Another morning of repacking, a walk to the station, and a train ride to Tokyo (~3 hours)… most people napped (I read).
We got out at Tokyo and took a subway to the hotel, dropped off our packs, and walked around to find food. Ironically, our hotel was right next to Akihabara, the Electronic Market in Tokyo, and it was Sunday, a day so busy the street is shut down to vehicles and the area is swarmed with geeks of all varieties and the people that feed on/off them. So, we walked around there for a while. Apparently the prices are supposed to be incredible, but I suppose you had to know where to shop because most of the prices I saw were simply good. Admittedly, they were good prices, but comparable to what you can get online and not an easy place for me to make a return. It was still really fun to see blocks and blocks (often for a few stories) of nothing but electronics, computers, anime, software, and quasi-related things like fake ninja gear and small stages where small musical acts preformed small music. (think Britney Spears before popular, perhaps even more fake)
After that, we took naps at the hotel, and took a series of subways to meet Keiichi at the dock to the ferry (we were late because of April, typical). We got ferry tickets and took the boat to a different dock somewhere else in the Tokyo bay / shipping channel (Sorry, I had no idea where we were). We couldn’t get on the top observation deck because the water was so high we would be in danger of hitting some of the bridges, but even from inside it was a cool trip and a good “getting to know you time” with Keiichi.
Once we were off the boat, we took cabs to a _____ restaurant. The food there was fantastic. Basically, it was just different types of meat and veggies that we grilled ourselves over a pot of coals they brought out to built-in grills in our table. Keiichi was really into rare meat, but it’s apparently a lot safer to eat rare meat in Japan than in the US – I think they don’t import meat from the USA due to safety concerns.
Somehow, I don’t remember the discussion about it, but somehow we decided to go to the Hard Rock café in Tokyo for drinks and dessert. It was Keiichi’s birthday and April got the waitress to do the birthday song thing… they really make a big deal there, with lights and sparklers, and everyone in the restaurant singing… I think it successfully embarrassed Keiichi, but only in a fun way. He took it well. He even got a button with his picture in it saying “happy birthday”. I think he was 20 something .
We were all having a great evening and didn’t want to quit (though poor Keiichi had to go to work the following morning), so we decided to go to a local Karaoke place. “That boy can sing” (as said Eddie Murphy in the movie Coming to America). Actually Keiichi was the best singer, with April coming in second, and the Karen and finally me. Yes Anita was there and she probably makes the list somewhere above me, but she would never use the microphone so she doesn’t get a score. Luckily karaoke is done in a private room there and we could still hear Anita… and lord knows we could hear loud April without the mic…We sang mostly English song, but Keiichi did sing a few Japanese songs, which were quite cool. We all left at like 1 am or something and we went back to the hotel… obviously not worth too much more after that. Keiichi had to be at work at 8 am (he works way too damn hard).