Sunday, July 11, 2004

A day of exploration

July 10, 2004

I woke up again at 4.30 am and then at 7.30 and then at 9. It�s weird for it repeat in the exact same way as the previous morning. I finished up the journey part of my dairy so that I could post it on my blog when I went out to explore. I left around noon to downtown Kumamoto to walk around the mall. I carried the laptop, with maps and my cd player to listen to. I parked my bike somewhere in the middle of the mall and then walked to the end to start exploring. I wanted to buy Kumamoto postcards so that I could send them to my friends. I will also send one home.

After an hour of browsing, I start looking for some place I could get some grub. It was expensive everywhere. I thought about McDonalds but after looking at the size of the burgers, I knew that it wouldn�t fill me. So I looked at KFC and came to the same conclusion. I then found a smaller eating joint where I could get a chicken curry with rice, soup and salad for 490 Yen which was about $4.60. It was plenty food and moderately priced. I went in to see that I had to use some machine to get a ticket for the food. I told the lady there I couldn�t read Japanese but I knew what I wanted. I took her outside to the picture of the food I wanted and she took me inside and told me which buttons to press. It all worked out. My first all Japanese encounter. The service was very quick because she had the food ready in a couple of minutes. I ate the salad with chopsticks because there was no fork. But she had given me a spoon for the soup and rice and curry. It was the right amount of food and after a satisfied stomach, I did more exploring.

I went into this electronics store to look at prices of stuff there. Everything was about 50-75% more expensive than the US. I looked at digital cameras and CD players. If I find a good deal on an mp3-CD player, I�ll buy it. I went it a store which sold sharp objects. There was a knife with a sheath that I wanted to buy but it wasn�t sharpened. I asked him how much a longer sharpened knife/sword cost and he told me that it would be $700. By the way, by asking I mean writing down on a piece of paper in English. I carried a small notebook and a pen in case I needed it and I apparently needed it quite a lot. It was pretty expensive but I felt like I could spend that much because I wanted a sword because it would be cool. But I don�t think I will buy it, I much rather spend it on other stuff here. I was looking around for souvenirs to take back. I kept seeing these chopsticks or it could be hair pins.. I dunno.. I know that badminton is pretty big here. So I went searching for badminton equipment. I found them but Yonex racquets were $200+! Damn! I quickly found my way out. I went into a few more stores but didn�t really find anything that I wanted to buy then. Last but not the least, I entered this mege department store. This was bigger than the Marshall Field�s in downtown Chicago. It housed every haute couture brand name imaginable. I knew that I wasn�t really going to buy anything in this store unless something was moderately priced. I think I need to go shopping with someone who knows where to get the best deals. I wanted Masao to introduce me to his daughter because she was home on vacation and apparently had a lot of free time. I thought she could show me around since she should know her home city pretty well. But I haven�t met her yet. She just graduated from an American university and is now prepping for her medical exams in Japan. So, I assume she can speak good English. I went to the bottom two floors of the super store and saw it had food. I tried several tasters they had put out. I just walked around looking for tasters. They also had whole section devoted to desserts. After this store, I went to the cyber caf� to check email and stuff. I used my laptop there because I could. They have free drinks at this place which was cool. I put up the first of the blogs and sent a few emails. I was there for an hour and then decided to head back to my apartment.

I got back around 6.30 and ate dinner. I tried the grapefruit juice but it was too bitter for me. So, I think I am going to throw it away. I finished Digital Fortress by Dan Brown in a single sitting last evening. It was pretty good. It�s scary to realize that we do not have any privacy in our lives and Big Brother is always watching. I watched a bit of TV, wrote my journal and then went to bed.

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