Thursday, August 16th, 2001:

Jet lag is still a problem.

I spent yesterday morning and afternoon exploring Shibuya. It seems to be more a centre of culture than of gadgets. I did find an official Sega arcade, but half of it was devoted to gambling. i-Mode phones are everywhere; I screwed mine up not knowing if it had voice mail or not, and missed two calls, probably from the people who rented it to me.

At one point I found myself off the beaten path, on an unusually quiet series of side streets. The few who passed me, mostly couples, weren’t too keen on making eye contact. Then I figured it out: I’d found Love Hotel Hill!

When the heat was at it worst, I decided to splurge on a milkshake, not from McDonald’s or Wendy’s (if anyone is still wagering — see yesterday), but from a local chain called — well, the logo had an “L” with an orange sun coming out from behind it. Unfortunately the otherwise helpful young man behind the counter didn’t speak English, and I ended up with another iced coffee, this one with cream!

For lunch I checked out the Food Fair in the basement of the Tokyu department store. Lots of interesting foodstuffs, but apparently nowhere to eat them. I settled for some take out noodles from a variety store, smiling like an idiot to whatever the cashier said until it was time to say “arigato”.

Another Japanese voice followed me throughout the day. Some guy with a sound system so kick-ass that I could hear it in my 22nd-floor hotel room was repeating what sounded like a message of protest. It’s around the anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War Two, and all of Asian is up in arms about the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to a war memorial. Of course, for all I know, this guy could have been yelling “Remember, whatever the Canadian asks for, give him iced coffee!” into his megaphone.

Here’s where the jet lag comes in: I came back to my hotel for a quick nap, and the next thing I knew it was 3 in the morning…

Today’s mission is to conquer the subway system, or at least gain some functional experience with it. Joining me will be an invaluable piece of Palm software, Metro. My destination is Akihabara, and I won’t leave until I find a copy of Tokyo Bus Guide for my Dreamcast. 😛

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