Daniel in Japaniel

Thanksgiving in Tokyo (part 3)

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Japan’s public transport is a beautiful thing. No more than three hours ago, I was eating at KEIO’s Hiyoshi campus south of Tokyo, talking about the smell-exhibit my friend co-curated. Now, I am listening to The Bird and the Bee’s “My Love” back at Ryukoku’s Omiya campus next to Nishi-honganji temple in Kyoto. There is only a bullet train ride with Charlie separating me from these two places.

Although my time here really holds: catching up with ABS people, Ryudai folk and co-workers from Long Island Cafe; for the next few minutes I will detail the final part of my Thanksgiving in Tokyo.

The last post is a video of what I saw. Nothing special, just another holiday shopping season, with Peace on Earth playing behind me. That’s all, just the spirit of things really. After window shopping (which is the same word in Japanese), I reunited with Julian for a spur of the moment trip to the Tokyo dome.

In the background you can see a ferris wheel and a rollercoaster. Originally we wanted to ride the rollercoast, which spits you through the very mall adjacent to “Tokyo Dome City”.

While, yes, TDC is home to the renowned Tokyo Giants (the Yankee-esque rivals of Osaka’s Hasshin Tigers). This little capitalist’s wet dream hosts a variety of American style restaurants, including Bubba Gump Shrimp. T-day didn’t have this chain in mind.

Instead, I went for what I always go when depressed in the holiday season, a giant burger. The “largest” Tokyo offers, the “Chu-Ri-Pu-Ru Baa-Gaa” *CAUTION: Vegetarian/Vegan readers beware. Gratuitous Images*

In the Thanksgiving spirit I shared this moment with a new family.

And then went next door for a sundae at Baskin Robbins.

At this point you must really envy my decadent life. Compared to a feast with family, who could want more? Of course this binge eating wasn’t spurred by any lack of the emotion comfort of something called home.

How do you explain this picture?

Really, what would Thanksgiving be without emotional eating.

In other news, the ATMs at convenience stores here only accept transactions from Japanese banks and Citibank. Is this happening back home?

My tactic to wait until December to exchange my US dollars, hoping for a minor jump in the dollar to yen, seems so far, so pitiful. I traded 100 dollars for 9200 yen. The conversation about the economy with the clerk was worth the eight dollars I lost. And, yes, of course my losses are only marginal.

Spent the bullet ride back catching up with Charlie, who coincidentally was on the same return train (a testament to Japan’s size), sleeping, and re-reading the Tenzo-Kyokun (instructions to zen chefs).

As my research on Zen vegetarian cooking to contemporary Japanese food, it is only natural to cap my experiences with the indulgence of an “American” burger.

I turned to the last pages of Dogen’s work and a few of his words registered a little different this time around,

Be very clear about this. A fool sees himself as another, but a wise man sees others as himself.”

Suddenly we were passing Mt. Fuji. The first time I’ve seen this mountain, with wisps of snow like dust clearing off it’s cold peak.

Then as quick as we saw it, the bullet was back in the dark of the tunneled out mountain bases.

If there is anything I want you, reader to take away from this, it’s, as Japanese college students smell glass vials of tree smells and old clothes, while writing down their most hated and loved scents of all time, (fig. 1)

Australians are selling canned wine to FamilyMart convenience stores all across this island nation. (fig. 2)


Written by Daniel

November 28, 2008 at 10:49 am

Posted in food

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