Caught my 10:02 bullet train out of Shin-Kobe station...
I sleep on trains much like I do on planes, but my magazine fell out of my lap and woke me up just in time to see Mt. Fuji passing by out the window...
(This might be the first real touristy picture I've posted here all week.)
Arrived at Tokyo station at 1:08, fifteen minutes late, which is very unusual and lead to all kinds of droning apologies from JR staff.
My buddy Aki met me there and it's always good to see him! We headed to my hotel where I checked in and unpacked as we discussed lunch plans.
Aki then took me to a very old and very famous place for katsu kare here in Tokyo. "Katsu Kare" is basically a deep fried pork cutlet and curry spooned over a bowl of rice. It's been gaining popularity in NYC recently too thanks to Go Go Curry on 38th St., and a feature article in the New York Time Magazine a few months back. The katsu kare at this joint was incredible though! They make each bowl as it's ordered, no fast food here, so it takes a while but was so worth it! Totally lived up to its reputation.
We then hit up Kinokuniya, Sakuraya and a few other "geek" shops in Shinjuku where I picked up a few toys and manga. The real comic and toy shopping will happen this weekend in Akihabara and Nakano Broadway though.
One thing we did see was a promo poster for the movie RESCUE WINGS, which is a new Japanese live-action film based on the manga written and drawn by our good friend Tommy Ohtsuka. Tommy did Marvel Mangaverse with me a few years back and is now illustrating the Lords of Avalon comic series. Rescue Wings is the manga he does here in Japan and it just hit the big time! Congrats, Tommy!!
Caught the subway and popped over to Harajuku next. Dropped in to Blister, the last remaining American comic and toy shop here in Tokyo. There was a cute girl in there looking for new X-Men comics for her boyfriend. I was gonna recommend X-Infernus, but they were sold out. So she picked up X-Men/Spider-Man instead. I got a few Marvel related Japanese toys and knick-knacks I haven't seen in the States yet. Held off on buying the LOST Kubricks for now, and I knew Mutsumi would kill me if I bought the R2-D2 soy sauce bottle.
Next, we did a quick tour of Nigo's A BATHING APE establishments. I've been a BAPE fan for while, ever since I started collecting Milo stuff years ago. While I admire what he's done with the brand over the years, turning it into a global multi-million dollar empire like Ecko or Sean Jean, I'm not a big fashion guy, as most of you well know, and am never willing to pay $100 for a T-shirt. My fascination with the Bape brand stems solely from the fact that his sensibilities and designs combine Japanese and American pop culture elements for a rather unique look, hitting a niche market so successfully.
Speaking of which, the BAPE 2008 Christmas shirts just happened to go on sale yesterday...
We then hit Bape Kids as I wanted to see the banana pool I'd heard so much about. Even though there was no one else in the store, they wouldn't let me in it. I also looked for something cute for a friend's baby, but they don't really sell anything for kids under two years-old unfortunately. And even those small shirts were 50 bucks a pop!
Beers were then had at Bape Cafe, which was empty and a bit overrated, IMO. Nice KAWS artwork decorating the joint though...
Aki had to jet home to see his family, so I flew solo for the evening, hitting my favorite ramen place Tenkaipin for dinner. Like Mos Burger, Tenkaipin is a chain, and yes there are better ramen places across Japan. But I've been eating their koteri ramen for as long as I can remember when I come to Japan and simply love it! It's comfort food for my gaijin ass and no one else does soup like they do. Truly outstanding!
I then wrote some Astonishing Tales for Marvel, caught up on e-mail, read an article about Digg's Kevin Rose, and watched four episodes of BSG Season Three.