17 September 2013

Wanderers are not always lost

After all the excited meant from the Sumo match yesterday I woke up ready for the world (literally) and ready to hit the streets.  The guys on the other hand were not ready for the world and not ready to hit the streets.  PoppaAlpha woke up with back pain and decided laying on the couch watching TV would be the best way for him to spend his day.  You know men... He had a comfy couch, a remote, and a couple of beers; his day was made!  I asked the boys if they wanted to join me running errands they declined. The promise of unlimited iPad and Nintendo 3DS usage under their dad's supervision was far more attractive than doing "girl things" with mom.  They declared it a "Boys only day" and much to my satisfaction I headed out on my own to buy our train tickets to get to the airport tomorrow and to buy last minute souvenirs.  The weather was perfect.  Cuñada-chan emailed info on how and where to buy the train tickets from work. She also included directions on how to get to a few discount stores near the Yokohama train station.  She recommended I buy my tickets from the teller since the machine could be a little confusing.  
After just a week here I felt comfortable in getting around the area.  I knew the bus to get on, the right train, the right stop, etc.  once at the Yokohama train station I began my search for the Narita Express ticket counter.  Whenever I asked for help, "Narita Express?!" People pointed me to the machine.  I took a deep breath and decided to try it out despite the risk of really screwing up something extremely important.  I started by pushing the "English Button" I followed the instruction and prompts and just like that, voila! I had 3 tickets from 9:39am leaving the Yokohama train station arriving at the Narita Airport for the following day!  Yippee!  I did it I was so proud of myself! 
Now that the most important (and costly) part if my day was taken care of I dd died to look for beautiful sensu (handheld fans) and Japanese handkerchiefs for my girls back home.  One thing I notice here  in the train or really anywhere where it was a little warm all the ladies arojnd me would pull out beautiful Japanese sensu and start fanning themselves. They'd seem to come out of nowhere and with a flick if their wrist they'd all open and start waving their beautiful piece of art.  Each time my initial thought would be "I want one toooo!"  If these beautiful super feminine women were sweating they'd crank up their swag meter by taking out a delicate Japanese handkerchief and start dabbing their faces.  Well I decided that I also wanted to be that pretty and feminine and getting own, and of course she the beauty of it all with my friends.
On my search for the discount store "Don Quijote" (I know funny,right!) I knew it was my time to do one of the things I most enjoy in my travels; roam freely.  
Wandering around accomplishes all types of things and this time my wandering didn't disappoint my first treasure was stumbling into a department store the first 5 levels were electronics.  What better place to look at electronics than the most technologically advanced country in the planet?!  This place was like Best Buy on steroids.  I as shocked however to see te prices were higher than in the US.  Zane and Dude have launched a full blown campaign for us to buy Dude a Nintendo 1DS and they are constantly showing me adds that price the game unit at $99.  Here the Nintendo 1DS was $150.  I was so happy they weren't with me to harass me and beg for it.   The next 5 floors up had large alliances, stereo equipment, TVs, every thing electronic that you could image in.  I went up so many escalators I lost track of how many to go back down to get out, luckily I was still able to get out of the same door I entered.  I keep walking and walking until I saw a store a store that said Family Center.  Surely they'll sell sensual there.  Nope it was just like a 7-11 grocery store.  On my way out I glanced over and saw the ice cream section.  Just the day before close family friend sent me a FB message telling me to try green tea ice cream; and whatayaknow, it was right there waiting for me, made my haggen-daas.  So now I'm walking down the street, wind blowing in my locks, eating the most delicious mix of green tea and ice cream flavored all packed in one!  I briefly stepped off the road to throw away the plastic ice cream bowl cover and as son as a turn back around I hear," excuse me, who does your locks here?" Asking this question as a very pretty jada pinkett petite sistah with a head full of beautiful dreadlocks of her own.  
I laughs from the pleasant surprise and reply,"I don't live here I'm just visiting." 
"Awh man! What are you don't here?"
I then went on the explain that in actually here with a family that didnt want to really the streets today, that we were visiting family, and it was our last full day in Japan.  For some reason it so rare seeing Westerners, especially Westerners of Africa descent that you're first question is  a cut to the chase "what are you doing here?!"  I loved the straight forwardness if being asked this on several occasions since vein here and returned the inquiry.  She in the other hand had lived in Japan for years her husband is Japanese and she just loves it there.  The best part of our conversations was that she, Najwa, was from Atlanta, not too far from where I live, was a spell a graduate.  I love when I meet a neighbor on the other side of the  planet.  We chatted excitedly about what I've  done, eaten, and gone.  Before parting I remembered to ask her where I could find don quijote or sensu.  She knew exactly where to go and offered to take me.  We headed off walking still chatting like long lost friends.  In the store she asked the clerks in Japanese where to find sensual and we headed off.  Before leaving me at the store she gave me her email address and FB name.  I think it'll be great to keep in touch with her and hopefully see her again either in Japan or the US. 
I finally found some sensu but to the cute delicate kind this were wooden and clumsy.  So the search continued.  I roamed and roamed, suddenly I found myself in a high end department store.  I asked and elevator operator, "sensu?"  She then started talking full speed in Japanese.  I only caught 2 words sensu and kimono and she opened her palm touching it with her pointer finger.  I knew that was the Japanese hand gesture for the number six.  Ok, soooo I'm assuming they are on the sixth floor in the kimono section...? I went up to the aixth floor an there they were amazingly beautiful Sensu... For 4500¥ ($45) each!!!! Whoa momma, there was not way I was getting those.  I needed something in between clumsy wood and professional geisha sensus, the search continued.  The fashion in Tokyo is the best.  Of all the cities I think their fashion style best suits their cultural personality it ranges from kimono elegance to futuristic anime style.  It just uniquely Japanese, no other place like it.   
So back to the street I went in and out of stores? Up and down escalators, in and out of streets.  I run into a Japanese guy with beautiful long dreadlocks.  I couldn't resist asking him for a pic.  He accepted and blushed at the request. 
By now is been on the move for about 5 hours!!! I decided to grab a quick bite to eat. By oi know I had to go to Mickie D's to see if they sold a McSushi or something.  I didn't see that in the menu but I did remember Cuñada-chan mentioning how much she liked the teriyaki mcburger so I order that with fries, the largest freakin' order of fries I've ever seen.  It was like 2 super-sized fries connected side by side.  I took my food up to the hidden upstairs seating area and got on viber to check in with my guys still in the apartment.  They were just fine.  As a looked aroun I noticed  just about everyone around me (adult and child) was playing a video game either on a Nintendo 3DS, PSP, or their phone.  Only in Japan!!! They were definitely in their zones.  
Once again on the move I was able to find one hello kitty sensu and a couple of cute tiny Japanese-style pouches.  No handkerchief and no Japanese- style sensu. :-( I the sun was setting and I decided to head home.  I went to te correct platform, waited for the limited express train, and headed home in the most of rush hour crowds.  As soon as I stepped  out of the train station to catch the bus I was in neon lights the store name "apita".  That's the first first store Cuñada-chan had mentioned but I didn't see it earlier before heading to by the train tickets. I rushed in there headed for the kimono sections and found beautiful. 500¥ ($5) sensu and previous 400¥ ($4) handkerchiefs and clutch purses.  I racked up and got everything I need for people back home.  This also have me a chance to get rid of some yen coins.  
As soon as I got home I was exhausted.  Bro came home and he, Dude, and I picked up a-chan from daycare and back home.  Bro then took alphapoppa and Zane to a yakatori spot (AlphaPoppa's new favorite food).  
Cuñada chan came home from work and starters preparing herself and A-chan for bed and for the next day.  I'm going to miss them soooo much.  Every time we see its other its great but this time was simply the best.  It was heart- warming to see the boys play so well as cousins and to spend time with cunada-chan and we sister.  Even if we weren't related by marriage I would chose them as friends, there is nothing better than that!  Tomorrow we head back home so unpacked our bags, laid out our travel clothes, and we all went to bed. 

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