Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Return to the Host Club Scene, Part 1

Last Monday, a friend and I went to Kabukicho. She wanted me to take her to a host club, and of course I was happy to do so. We left at around 5:30 in the evening, and the weather was absolutely terrible, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing...it meant that there were less customers.

First we walked around a bit, and collected plenty of flyers from different hosts. The first-time prices weren't bad, certainly better than the one for the first host club I went to back in January (called 'Secret'). We decided to go to Egoist, which has a "free first-time" deal.

A host escorted us to a seat and we were given the "boy menu," which is a photo album of hosts at the club. This never happened at Secret, possibly because it was busy then. My friend and I picked which ones we wanted, but we thought that we were stuck with them as a permanent "shimei," or "designated host." We found out at the end of our time that picking from the boy menu just means that we were choosing which host we definitely wanted to meet that night, so we were still able to meet several more hosts.

The hosts I met at Egoist weren't quite as good as the ones at Secret. A few of them seemed a bit awkward, even taking their eyes off of me to take a drink, which showed me that they were somewhat nervous. I can't blame them, I guess, but in order to be nominated, a host has to do his very best to stand out.

One host got my attention, and he happened to be the one I asked to see. When I looked at the menu, I wasn't sure if I wanted to pick him, because his photo was kind of dark (in a mysterious kind of way) so I couldn't see his face clearly. My friend told me to pick him anyway, so I did. When he finally arrived, at first I didn't recognize him because he had dark hair and glasses:




When I received his business card, I realized that he was the one I wanted to meet. I felt very relaxed with him. He asked me why I liked Japanese guys, and about dating and approaching people, to which I answered that I was kind of shy, and he said that he was pretty shy too. I wasn't sure about that before, but I could tell that he has a very calm and quiet nature, which I really liked. I do like funny and outgoing hosts, but there was something mysterious and unique about this guy...not to mention that he wore glasses, which made him look extra cute :)

The next club I went to is called 'Ability.' It's a fairly new club with a pretty small cast. First time was also free there. I didn't meet as many people, and my friend and I actually ended up talking to two of the hosts for a while before switching. At one point we even had up to four hosts gathered at our table, probably because the club was so empty that night.

The first two we talked to were cool. One was funny but not really good looking, and the other was somewhat good-looking, but somewhat of the silent type. They could have been a manzai duo (comedy duo). But I really enjoyed this club because they let me sing karaoke! I was surprised I would even be allowed to, but I guess since there was only one other customer there on that rainy Monday, there was no reason to object.

One guy at our table...truly did not belong at the host club. By that I mean he wasn't the type at ALL to be working as a host. It's the second guy like this I've seen since Secret, and this guy was even WORSE than the first one! He was extremely pale, his face seemed to be permanently stuck in a somewhat grimacing expression, and he hardly spoke. He was just all-around awkward, I'm thinking, "What in THE WORLD is he doing working at a host club?!" Needless to say, I didn't designate him. I ended up choosing the guy I picked from the boy menu:



And my friend chose the soft-spoken half of the manzai duo (I would have picked him myself if she didn't). I'm still pleased that I got to sing karaoke for a bunch of hosts! My friend said that some of the hosts were just watching in awe at me. One host-related dream come true, I guess. And absolutely free!!!

Another dream would have come true last night if something hadn't happened--or rather, hadn't not happened. Yesterday I had a unexpected night (and sunrise) in Kabukicho, which will be Part 2 of my "Host Club Hop" blogging.

Monday, July 20, 2009

IT'S A GUNDAM!!!

On Saturday I went to Odaiba to see the life-size RX-78-2 Gundam in Shiokaze Park. While doing a little research on how to get to Odaiba, I found out a little about it. It's a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, originally built for defense purposes in the 1800s, according to Wikipedia. Today it's a huge tourist attraction with a lot of shopping and entertainment centers. Even getting there is an attraction in itself--the Yurikamome is a transit service that goes over the Rainbow Bridge to the island, and the large windows allow you to see the area as you travel. Other means of transportation including taking a boat, the subway, or even walking over the bridge (which sounds somewhat appealing now that I think about it). A helpful guide on getting to Odaiba and what to see when you arrive is here.

I didn't get to do a lot that day, so I'll be going again pretty soon. For now, here are some pictures that I took, most of them being pictures of the Gundam. Thanks to my brother for telling me about this, otherwise I probably would have never known about it.




This is the Fuji TV Building. Can you imagine being able to work in a place like this everyday?


Yes, this is still Japan. They have a replica of the Statue of Liberty on this island. I've never even seen the real one with my own eyes. Behind it are the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower.


Viewing the bay while entering Shiokaze Park


And now, the Gundam:






















The Gundam actually does a little moving with his head and lighting up, which I didn't know about before. The crowd oohed and ahhed while watching it move. I wonder if Japan is counting this as a development towards building fully-functional Gundams.

The photos really aren't enough; it really is much more amazing to go and see the Gundam. It will be on display until the end of August. I'm going once more before I go back to the U.S. to take nighttime pictures, as well as to visit some other areas of the island that I didn't get to see this time around.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Few Days Left

I finished classes on Wednesday. I decided to take the rest of my week off until Monday to work on papers that I have to write for some of my classes.

Today I'll finally be going to Odaiba, the man-made island in Tokyo. The main attraction for me is the life-size RX-78 Gundam that they've built for the 30th anniversary of Gundam. I'm currently watching the news and they're talking about Odaiba right now, so I guess there's some event going on.

Since I bought my new yukata, I really want to go to a fireworks festival. That will probably happen in August.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cooking update!

Wow...I'm long overdue for a food update. I think my last post was back in January...

Here's what's been cooking for the past several months:



Chicken wrap with lettuce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, corn, tomato and sour cream


Spaghetti with chicken and homemade white sauce


Level 3 okonomiyaki! I finally bought some appropriate toppings to improve my okonomiyaki. Includes bonito flakes, aonori, and mayonnaise





Spaghetti with onions, meat sauce, chicken and mozzarella cheese


Cheese omelette with meat sauce, hash brown and fried cinnamon apples


Pork stir-fry with broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, onions and pineapples


Chocolate-covered strawberries with sprinkles


Ramen soup with beef, wakame and egg


Fruit salad with strawberry, kiwi, peach, mandarin orange, aloe vera and nata de coco


Pork stir-fry with soba noodles topped with wakame


Omlette with chicken, cheese and mixed vegetables


Steak with green and red peppers and onions; pasta with white sauce; potato with sour cream


Scrambled egg with onions and peppers with a slice of buttered toast


Fried pork with peppers, onions and carrots over rice


Crepe with bulgogi and peppers


Spaghetti with grilled chicken, onions and peppers


My version of 'karaagedonburi': fried chicken (karaage) with shredded cabbage, soy sauce mixed with sugar and topped with mayonnaise over rice. I first had this at the cafeteria at Rikkyo. If you ever get a chance to visit the campus, be sure to visit the main cafeteria for lunch and try this!


Chicken doria


Ochazuke: rice topped with grilled salmon and wakame, with green tea poured over top. A must try!!

Since I'm nearing the end of my stay in Japan, I'm not sure if I'll have any more creations, but if I do I'll be sure to post them.