More new things to see, eat, and do today. On Tuesday I tried my first rice ball (onigiri) breakfast thing: ball of rice, augmented with salmon or pork shavings, wrapped in seaweed, and warmed. Surprisingly tasty for a breakfast treat. I also tried more snacks from the microkitchen, a few more vend-o-drinks (frozen ramune!). Lunch was another ramen place, and dinner was, ... odd. A restaurant in the basement of a hotel, layed out as a sailing ship (18th century sort of thing) with water surrounding it. Our table was at the very bow, near the ceiling of the place. Food was fish, which you caught(!) from the water around the ship. Yep - we were given fishing roads and shrimp as bait and we caught our own dinner. Crazy. But also tasty. Pictures are forthcoming.
Lots of little things to notice here. All the toilets are Toto washlets; turns out having a pre-warmed seat really is nice. The mirror in the hotel bathroom is heated in the very center, so when I'm done showering the center of the mirror is not fogged. The streets and alleyways feel a lot like those in Hong Kong, except that everything here looks built deliberately and is clean; nothing is built out of corrugated steel. Every street really does have a vending machine on it selling drinks of many sort. People really do obey the (don't) walk signs at crossings to a tee, not even crossing against the light even when there's clearly no traffic approaching. Black is the color everyone wares, or, at least everyone who's trying to fit in, and many people seem to want to fit in. Many men wear suits but younger men where designer jeans and button-down shirts and sweaters, not tucked. Women wear nylons under shorts or a skirt. I entirely fit in, as much as one might imagine I could, with my usual business wear. T-shirts and sneakers would have left me feeling out of place. It's weird to be in restaurants where people still smoke inside. Just as the guide book predicted, someone has commented on my ability to use chopsticks, although I don't know exactly what he said because the restaurant was too loud (what with all the excitement around fishing going on).
After ramen-lunch today Ke took me to a nearby department store, the bottom floor of which sort groceries. I found a few souvenirs and, surprisingly, pin frogs. I use these in glass flameworking to make many small indentations in a gob of glass, usually as part of creating the inside of a marble. The last one I had melted, because the base was plastic. These feel to be all metal so I bought a few different sizes. They were all under a few hundred yen each so it seemed like a good deal. I also bought a banana case. Because, really, when you see it you just need to buy it.
Tomorrow's my last full work day at TOK. I expect to meet with more of the same people I've spoken with so far, and to catch up on what's going on in MTV. And to sample some treats and drinks that I haven't yet tried.