura Yoshiko, Ohmukai Michiko, Hyuga Azumi, and Nakanishi Momoe vs Inoue Kyoko, Inoue Takako, Mita Etsuko, and Ito Kaoru (at Korakuen Hall on 3rd November 2003).

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Winter in Tokyo

I catch cold. I have a sore throat. I'm too used to life in London. Winter in London is not so cold as in Tokyo, and it's very warm inside the house owing to central-heating during the night. But my bedroom in my parents' house in Tokyo has an air-conditioner. During my 25 years of life in Tokyo, I'd turn it off when I went to bed. So I followed this habit last night. I was wrong. It got really cold during the night. As I didn't sleep on New Year's Eve, got worn out by the 13-hour flight from London, and walked around a lot yesterday, I gave way to the flu virus... So I'm on bed all day today. What a waste of time in Tokyo!

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Marui Men

I go shopping at Marui Men Shinjuku, the eight-story department store for menswear only (see 4 April 2003). Can you believe this? This reflects how fashionable Japanese young men are.

I'm looking for nice-looking winter trousers, but I fail to find any. It's a bargain sale season. Good stuff flies away soon. I get PPFM's fancy black leather belt, Comme Ca Du Mode Men's socks, and 5351 Pour Les Hommes's thick t-shirt.

In the evening I have dinner with Takeshi at To The Herbs, a budget Italian restaurant, at Harajuku. I order Japanese-style Italian pizza (topped with seaweed) and spaghetti (with soy-sauce).

Takeshi is a fledgling lawyer. He passed the bar exam two years ago, and is now under training at Hakodate, a northern port town of Japan. We share the idea of pursuing our respective careers as far as possible. He says, "Most of my friends don't understand this outlook on life. In this sense, you're one of my precious friends."

Friday, January 02, 2004

Back in Tokyo

I arrive at the Narita Airport at 10 am. My parents are waiting for me there. My dad got his driver's license last year. So he drove to the airport. I get an impression that both of my parents have a different air than before. Do they get old?

When I arrive at my parents' home, I feel like I get taller. This happened last April when I went back to Japan, too. As Japanese people are generally shorter than Western people, the height of every piece of furniture is lower. So I feel like I'm a tall guy.

Nyanko, our pet cat, still remembers me. She's a good-looking cat, but she looks a bit older. Time has passed.