Friday, 12 January 2018

Japan New Year 2017, Day 2 – So this is a sleeper town?

While I was settling in and overcoming jetlag, we decided not to stray too far from Misato. An interesting opportunity presented itself in the form of an Aeon Town shopping centre that had recently opened in Yoshikawa Minami. This was somewhere that Kyle had not visited before so we thought it might be worth a look. Yoshikawa Minami was just a few stops before Koshigaya Laketown so close to some familiar areas.
Arriving at Yoshikawa Minami station, I was confronted with a giant statue of some kind of pink… creature. Kyle informed me that this was simply the town mascot. Japan went through a phase of creating mascots for just about everywhere. This turned out to be rather costly and now as some of the mascots are being “retired”, replacements aren’t being designed. The aim is to just stick with prefectural mascots.
Behold, your new overlord!

The Aeon Town turned out to be a little disappointing, rather than a mall it turned out to be just a large department store. There were still a few interesting things including a character goods section and some fashions. Kyle managed to convince me to try on some coats, I did find one that looked quite good on me but sadly even the large size felt a little tight when trying to close it. At 4000 Yen it wasn’t a bad price (and of year sale!) but in the end I decided to stick with my faithful old M&S coat.
We explored the area surrounding Aeon Town but there wasn’t much in the area, the whole area looked like a development set to become a “sleeper town” (commuter town). Panic and confusion set in as the creeping realization hit us that we hadn’t seen a single convenience store – impossible! Aside from a single Lawson in an “Mansion” complex, not a single “kombini” to be found. Sensing that there must be something seriously wrong with this place, we moved on to Laketown.
By the time we arrived it was time for lunch, there was a kebab stand in the outlet section that I was told was worth trying as well as a (Japan specific) speciality currently being offered by Burger King (I remember the “Aka Samurai Burger” was good so I thought this might be worth a try). Having filled up after the kebab, I thought it best to abandon burger king and have a wander around instead (that and Burger King was absolutely jam packed). While we were looking for the kebab stand (it tends to move around but doesn’t have the light normally associated with a side-quest) I noticed the “Dog dept Café”, wondering if this might be some kind of Korean restaurant, I quickly moved on.

Kyle took the opportunity to introduce me to the Bean&Leaf Café, a great little coffee shop that he’d recently been introduced to. In addition to great coffee, they have excellent deserts. Having filled myself up completely with the kebab, I split a slice of cheesecake with Kyle instead of having a whole slice.
We noticed that there was a special event on at the stage in the middle of the mall. The event in question was some Japanese boy band. They were… not all that good. The autotune was quite clearly being pushed to its limits. To save our ears from any further assault, we quickly vacated the area.
By the time we made it back to Misato, we’d managed to work up quite an appetite. Since we had hamburg steak yesterday we decided to try regular steak. Part of the reason for this was that the local steak restaurant had an unlimited side bar, which included curry and rice. This was more than enough to satisfy the massive appetites we’d managed to build up.
Since it wasn’t too late when we got back, we connected my laptop to the TV in order to put on Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Side of Dimensions for some entertainment. All was well and good until my laptop started to install the Windows 10 Fall Creators update – oops. By this point it was starting to get late so the movie would have to be postponed for another day.

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