Apparently all one must do is complain about the weather to get a change, because the weather today was perfect: sunny and warm, with a slight breeze.
While hanging out with Ota the other day, he mentioned that O'Reilly had mailed his promo copy of "Retro Gaming Hacks" to his parents. So my first order of business this morning was to call up my dear old dad and inquire as to whether my promo copy had arrived yet. And indeed it had!
"Retro Gaming Hacks", in case you have forgotten, is the book about old-school video games (e.g. Atari, NES, etc.) that my friend from Kanazawa, the Right Honourable Chris Kohler, wrote. Ota and I were both contributors. I represented for the Linux / Unix / Open Source scene, as you may have guessed!
I walked Lyani to school (well, actually, we took the train from Ishikawa-cho to Sakuragi-cho, so I only actually walked her through Landmark Plaza and Queen's Mall. After dropping Lyani off at the IUC, I headed back to the Landmark Plaza McDonald's, where I devoured an extremely ill-advised Egg McMuffin combo. Ugh.
My stomach still queasy from the McGrease, I walked down to Minato Mirai Station, which is situated under Queen's Mall. From there, I caught a commuter express (急行--kyuko) to Shibuya, then hopped on a Yamanote Line train for Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku Station, as I just learned on Sunday, is the world's busiest train station, with one million people going through it every day! Though Tokyo Station beats it in sheer land area, Shinjuku is quite the impressive (and thus confusing) station.
As you might have guessed from all of the foreshadowing, I got lost. You see, I was looking for the south exit, but could not find it. I could, however, find the east and west exits, and I knew how to get to where I was going (I'm coming to that, relax!) from the east exit, or so I thought. After heading out the east exit and walking for a little while, it became obvious that I really wanted to take the west exit, but had mixed things up. I place the blame for this cock-up squarely on the fact that there are Yodobashi Camera stores on both bloody sides of the station!
Well, since I had actually wanted the south exit to begin with, I simply recited "Never Eat Shredded Wheat", and headed off in the proper direction. Fifteen minutes later, I still had not found the south exit, but I had figured out how to get around the south end of the station and get back to the west exit, where I would be able to regain my bearings. Luckily, I stumbled across a Citibank that I remembered being right by the south exit before I had to walk all the way back to the west exit. I say "luckily" because it took me a solid half an hour just to reach the south exit! Yeah, Shinjuku is a big station. Those exits might look close together on the map, but the circumference of that station ain't no joke, and that's real.
So, what was the target of my travails? Hobby Base Yellow Submarine, of course. Hobby Base Yellow Submarine is a gaming shop that I had stumbled upon in a previous stumble about Shinjuku. As the map indicates, they have table-top games in the basement (last time I was there, two chaps were facing off in a new Lord of the Rings miniatures game), pen-and-paper RPGs (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, all the White Wolf stuff, etc.) on the second floor, and collectible card games (meaning Magic: The Gathering and whatever else you crazy kids are playing these days) on the third. On this trip, I visited only the second floor. I poked around for a while before settling on a copy of the D&D Players Handbook, edition 3.5. I have not seen the 3.5 rules yet, and I am hoping that I can put together a game with Ota before too long. It has been far too long since I have felt the reassuring heft of dice in my hand!
With my mission accomplished in Shinjuku, I went back into the station by way of the elusive south entrance (I can always find the bloody thing from the outside!) and got on a Chuo Line express to Nakano Station. For you see, Nakano Station is right by Nakano Broadway, home of the original Mandarake store! Why the exclamation mark, you ask? Well, according to Chris Kohler:
Mandarake outlets are the Mecca of anime fans; anything and everything can be found within these massive superstores, usually at a reasonable price. A few years ago, 'anything and everything' expanded to include classic video games. Now, most Mandarake outlets have a wide variety of rare and unusual video games of all kinds, stored and sold with the same high standard of care as the stores' array of collectible manga.
And it was a piece of "rare and unusual" video game equipment that I was after. You see, a certain co-worker of mine from TFCC who will remain nameless (happy, Chall?), had picked up a Neo Geo CD system during one of his trips to Japan. However, in his words, actually playing the thing "is a perfect way to train yourself to have the patience of a Boddhisatva", since the machine has to load the entire stage into main memory from its single-speed CD-ROM drive before each new stage! This means that you might be waiting for two minutes or so between each fight in Street Fighter. So this chap (and by that I mean Chall) wanted me to pick him up a Neo Geo cartridge system, which is lightning-fast since carts run at the same speed as main memory (solid-state, bitches!). I was able to find one in the Mandarake (the same store where you bought that Famicon Disk System, Kohler), and headed back to Nakano Station, my mission accomplished.
From Nakano Station, I took the Chuo Line back to Shinjuku, then decided to try a new route home, that Hiroshi had mentioned Sunday night. So I caught a Shinjuku Shonan Line train back to Yokohama, which turned out to just be another name for the Tokaido Line, which I took out to Chiba that day I was trying to see how long it would take to get to work. It was a pleasant ride, with only one stop between Shinjuku and Yokohama. From Yokohama Station, I caught a train back to Kannai Station, where I got off and headed down to Daiso, the four floor ¥100 store that I have mentioned before. After a bit of light shopping, I went back home, for to do the laundry. When you do not have a dryer, and must thus rely on the fickle weather to dry your clothes, you learn to take advantage of a sunny, breezy day!