sechan19: (kusama)
The 100-yen-store returned on Monday, and based on everything I saw this past week I think I can describe the basic pattern.

On the last Sunday of the month, the 100-yen-store closes early and a switch-over takes place. The succeeding Monday, the shop opens as a discount store, and it remains so for a full week. During that time, patrons have access to an assortment of goods (ranging in price from $0.40 on up). On the next Sunday, the discount store closes early and a new switch-over occurs that restores the shop to its original condition.

The merchandise racks are all on wheels, and I was surprised to find that rather than being loaded into a back room, the goods are loaded onto a truck that takes them away somewhere. Given this information, I`m inclined to suspect that the discount store may be a traveling market--perhaps spending week after week in a new location. After all, it doesn`t make sense to have the sale items sit in storage somewhere for three weeks of every month when it`s the simplest operation in the world to move them from place to place.

If I were here longer I`d be inclined to try and follow that truck the next time it came through to see what becomes of the racks of merchandise. But I leave Nakameguro in just over a week, and I will not see the cycle when next it takes place in my little corner of Tokyo. [sigh]

Nevertheless, what a fun little neighborhood drama this has been. Given that I love nothing so well as a pattern (and the identification of such), it has been a real delight ferreting out the whys and wherefores of the 100-yen-store in its ongoing saga.
sechan19: (kusama)
I went to the Tokyo National Museum yesterday and bought almost $150 worth of art books, and I’m not the least bit sorry about it either. God invented credit cards for a reason.

The 100-yen-store made the transition to discount store at the weekend as the signs (evidently) promised. I’ve been taking pictures of the whole process, and will post them just as soon as the cycle is completed.
sechan19: (morisot)
With the end of the month approaching, I began a vigilant watch of the 100-yen-store and its surrounding environs. My diligence is paying off. The 100-yen-store appears to be displaying maneuvers directly preceding a change back to a discount store. There are signs similar to the ones I saw when I first visited posted all over the exterior of the building. From what I can tell, the switch will happen at the upcoming weekend. I’m taking photographs of the various stages, and will also note the duration of the change (for, you know, posterity and stuff) when it finally occurs.

Exciting times in my little slice of Tokyo.

In other news, I took the advice of my friend Eunja and bought a package of easy-make curry roux. I picked up a box of the medium spicy, and last night found me in my dorm room puzzling over the Japanese directions and accompanying explanatory drawings. Eventually, I figured out that I wanted to half the amount if I was to have any hope of eating the stuff on my own and did so accordingly.

It was still too much.

I ate part of it, put more into tupperware, and ultimately (in great shame) was forced to pour a bit of the broth down the sink because I had neither the fridge space nor the stomach space for the rest. But it sure was tasty. I added potato, carrot, and garlic, and served it over brown rice, and the spicy was just right. Yum!

Next time I'll halve the half and see where that gets me.

Updates about my Nasushiobara trip will resume after the weekend...


Jul. 7th, 2008 02:08 pm
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
The discount store has gone back to being a 100-yen-store. That means one of two things: one) there is a regular cycle of discount to 100-yen-store and back again that is observed on a regular basis or, two) the shop transformed itself into a place where I could buy a pot and pan simply because the universe thinks I’m wonderful.

My money’s the former rather than the latter, so it looks like I can have fun trying to figure out the cycle.
sechan19: (lin fengmian)
After the madness of the KCP orientation/placement test, a small group of friends and I made our way out toward Shinjuku station for lunch and a sightseeing tour. I showed them some of the major points along Shinjuku-dori. Not much has changed in a year, or if it has the changes have been either minor enough to escape my notice or to things that I never paid attention to in the first place.

We parted ways after wandering through the Kinokuniya bookstore, and I made my way back to Nakameguro. I wanted to look for some more kitchenware, and stop back at the 100-yen store for more of those funny notebooks. I figured if nothing else that they’d make a neat gag gift.

I lucked out in a store along the main Nakameguro drag that I hadn’t noticed yesterday. I found a small pot and small pan for about $8.00 total--a pretty good deal. Then I proceeded down the street for the 100-yen store. But somehow I walked past it. I didn’t see how that was possible, but I turned around anyway and walked back.

No 100-yen store. Just the place I had just discovered for the first time again.

So I walked across the street and did the circuit again, and as I did I realized that the store I’d just discovered had in fact been the 100-yen store yesterday.

No joke.

Yesterday, the store in which I just bought a pot and pan--and which carries assorted household goods at varying inexpensive prices--was a nothing over 100-yen store. It had a totally different layout, right down to the placement of the cash register, but I kid you not it was the same place. As I reflect on my shopping experience there, I recall that I saw a number of hand-written signs that stated the store was closing at 5pm. I guess they meant for good.

Either that or the powers that be observed my discontent over not being able to find a pot and pan in the store and magically transformed the place into a shop that sold the exact items I was looking for.

Hey, it could happen.

Anyway, no more Rainbow notebooks for me. But at least I can cook dinner tonight.
sechan19: (butterfly)
I decided to buy some extra class supplies from the 100-yen store. You know... fresh notebook, some pens, scissors, binder, etc. Stuff like that.

I found the best notebook. It's a Rainbow-brand notebook. On the front cover, like most Japanese notebooks, it has a space for you to put in your year, class section, and name. The kanji for year, section, and name have furigana--phonetic script that spells the words out for beginners--over them. Obviously the book is meant for young children.

What's funny about this is that the Rainbow notebook has an English slogan on it. The English slogan is not for children--not even the older ones--and not just because the English is classically incorrect:

A naughtiness expeditionary party.
Let’s enjoy it carelessly.

sechan19: (kusama)
So far, I seem to be back to my morning person schedule. I woke up about 6:20 on day one and went to sleep around 10:30. This morning, I was up at 6 sharp. I finished putting my little room in order, took a shower, did some yoga, ate breakfast, and then made some lists. As it was Sunday, I didn't try to leave the dorm until 9, as I knew nothing would even be vaguely open before that hour. Despite that padding, there was still nothing open until 10am.

In the interim, I wandered around the district. First I walked down to the subway station and looked at the maps. There are two train lines running through the nearby Nakameguro station, and it appears that I have easy access to Yokohama, Ginza, Shibuya and Ueno, among other places. While I was standing there reading the map and thinking about what kinds of day-trips were available to me, a German man came over and asked me if I needed help. It was sweet of him, but I explained that I was just looking at the maps to get a sense of where I could go from here. He moved on.

After that quick jaunt, I walked up and down the main and side streets, finding the beautiful Nakameguro river in the process. River is probably a courtesy term, as the waterway is both narrow and shallow--though fast moving. It has been harnessed in by a deep canal that is lined on either side by absolutely gorgeous deciduous trees and luscious creeping vines. When I reached the Shukuyama bridge, I walked halfway out to take a picture.

Leaving the bridge, I made my way to the grocery store and the 100-yen store, both finally open. I bought rice and noodles, meat and veggies/fruits, tea, condiments (fresh ginger!!), and assorted kitchen aids. I now have a plate and bowl, glass and tea cup, a spoon, a knife, a set of chopsticks, and stuff to do dishes. I couldn't find pots and pans at this 100-yen store, though, so I'll have to keep looking. I had planned for that contingency by buying things that I wouldn't have to cook just in case I couldn't yet cook.

My dorm room is adorable. It has its own little bathroom with bath/shower, sink, mirror, and toilet. The in-set kitchen has a sink, a single stove burner, and a mini-fridge! The information KCP gave me said that the dorm did not have a refrigerator, and that had concerned me a bit. No worries, however. I have everything I need in my little kitchen-space. It even has a compact set of shelves, a pantry space below the sink, little hooks for hanging utensils, and a overhead light. There's a large floor space in the main sleeping room, with a wardrobe, desk, standing mirror, and a low bed frame with a futon! There's a nice large window, too, that opens onto a little bricked terrace.

I came back to the dorm with my goodies and unpacked them. I chopped up the meat I'd bought with my new knife. I wasn't expecting much from a 100-yen store knife, I have to admit, but that sucker is sharp. I put things away so they'd keep fresh, and then I ate a banana for a pick-me up and went out again to buy a couple more onigiri to augment my lunch, since I couldn't cook rice yet. I also ran over to the Book-Off and went through their CD section. I didn't see anything that struck my fancy, but on a whim I went into the DVD section.

Confession time...

I bought a Platinum Box. Every year, the pop singer Gackt (who--as everyone who knows me knows--I love) puts out a special DVD set for his fans called the Platinum Box. Book-Off had one for about $15, a really good deal. I had to buy it sight-unseen, but I figured it was worth the gamble for the chance to own a single piece of super-geeky Gackt memorabilia. My gamble paid off. The Platinum Box was intact, with DVD and special gift--a clock designed by Gackt--inside.

The clock is hilarious. It's shaped like a coffin (no, seriously), and it runs backward. There was a minor amount of damage to the edge of the clock face from what appears to be rusting, but it actually works. I put in a little AAA and away it went. So far as I can tell, it keeps pretty good time. Plus, it's just funny.

Gackt is such a dork.

As am I. I'm thinking I'll put the clock in my genkan (foyer).

Anyway, I'm off to study for tomorrow's placement exam. The entire American contingent meets at KCP tomorrow at 9am (God help us all) for eight hours of orientation, placement, scheduling, and I know not what. Now I need to go over some things for the placement test. I'm hoping to test into level four this time, and I want to go over some of the tougher grammar patterns from level three before I face judgment.

May 2014

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