I’m starting to really feel the fatigue from the insane amounts of walking done over the past few days, and it doesn’t help when one of the 2 lectures is a 3 hour long bore fest.
We had yet another 2 lectures. The first was by a U of Washington prof who specialised in Political Science/International Relations, and she did lots of work in Myanmar. Her lecture was interesting but pointless, and totally fits the stereotype of liberal arts professors. Basically, she talked about her work in Myanmar, a few political science concepts and then brought up a case study of invasive species in Australia, the Cane Toad. 3 totally unrelated things! Nevertheless, I learnt quite a lot on Cane Toads, despite her "teaching" being merely showing a 40 minute long video of a documentary on the subject. Apparently these toads were declared by scientists back in the 1950s or so, to be excellent natural pest control agents for the cane beetle and worm, which plague Australia’s sugar cane fields in Queensland. So 102 toads were brought into the country and set free, and each time they mate, 40 000 eggs are produced. These toads have no natural predators in the country and to make things worse, are actually poisonous as they secret toxins through glands on their shoulder, killing any would-be predator. As such, while 2 out of 40000 survive to adulthood back in their Hawaiian habitat, essentially all 40000 survive here in Australia. You can imagine the Zerg swarm forming. To top it all off, they don’t even eat the pests! Speak of a completely fucked up ecosystem modification by humans.
The other lecture was by a Korean professor of Food and Resource Economics. This one was truly a WTF lecture, as he was really technical with loads of graphs on economic concepts, full of assumptions that don’t really apply to the case study (the Aswan dam) at hand. I sort of stopped listening after a while, and the Americans were full of fight as usual, challenging every point and raising their hand every minute to argue among themselves over pedantic issues of economics, regarding definitions and such. The poor professor, unused to this, was really quite flustered, and himself admiitted that in his 10 years of teaching (he was pretty young), he had never come across such a class. He possibly meant it in a good way. Meanwhile, I was busy checking this interactive map of Akiba, preparing for my journey there this Sunday. One of my friends from NUS, whom with I took a Japanese studies module together, happens to be working in Japan and by a freaking coincidence, lives in the same area as me.
The main afterschool activity was supposed to be rest, anime and laundry. I needed to do my laundry as I had used all my shirts. The SG girls came by and asked me to go to Kabukichou with them and 3 Americans. I suspect they need me along because they can’t order food without me.
I grudgingly agreed, since Kabukichou is supposed to be a nice place to see. In a sense, that is true, but it’s not very fun if you’re a foreigner. I’m sure visiting with a rich Japanese friend familiar in the dark arts would be so much more awesome.
Just like in Shibuya, there are lots of these "Information Centers", which are basically fronts for pimps. You step in, they have lots of posters and pictures of the nice brothels, cabarets and bars which they will lead you to, probably for a commission. I stepped in, since my Japanese friends had told me that there were nothing but computers there, but I found myself facing a ponytailed Japanese man, who asked if I needed anything. Feigning the good old gaijin, I asked what was the purpose of this place. He cheekily explained that he could bring me to cabarets, and he pointed to a poster with hot girls and said, "This is a bar where you drink beer and touch breasts." EXACT TRANSLATION. I laughed out loud on the spot but had to decline his offer.
Inside of sacred information centre, there are like at least 20 of these all over the area. I wonder how the economy here works. I just noticed it says no pictures.
The night life wasn’t as hot as we expected, and there weren’t the fabled Nigerian bouncers or slutty girls, but perhaps it was just too early in the night. The SG girls dragged everyone around, to lame places like the Koma Theatre and Hanazono Shrine. The SG girls spotted a moe maid bar, and insisted on going in. I was pretty annoyed by this as I knew they would kick us out for being gaijin. Sure enough, the two bouncers stared really hard at them, and they then pushed me to the front to communicate. I gave a feeble "Can we go in?" in Japanese and they made giant X signs with their hands, shouting "DAME!"
The Japanese seem to all look the same. There are signs advertising the various bars/brothels.
It’s really expensive though.
We saw the famed male hosts though, they’re not really pretty boys, it’s just a lot of makeup and photoshop. In fact, Shibuya has a lot of better looking people, but I guess the good looking whores wouldn’t be standing on the streets, would they? I’m getting disturbed by the fact that the SG girls have been looking to go to nothing but seedy places.
There was another incident which highlighted their stupidity. Monkey (remember her?) saw a Takoyaki stall and decided to order some. She was showing off to the Americans, who hadn’t heard of it, that she eats "TAKOPACHI" all the time. I told her, "It’s takoyaki." and she glared back, retorting, "NO LEH, IT’S TAKOPACHI I EAT IT ALL THE TIME." I sort of accidentally raised my voice, "That’s just the brand name!"
Indeed it was. Takopachi is just the name of a store in Singapore which sells Takoyaki.
I decided to eat some fast food, to compare the differences between Sinaporean-localised and Japanese-localised fast food, so I went with Druggie to Wendy’s, though I really wanted McDonald’s instead. It was expensive, at 650 yen for a set, and pretty much sucked. No more Wendy’s.