(sorry this one's a long one)
Saturday we went to いけぶくろ (Ikebukuro), so my first experience with Tokyo, but it wasn't all that great. We went to "Sunshine City" which is basically a huge mall. While in the mall we went to a place called Namjara or something. There was a ¥300 ($3) entrance fee. It was really strange and I'm still not sure what to make of it. Inside there were different areas: Ice Cream City, Healing City, Gyoza Stadium and a haunted cat place (..?) It was strange. I first went to Gyoza Stadium. There was a a seating area and then a bunch of different gyoza stands. I got normal gyoza at one place and then garlic at another. The にんにく (garlic) gyoza was really good. The stands were all really close together, so it was really crowded. We wondered what they were thinking when designing the place. The seating area was wide open, the tables were table-tops sitting on 2 beer crates. It was strange, but tasty.
We saw this strange white guy wearing a button down shirt tucked into Kappa sweats pulled up to his ribs pretty much. On top of that he tucked his fanny pack into his pants. There will be more about him later. **
Then we went to Ice Cream City. Ice Cream City was filled with shops that offered all kinds of ice cream, sorbet and other ice cream-like desserts. We happened upon some other JSPers near the SoftServe section. There were about 21 choices (i would say no pun intended, but really... i had originally written flavors (unless you go to Oxy, you probably won't get it, sorry)). Flavors included classic Chocolate (which I tried and was better than expected), Wasabi, Melon, Milk, Soy Bean Flour, Peach and many more. I got チョコといちご (Chocolate and Strawberry), it was so delicious.
After ice cream, we went down to the haunted cat area. It was full of creepy cats and other goons. Kids were running around with "ghost catchers" that looked more like virtual fishing. It was cool, but very, very bizarre.
**We met up at our designated time and place and we were just waiting for some others to show up and the weird sweatpants がいじん (gai-jin = foreigner), came over to where we were and started talking to Danny, telling him how he ate 40 gyoza and it cost $23. Then he asked "oh where did you say you were from?" and then "well enjoy your vacation in LA." That's when Jamie said "you mean Tokyo...?" "Oh right, Tokyo." I guess he had approached Danny with a question early and thought they were buddies now? And Danny had never told him where he was from. So all in all, this guy was a total weirdo.
Then we just shopped for awhile in Sunshine City, which was kind of boring. There were a lot of random stores like Talbots and Eddie Bower. I can't imagine why, they don't seem like the kind of stores nihon-jin (Japanese people) shop at, but who knows. I bought Ann a Stitch keychain for her birthday at the Disney Store (which is much more popular than, and nothing like the one in America). After getting too bored, we headed out and ended up at the entrance of another mall. At that point a few of us decided it was just time to go home. So I went home. Train from Ikebukuro to Takasaka is about 50 minutes. Yay Ipod.