18th August 2019: 500 points at Swallowtail

I asked EfT to come with me to Swallowtail at Ikebukuro [池袋] once more because I can’t do them alone (yet). Hopefully next time. We got a very nice butler who wanted me to choose my teacup as I had already visited five times (500pts), but I always have my tea iced, so I wouldn’t be using a cup. That was a bit of a communication problem (≧▽≦).

I had a great salmon and salad set (though I pushed the pepper away, because… no thank you), and analysed the butler types. There was one so tall that the poor thing had to get backpain all the time from pushing the carts. There were the kawaii bouncy ones, broad manly ones, and one wearing lipstick. I guess catering to every trope out there.

Afterwards we sang some karaoke and then went back home until it was time for dinner. It was a quiet, unwinding day.

Walked distance: 12979 steps / 9.28 km.

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24th August 2018: Friends!

In the morning, I went to the Fire Museum [消防博物館, Shōbō hakubutsukan] in Yotsuya [四谷]. I blame my last binge on Chicago Fire for the curiosity bug to bite on that one. It was strangely interesting, but the helicopter was closed due to wind and rain – also the problem with kid friendly museums is… kids overrunning you and parents cheering for them…

Then I met Belle in Shibuya [渋谷] for sushi, and that was awesome, until we were done. Then we saw the shrimp and fish being beheaded alive in front of us. That was a shock (O_O)! After that we went for ice cream, window shopping, karaoke and dinner in Shinjuku [新宿], in MyLord building next to the station, which was really convenient and surprisingly good (and well-timed on our part). Okonomiyaki! This was my masterpiece!

(Added a lot of katsuomi to it afterwards (≧∇≦) )

23rd August 2018: 疲れた

After nine days on the go, mostly with the backpack on, today I took it easy as my body kind of hurt. I went for a stroll down Ikebukuro and looked at yukata. I went to the music shops. In the end I bought a yukata in Shinjuku’s 135º, but that is a story for another day (probably over at SemiRandom).

I got lost in Shinjuku Station. Like, very lost. Then I realised that to get to the “South Exit” you have to actually come out of the building and find it outside. Live and learn. The great thing about getting lost in Shinjuku Station was that I found all the TOKIO panels for their new videogame commercial. Including one low enough to be able to “take a selfie” with Nagase.

Then I picked up EfficientTimes in Roppongi, we had dinner and called it a day.

8th / 9th August 2018: Not really Murphy, but almost

Our story today begins in Barajas airport and the hour-long line for baggage drop off. There are a few details to this trip that might be a bit different from usual, as there is one more factor to take into account. Something that has never flared up on this journal is my chronic pain, which may or may not be fibromyalgia (we go with that for now, because it is never Lupus, and we don’t want to go into the possibility of ALS, not just yet). That makes it difficult to move and to do certain things. The greatest pain I have, or at least the most unmanageable one, is my right wrist, which at the moment warrants a 250€ wristbrace (affectionately known as the exoskeleton) and sometimes a sling.

Even though there are now direct Madrid-Tokyo flights, I booked via London, for a reason – well, actually almost 400 reasons, I’m sure you get my meaning – and direct return flight. Thus I had Iberia and British Airways flights for the leaving trip, and Iberia for the return. Somehow, British Airways told me I was able to buy my seat, but it assigned me one. I think this was because the check in defaulted via Iberia, who keep saying that they have no control over the aircraft British Airways use, so they can’t assign a seat.

So I tried to get a decent seat where I could actually manoeuvre with my wristbrace and my sling, which ended up causing the whole mess. Somehow, after a bunch of calls and emails, my check-in was effective in Iberia, since I had my boarding passes, but somehow not in British Airways – as I was denied entry into London Heathrow intercontinental area until someone punched some stuff on a computer.

Guess what this means? No? Well, it means that I made it to Tokyo Haneda – albeit we were delayed – but my luggage did not. Joy.

(Shout out here to the personnel in Madrid Barajas and London Heathrow for their helpfulness and attentiveness throughout the whole process too, and helping out when I could not move so well).

Anyway, I disembarked in Haneda, and headed off to the luggage belt only to see my name on a small whiteboard. And here we headbutt with the whole Japanese-ness for starters. Superpolite and superineffective ladies wanting me to give them a lot of details on my suitcase while unable or unwilling to answer the simple question of “Is it lost or is it in London?”. They did not know where it was, but they could tell me when it would come via Kuroneko, somehow explaining about the typhoon impacting delivery service. Well, when an airline loses your baggage, they are supposed to explain that you have some rights. For example, the right for them to compensate you for stuff you have to buy. I got none of this. Neither did I get the reference number I was supposed to get nor my receipts, but for some reason I needed to leave them the key – in case customs decided they had to open the suitcase. I tried to prod them about buying things but they would not bulge, they just wanted the paperwork filled and me out of their way.

So guess what?

That meant that I had been awake for roughly 24 hours and now I had to go shopping. For everyday clothes. In Japan. Instead of going to EfficientTime’s place and get a shower, which is what I wanted – and the only thing I could think of was the big Uniqlo in Ikebukuro. So Ikebukuro here I come.

Let’s be honest here, for as much as a disaster this could have been – It wasn’t. I had all my money with me, had not packed any, and I did not have pressing stuff that required special clothes. As someone pointed out, if this had happened the year of Gackt’s birthday party I would have died. But it was not really fun, having to spend the first afternoon looking for XL clothes in Uniqlo and Sunshine City. In the end I found enough stuff to survive two or three days and headed off to EfficientTime’s apartment to have my shower, change into new clothes and then get some dinner. And sleep. Cuz sleeping is a thing.

I think one of the T-shirts I bought perfectly illustrates the situation:

31st July 2017: Little Korea and Tsukishima

I met up with Belle in Shin Okubo [新大久保] to walk around Korean Town make-up shops. Afterwards we headed off to Iidabashi [飯田橋] because I needed to drop by the school I had been at the previous year and Belle was nice enough to come with me. we took the chance to have a great sushi lunch at a bit of a more refined sushi place than our usual sushi lines. It was so very amazing!

Then I wanted to go to Ikebukuro [池袋] again because I had not found something I wanted in the Shibuya Tokyu Hands on Saturday, and we found ourselves a nice place to sit down and have something to drink (aka, Starbucks) because it was our chance to try whatever lemon beverage they were selling at the moment.

Then I headed off to Tsukishima [月島] to have okonomiyaki and monja with Ms-san and EfficientTimes. And then there was a parfait / icecream / whatever.

28th July 2017: Shopping at Ikebukuro

This is something I had never thought I would have done, but it was strangely fun – I went shopping along Ikebukuro [池袋]. And not fandom shopping – well, yes, there was fandom shopping, but… It was weird. I was in the Book Off as always that I’m around. I was also in the Sanryo Gift Gate but there was no Yoshikitty to be found.

The original intent was going to the Sunshine City Aquarium [サンシャイン水族館] but when I arrived there was a very long line, so I decided to wander around for a while. I accidentally ran into a T-shirt that I loved and had to buy – full of sciency formulae, and a bag I really liked. I found it a bit expensive, so “decided” not to buy it.

After some conbini lunch I went back to the Aquarium and decided to wait as the line did not seem to be about to be longer than 15 minutes (much better than the 45 before).

The Aquarium was full and it never fails to surprise me how Japanese kids are this wild in aquariums in general- but this time I got pushed around by grannies too! XD I also found a new appreciation for pelicans and ended up with a lot of pelicanbutt pictures.

After the aquarium I headed to the Closet Child on my way to the station and bought a very cool T-shirt from a group I don’t really listen to, but very cool, and 1000¥. And then, because I had not really gotten myself anything too expensive in Closet Child, I gave into temptation and went back for the handbag. Many people have complimented me for it, and I really love it.

Afterwards I met up with Belle for sushi and Starbucks while EfficientTimes was in a fancy dinner on a boat, with my camera (yay phone pictures). After I got into the train, I was messaging with EfficientTimes and we realised that we were on the same train. What are the chances? Very, very small XD

January 8th (and 9th), 2017: The jump back to Tokyo… and then completely back…

At an insane hour in the morning, umbrella-less and in the middle of the rain, I got myself back to the point where buses were finally running to the airport. I dozed away the trip, because else I would have kept tying to read quizzes in Hiroshima-ben, the local dialect, that they were displaying on the bus screen.

I made it to the airport and pulled a bunch of things off my backpack to conceal them before I got my boarding pass in case my carry on got checked, but once again the ‘I am a scary gaijin’ thing worked and I was free to go.

I was allowed to get my water bottle in, even with it being half-full, and I had a Calbee crisps breakfast because I could not find a sandwich inside, although in retrospective, maybe I should have gone out and back again as I had time. Then again, I would have had to explain that to security… never mind. So I had coffee and crisps. Not the best option, but what I had available.

When I landed I arranged to meet Belle at Shibuya for gyoza, and boy did we eat gyoza. And afterwards she walked me to Shinjuku to buy some stuff, and then we went to a cafeteria for cake… well, she had cake, I had a coffee jelly with vanilla which was my new favourite thing in the world. I seriously need to learn to make that.

2017_01_08_gyozashibuya
2017_01_08_-renoirjelly

After that there was a visit to Swallowtails, the butler café, which is as always very fun. We had a bit of a lost butler – he felt kind of new – and not the prettiest one. I noticed that they have uniformed the butlers, too, so now they are all wearing the same thing. After that we dropped by the shop and I got myself a bracelet I can’t wear because my wrist is too thin… and here I thought that I would get away with stuff prepared for Japanese girls… nope.

After that there were goodbyes and thank yous and tears because the only thing that I did the next day was going to the airport, more goodbyes, more tears. Very sad. As always.

Until next time, I guess.

Maybe.

Hopefully.