J-Town December 2006: It’s Still There

Yesterday I went with the anime club to visit Japantown and had a pretty good time. The announced departure time was 9 o’clock but that was actually to get people to leave by 9:30. Three cars left from campus and one of them (mine) stopped in Vacaville to pick up someone who was a little late.

My group was the first to arrive after a little bit of trouble locating the Japan Center. I tried to give directions that unfortunately ended up being slightly wrong but it was okay because we got there in one piece. We kicked around Kinokuniya and waited for the others to get there. Everyone grouped together in the store and agreed to let people wander and meet back in front of Kino a hour from then for lunch. I ended up buying Mahoraba volume 2 and Nodame Contabile volume 1 and then left to walk around by myself.

I went downstairs to look around Taiyodo Record, a small music store, and the owner struck a conversation with me. It started out with general discussion of how Gackt is popular with chicks contrasted with the male-leaning fanbase of the pillows. (Yes, it is uncapitalized.) Then it shifted to him mostly telling me how things like gas and coffee are more costly in Japan compared to America. Apparently, it is not unusual to encounter a $50 toll when crossing a bridge by car! An old Japanese woman came in and asked about the different 2007 calendars while pointing at the ones with idols on the poster attached to the store’s front door. I just stood there and laughed along with them, understanding some things through context but not everything that was said. Before I left, he asked about my schooling and other stuff.

Next, I walked down to Mikado Music (a slightly bigger store) and stumbled upon “Xbox the Best”, a compliation of music from 20 . It struck me as a little odd to appear in a Japanese import store so I took a picture of it. A couple minutes later, I bought a used CD single of little by little’s “Love & Peace” for 8 dollars since I felt I needed to purchase something to make up for the picture I snapped. I listened to the single when I got home and it was okay but not great.

After that, I walked out of the main mall and went along the northern perimeter of Japantown when I came upon a Buddhist shrine at the corner of Sutter and Laguna. I stopped and looked at it for a minute or so before moving on because I had to get back for lunch.

We ate lunch at May’s Coffee Shop and I had the chicken curry. It tasted good but had less of a punch that I’d expect when eating curry. The shop did sell taiyaki for $1.50 but I must have made the mistake of pointing to the chocoloate ones the cook was making instead of the three that had already been made. I don’t remember exactly what he said but I think it was that a lady had already ordered the ones he was in process of creating? Oh well, maybe next time.

The theme of me being a bad backseat navigator resurfaced when I accompanied the latecomer when he was dropped off near his car in Vacaville. We got back onto the freeway going west when we actually needed to go east. So we turned off at the next exit (Mason Street) and it took us about 10 minutes to figure out how to get back on the freeway the correct way. After that it was smooth sailing and had a good back-and-forth the rest of the way. To add insult to injury, the driver of the first car I rode in nicknamed me “TomTom” after the popular GPS navigation device. Too bad I’m not as accurate.

Each time I visit Japantown, I have to find new ways to keep my interest. The next club trip will likely be in winter quarter so I will try then to obtain cheap anime-related items for the end-of-year auction to raise funds. Another thing that helps keep it fresh for me is the fact the club eats lunch at different places each time. I suppose my intention to blog about this weekend’s journey also staving off weariness but, despite all those positive things, I still got somewhat bored because the same stores are still there.

Now to close out, here are some pictures that I couldn’t smoothly weave in:

 The restaurant Izumiya had a tall Christmas display along its storefront…

…you can buy decorative plastic food from Sanko Cooking Supplies…

… and the final of the Japanese Sake Cocktail Competition takes place this Monday the 4th. One of the more obvious rules is that at least 50% of an entered drink’s alcohol content must be sake.

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One response to “J-Town December 2006: It’s Still There

  1. i wish we had a japan town conviently within a drivable distance