I know all it seems I do is go out to eat and buy things, but seriously, between studying and studying, my transportation specialist isn’t getting me out for much sight seeing. I’ve asked some of the locals on some sights to see in the area, so it’s only a matter of time before this blog resembles the travelogue it was intended to be. This time the shopping trip was for a good cause, I swear.
To set all of this up, it was Easter Sunday, and in the spirit of the season, my transportation specialist set out a bowl of Cadbury and Reese’s eggs for the other exchange students in his dormitory. I understand that his fascination with these creme filled chocolate confections stems from being denied them as a child and overcompensating as an adult. He brought over 40 of these eggs in his luggage from home. Can you guess who had to spend 14 hours in a suitcase next to all that sumptuous chocolate without being able to take advantage of the proximity? Can you guess who got to watch them being poured out into the bowl with no hope of actually being able to sample any of the delicious ineffable goodness? If I had thumbs, they’d be pointing at this hippo! No sooner did my transportation specialist get the eggs on display than we embarked on the day’s true purpose. I even had to watch longingly from my travel pack as he left the lounge. If I could I would have cried.
However the day soon took a turn for the better, as we met up with Vân, an Exchange Student from Hanoi in Vietnam. I like Vân, primarily because she calls me Uncle Hippo, due to the fact that the tag in my velvety backside indicated I was made in 1985, and she wasn’t born until somewhat later. I take the title as a sign of respect, something that is all too often lacking from my transportation specialist.
You will notice the tray has meals for two; Vân had the Double Cheeseburger, and my transportation specialist tried the Teriyaki burger. I am apparently intended to continue my VERY strict diet in this country. One of the draws of McDonald’s appears to be consistency, since the fries and drinks were reported as being much like they were at home, while the Teriyaki burger proved a nice change of pace. One difference that stands out is that the McDonald’s in Japan apparently deliver. The drivers have scooters in identical McDonald’s livery with cases on the back approximately the size of a carry on bag. I’m not sure what the minimum order would be, but it might be interesting for the novelty. Now if I can just get possession of my transportation specialist’s credit card without him noticing . . . .
After lunch, Vân, my transportation specialist, and myself went in search of a laptop for Vân, as hers has given up the ghost shortly before leaving for Japan and she had not had a chance to replace it before arriving. She wanted to visit a couple of second hand stores and fortunately the McDonald’s we visited was on the way to the first one. The location was called Hard Off, apparently part of a larger chain of second hand shops in Japan. They had a truly staggering number of Guitars, as well as other instruments. They also had a good collection of anime inspired figurines and power tools, along with CDs and Video games of various pedigrees. While they did have some computer systems there, they were older than Vân would have liked, so we walked back to the Fuchinobe train station and took the train to Kobuchi, a three minute train ride, where Vân knew of another second hand shop. On the way to the station we discovered the Sagamihara International Lounge.
We didn’t really have time to stop inside this time, but the International Lounge is a place where foreign visitors to Japan can find other visitors to assist them in settling into the area. Languages available include English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese, as well as a few I couldn’t identify. This place will definitely be worth a return visit.
At Kobuchi, we found these two beauties, which were acceptable for Vân’s needs. She ended up picking the Toshiba on my right, at a cost of around $378 dollars US for those of you playing at home.
The computer is even warrantied for three months, which I thought was pretty reasonable.
With our main quest accomplished, it was time to take the train back to the Fuchinobe station and home. Just outside of the station there’s a drug store chain that has Blue Elephant statues out in front of them. Blue Elephants are much better behaved than bumper horsies! The officer on the corner watching the pedestrian traffic slightly grinned as my transportation specialist helped me mount the blue elephant, who I decided to name Walter. After spending far too little quality time with Walter, it was time to return home. My transportation specialist and I bid Vân good luck with her new purchase, wished her a good night. Next time, I’ll try to see if I can go somewhere that doesn’t involve buying stuff.
Until then, Hippo, Hippo!