Thursday, October 13, 2016

Weekend (9.10 - 9.11): Japanland: Kawasaki

Welp! Fell behind again. Who's surprised? No one.

We planned a while ago to join Jharrod and Meika (our first double date actually!) at Warehouse, a postapocalyptic Kowloon / Blade Runner / Firefly-themed multi-story video arcade in Kawasaki full of not only new and vintage games but also pachinko machines, slots, billiards tables, UFO catchers, vending machines (one even had pudding), and a mysterious VIP lounge thing on the top floor.

Since just before this, looking for any affordable, weekendable travel options at all, I'd found and bookmarked a good post about day trips from Tokyo, I also knew about a neat shrine that seemed worth seeing. So we swooped in, saw it in extremely quick and efficient fashion, and then went right back to the main station to meet our friends.

First thing's first: there's usually a local slap-box or slap-pole, and the area around Kawasaki's main station complex has both, but the pole was several steps out of our quick-and-efficient way, so it'll remain forever consigned to the annals of history or the depths of your imagination or whatever.

Well yeah, technically, it's two boxes. Same same

Second thing's second: the obligatory manhole covers!

One of the main attractions of the Kawasaki Daishi temple area is the abundance of daruma, these round bearded guy dolls of varying sizes. They look so creepy because you're supposed to think of a goal you want to achieve and draw in one eye, then draw in the other once you've completed or achieved it.

Another is the traditional (extremely chewy) candy and the way the people who make it use their musical cleavers to thump their wooden cutting boards.


And here she is. Pretty similar to the most famous one in Tokyo actually, but then, once you've seen one, you've pretty much seen them all. But still. 

This woman was sat inside the main gate with a Japanese macaque on a leash that could do all kinds of tricks. The state of animal welfare in Japan is something to be lamented, but after taking a quick look and then turning away, I had to wonder how culturally relevant or traditional this kind of thing is. Also, he sits like a hoo-man.

"Check it yo"

Pretty sure this is Kannon, commonly referred to as the Goddess of Mercy, but correct me if I'm wrong!

My snack came in this charmingly outdated late-80's-early-90's paper bag.

And then, after a walk that only felt kind of long because of how bright and sweltering it was that day, we arrived at the huge あなたのウェアハウス, whose postapocalyptic Blade Runner-esque look extends to its exterior and wraps around the building.

I could barely contain myself when I realised the entrance is an airlock
-heavy breathing-

There's an almost theme park-like corridor of interesting things to look at before you take the escalator up to the first floor or loud flashy entertainment, including this creepy mannequin who presumably makes her living in a less-than-savoury way.

This obviously leads to the parking garage, where you've parked your replica of 
Kaneda's custom red Honda NM4

Now on the arcade game floor, we're treated to an elaborate mockup of the aforementioned postapocalyptic Kowloon, complete with grimy little potted plants and ancient-looking laundry.

Blurry, blurry, serial killer, blurry - check.

This is what the mens' bathroom looked like. The womens' looked like a random department store bathroom from the early 90's and was so normal that it was weird. This is why we need feminism, guys. We deserve a postnuclear bathroomscape just as much as men do. (-frustrated sigh-)

Some of the better UFO catcher prizes included Gengar and bread pillows

Cyclops Mickey GET GET GET!

Playing Silent Hill

Meika managed to get this Neko Atsume pillow after Jharrod somehow won himself a 10" tall sexy anime girl figure with a bunch of guns by successfully dropping orange ping pong balls into the right spaces in a takoyaki pan!
That was an awful lot of kitschy weird Japan shit in one sentence!


We went out for convenience store drinks a couple times (that were not allowed) and the bluriness level of this pic of Hannes playing a classic 80's Space Invader-type game called Gallag is proof of how effective pounding chu-hi's is. Also, he got the new high score!

I kicked ass at this game, which consists of a cockpit with a wraparound panoramic screen (fancy shit - I Googled it and these cabinets cost over 30 large a pop - and Warehouse has a whole wall of them), a joystick, and a lot of rapid-fire shooting over cities like Paris, Dubai, and Tokyo. It ends up costing about 500円 a play, but it's totally worth it. I got the 5th and then the 2nd high scores on this one.

And then of course we all had to do 太鼓の達人, or Taiko Master, because it's good, pure, and kinky


Stumbling back out into the heat, I of course snap another pic of the only other manhole cover I've noticed.

These people with the dogs and donation box had also been in this same spot when we were first going to meet Jharrod and Meika, but this time we stopped. It kind of reminded me of that video where they hand a bunch of puppies to drunk women.

And I also spotted a Hello Kitty bus!

Having been on our feet, walking around, and sweating like crazy all day, we were pretty pooped, but nobody was really ready to call it quits yet, so Jharrod invited us to his favourite cheap izakaya at Gotanda station, near where he lives, and it was perfect. We nommed and continued drinking and sitting there talking was exactly what the doctor ordered. It was a pretty great day.

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