Tuesday, August 21st, 2001:

Apparently I left Tokyo just in time. At this moment a typhoon named Pabuk is hitting Japan’s western shore, hard enough to close Universal Studios Japan and put the televised high school baseball championships I’d been watching all week on hiatus. It’s been downgraded from typhoon status, but whatever is left of it will hit the capital tomorrow morning.

After yesterday’s entry I quickly packed up and checked out of the hotel. I had an hour before I was to meet up for lunch with Kim (see last Saturday), so I made a pilgrimage to the Tokyu Hands "creative life store". It’s also mentioned in this month’s WIRED (see Sunday), and with good reason: Had I an empty suitcase to fill with loot — well, I could have got a suitcase there, even the materials to make one myself! I settled for an inflatable travel pillow, which came in handy during my flight later on.

Kim took me to this sushi place in Shibuya I had passed by a couple of times, noting the line-up that went down the street. On this particular lunch hour it was much shorter, so after taking note of the rules posted outside — "please order at least seven dishes and refrain from lingering" — we went in. Someone had told me that Japanese sushi was far more expensive and not that much better than what you could get in Toronto; they were wrong on both counts. The dishes we snatched from the conveyor belt in front of us all had ingredients that must have been dredged up from the sea that morning. And what better way to cleanse your palette than another visit to Starbucks?

Kim told me of her plans to move to Hawaii, a good strategic point for someone to do business with both Japan and the states. As good as her mastery of the Japanese language is (compared to mine), she confided that no gaijin could ever be completely accepted into Japanese society.

Still, it was with sad eyes that I watched Tokyo slip away from me on the train to the airport. I’m not the type for one-night stands, but that’s how I’m thinking about the city on this, the morning after. She was playing hard to get at first and when all was said and done I never really did understand her, but it sure was a wild ride, and if given the chance I’d go back for seconds at a moments notice!

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