Dope Smoking Friend?


My Tokyo trip included a return to Akihabara (秋葉原) after a 15 year absence. The scenery has changed. Back in 1992 it was the region of Tokyo known for having a rash of electronics clearing houses. Boxes would be stacked in the aisles. I would have to turn sideways to slide between shelves of high tech goodies. Many items were leading edge treats that couldn’t be found in America. Every counter had a calculator with a large screen for negotiating prices.

Today it is still known for Denkigai (電気街), Electric Town, but the stores are bigger, the aisles are wider, staffing is more populous, loud ads are blurted over intercoms, … A few other new things have popped up.

Maid Cafes are one of the hottest draws for the geek population. A lot of anime have included restaurants where the wait staff wear skimpy, lacy outfits. Someone got the bright idea that if fans are drooling over the animated version, they should create the real thing. Maid cafes were born. The name is pretty self-explanatory: all of the waitresses wear cute little maid outfits. I will write another post about two gentlemen from Tochigi prefecture (栃木県) who guided us to their recommended cafe. You will probably find it amusing, but it may also seem disturbing. But, you’ll have to wait for that.

Cosplay is also widespread in this area because this is where folks are coming to buy their games and hang out in the Maid cafes. Cosplay means ‘costume play’. Certain people like to dress up as their favorite anime characters… everyday! I was a little surprised at how many of them were guys dressed as their favorite female characters. We stuck our heads into a couple shops to see what costumes were available. When I got to the section of undergarments to make men look like women, I decided it was time to seek other entertainment.

One friend had requested a toy from Bandai/Namco called the norimakimakkii (のりまきまっきー). Finding myself in toy land, I tracked it down. Norimaki (海苔巻) is a style of sushi which is rolled inside of nori (海苔), a type of seaweed. This toy is a sushi-rolling machine. It uses a quarter of a normal sheet of nori to make a kid-sized sushi roll. This machine is the same design as a cigarette roller, but on a larger scale.

So, I’m a little worried that my friend may be wanting to use this to roll giant joints. She seems far too conservative for that but, you know, everyone has their secrets. This has really caused me to re-evaluate a lot; her brownies are irresistible. I always thought her secret ingredient was cherries soaked in aged balsamic vinegar.


8 Responses to “Dope Smoking Friend?”

  1. Sylvia Says:

    Maid cafes and cosplay–who knew? Over here, I mean. I guess our version is the Society for Creative Anachronism and Hooters. I’m not sure which is less silly and/or degrading. Me, I’d rather dress up as Xena (which I guess covers both bases but she kicks butt so it’s OK 😉

  2. びっくり Says:

    Hooters would probably take the ‘more degrading’ label; the maid outfits in reality are not very revealing. SCA? That brings back memories. We don’t need SCA here because fighting with wooden swords is still a school sport.

  3. Sylvia Says:

    Swordfighting in school? That is too cool. Do the girls do it too?

  4. びっくり Says:

    Of course the girls do it too. At the junior high school where I taught, all of the students practiced together. But in competition the genders were separated. The strongest females could take most of the boys, but the top boy was our prefecture champ. When he smacked me in the head it would ring my ears.

    Everyone was impressed by how much force I could generate from the beginning, but to win at this sport, the speed of decision-making and attack is critical.

  5. Sylvia Says:

    Are we talking kendo?

  6. びっくり Says:

    Exactly. Kendo (剣道), the way of the sword, is a sport at most junior and senior high schools. Some kids learn from an earlier age, but most elementary schools don’t organize activities where the kids are hitting each other.

    Some restrictions apply at the junior high level. For example, tsuki, thrusting at the throat, is considered too dangerous for the kids. Even though a throat guard is worn, accidents can happen. I saw an instructor once with a gash about where his jugular would hide. He played it down, but there is some risk, just like Western fencing, where a rapier may break during a lunge.

  7. Sylvia Says:

    Cool. I’m in favour of getting kids do dangerous things under supervision rather than stupid things when they are on their own!

  8. びっくり Says:

    Yeah! Life is dangerous. Best to learn about the dangers rather than being surprised by them.

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