Man about the town (July 2002)index | prev | next

Much of my time in Tokyo was spent wandering the surface streets trying to decipher what passes for an address in this crazy country or taking the subway across town after realizing that I wanted to be in Asakusa rather than Asakasa.

Of course, I visited Akihabara, the electronics mecca. Browsing through stores with two hundred different models of cell phone and three hundred of mini-disc player has a way of making a geek go weak in the knees.

Somewhere in recent history, the Japanese seem to have lost touch with the elegance that characterized their architecture through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

My inadvertent trip to Asakasa was not entirely without merit. I did chance to see this peculiar building while searching in vain near the subway station for a temple that was actually miles across town.

I strolled through Shinjuku, a more traditional shopping district. I didn't actually do any shopping here, having discovered that the Japanese come to the states to shop because the cost of the plane ticket is negligible in the face of the savings accumulated by paying $20 instead of $200 for a tee-shirt.

More... colorful scenery.

With a smattering of serendipity, Dan sent an email about some crazy ice cream exhibit going on in Tokyo. Having the good fortune of being there at the time, we decided it was only right that we go have a look for ourselves.

The exhibit turned out to be in Namco Nanja Town, a funny place that lived on the spectrum somewhere between Chuck-E-Cheese and Disneyland.

We first encountered some rather uninspiring vanilla ice cream.

Fortunately, after navigating the sea of screaming kids, we located some of the stranger alternatives: chicken-, eggplant-, and what looked like loaf-of-bread-flavored ice cream.

Further exploration uncovered some truly bizarre choices. I can only assume that the shrimp, not the little Eskimo, is to be taken as indication of the flavor.

The beauty of this ice cream exhibit was that it was interactive. Aside from the few display models on the way in, it was all for sale. Vic tried the chicken flavored ice cream and I went for wasabi. Were we hungrier, we might have dared one another to try some of the more "exotic" flavors, but fortunately such gastronomic horseplay was not in the cards.

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©2002 michael bayne  <>