New Urban Space Time Machine

Back on the streets of Shibuya and the rain is getting worse. We head back towards the scramble crossing area and find a department store that has Halloween decor and ads that we can’t read. It’s called Shibuya 109. This place appears to be a tower with an escalator in the middle that goes up 6 floors. Each floor is a square with the escalator in the center and shops around the outside. The Japanese have mastered the design of packing a ton of function into as little space as possible.

We go up floor by floor but it looks to be mainly clothing and accessories, no costumes per se. On the top floor we do the loop around the escalator but don’t really see anything we can Halloweeninate. We do see this crazy place though. I have no idea what this shop is about. Queenie says it’s a high-tech photo booth shop.

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We exit Shibuya 109 and I decide to just google up some places that may sell costumes. There’s a department store called Don Quixote that should do it. Weird name for a store chain in Japan. I remember when Narcopiggy met Don Quixote in Guanajuato.  We’re en route. The side streets are packed with signs, shops and umbrellas. I’m loving this area.

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We go the wrong direction and end up back at Shibuya Crossing. Now it’s pouring and everyone has umbrellas. This time the crossing was like being in a pinball machine. And with my height all of the umbrellas are at poke-your-eye-out level so I was constantly ducking and rising and dodging and apologizing. This mass of umbrellas at the intersection was awesome, I wanted to get a crossing pic but the rain kept hitting my screen and opening random apps. I also didn’t want to drop my phone and get swept away in the tide of people so all I got was this one below after we’d safely made it to the other side and down the street a bit.

Queenie is a little flustered, “Oh, it’s like Kern River!” She’s referring to the time we went tubing down Kern River and basically didn’t have a choice but to let the river take us wherever it was going, over massive rapids and whatnot. She’s lucky to have survived it since she can’t swim and Drisdelle actually almost died, but that’s a story for another time.

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We get to Don Quixote and it’s a mad house of last minute costume shoppers. The place is jammed and hard to get through. Mostly there are just those shitty pre-packaged costumes from companies like Leg Avenue. We don’t really have the jet lag wherewithal to put much thought into it, nor do we want to spend a ton of time deliberating over costumes when we could continue exploring the city. We do a couple of rounds and nothing jumps out as a must have costume so we resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll have to get super cheesy shit-costumes or probably nothing at all. We grab 2 kind of funny costumes off the rack, “Just go for it?”, “Yeah fuck it, we’ll go as Brunch”.

We take 2 costumes to the cashier and she just looks up at us and starts laughing. Ok well that’s basically the reaction we’re going for so it’s kind of reassuring. The costumes are Bacon and Eggs. Our plan is to get some Champagne and orange juice and go as brunch. We pay up and extract ourselves from the frenzied shop back to the rainy streets.

The Colonel serves beer here!

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Finally we can’t take the rain anymore and we stop into a 7/11 to get an umbrella of our own. The assorted soaking goodies next to the cash remind me of Taiwan but without the tea egg smell that blasts your nose off as you enter.

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Umbrella acquired. Ready for the next super typhoon!

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We pass by this entrance way and I spot something really rad. A garage door opens and there’s kind of a ferris wheel of cars turning inside. It stops and people get in and back the car out onto a little circle. The circle then spins the car around so that it’s facing forward and they drive out onto the crowded streets. Stacked automated parking lots? Amazing.

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Tommy Lee Jones is the Boss! He’s sponsoring coffee vending machines all over town.

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We take the metro back to Shinjuku so we can finally check into our hotel. I’m going through the metro gate. I put my ticket it and expect the gates to remain open so I can just go through but I guess my ticket doesn’t work. There’s a baaayrn baaaaayrn sound, some red lights and the gates close on me just as I’m getting to them. My momentum can’t be stopped though and my knees smash through the gates and I just come out the other side.

Queenie starts laughing her ass off. I’m a lot bigger than the usual passenger and I think that the gate may close around thigh/waist height of an average Japanese person. But I knee slam my way through like Godzilla trying to run hurdles. Doesn’t even hurt. Queenie can’t stop laughing. She’s talking to the JR office person and they tell us to go around to another gate. I pretend like I’m going to just smash back in.

We leave the station the right way and it’s about a 10 minute walk from there back to NUTS. That acronym is still cracking me up. We get checked in and go up to our room. Open the door and get our first look at the room. It is laughably tiny. Basically just a bed, a tiny seat and coffee table and a ledge with a little tv, hot water maker and tea accouterments. I have no idea if this is normal for Tokyo or what but this little room is hilarious.

It’s boxer time! Ahhh I finally get out of the semi wet and sweaty clothes I’ve been travelling in all fucking day/night/day. “What? Is there even a bathroom in here?!”, “There’s a door behind you”, ahhh relief, it opens into a decent sized bathroom. About as big as the bedroom.

While I’m in there doing my long awaited business Queenie is working some panel above the bed, I hear her pressing buttons and the bathroom lights go out, completely dark. “Ahhh Queenie? It’s pitch black in here”, “Oh sorry Beeeeee!” They come back on. Go right back out. “Ahhh why?!”, “Ohhh no! I don’t know what’s happening!” I just finish up in the dark and open the door to get some light to find the flush handle.

I go see what the deal is with this room. There’s some Roger Moore era James Bond control panel by the bed that operates everything in the room. It’s the New Urban Time and Space machine! (Actually New Urban Space Time Machine sounds better). We don’t figure out what all the buttons are but with some trial and error we at least know how to work the lights now.

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The 4 usb port charging station I picked up instantly proves itself as travel gear MVP. We plug our phones, a spare charger and the wifi box into it.

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Ok that was a long ass day (so far), in and out of airports, monorails, subways, walked about 10 miles through 2 parks and a good chunk of the Tokyo west side. Time to relax with some hotel beers and grab a shower. We line up the cute beers we picked up earlier. Is there a fridge? “What’s that little door under the ledge?”, “If there’s a fridge in this mini room I’ll… holy shit there is!”

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I take a nice long shower and get all the travel grime off. In the bathroom is a nice selection of products such as The Amenity for men.

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We walked a half marathon today and crushed our fitbit friends fitness goals. Wait, is there music? While Queenie is in the shower I can hear a faint tune. There are Bose speakers on the ceiling? There’s very quiet music. I hit up the new urban space and time machine. Mash all the buttons and discover channels and volume. I find a French jazz station and crank it. Queenie comes out and does a sexy little jazz dance. It actually sets a chill little mode in our tiny room.

Ok, time to finish these beers and hit up the Golden Gai area. Apparently there is a section of town just 10 minutes walk from here that has hundreds of tiny bars called Izakary.

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