Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Little More About Tokyo

The internet is an amazing thing.  Not only did I find those pictures taken by another resident at the Komaba International Lodge, I also found a few other things that really sent me down memory lane.  The most literal of these is of course the Google Maps street view, which showed me that the aptly-named "Liquor and Food" convenience store near the Komaba-Todaimae Train Station has sadly closed, and that the Catholic chapel near the International Lodge is a mission of the Piarist Fathers. Unfortunately the street view does not get very close to the International Lodge itself.  I was, however, able to "revisit" Tokyo Baptist Church.  I wonder if I would still really be able to find my way around Tokyo after all these years; even in familiar areas, navigating street view is not exactly like walking down the street.

The Sunkus convenience store near the Lodge still appears to be open.  I remember looking around in it one evening for something modestly familiar as supper when I came across a can of Vienna Sausages.  "Wow, Vienna Sausages!" I thought -- then I realized how bad it must be for me to think, "Wow, Vienna Sausages!"  I passed on them; they are really only suitable for human conception when you're starving on a fishing trip, and there are alternatives in Tokyo.  I didn't really do too badly, though.  I really liked their rice triangles, especially with Tabasco sauce, and the "bun" (nikuman) came to be a favorite of mine once I realized it was already fully cooked.  (I had seen baked bread and fried bread before, but never steamed bread.)

At one point, I became obsessed with pancakes.  Normally I like pancakes OK, but I could probably go 3 or 4 years without eating them and never notice; I don't go to that much trouble when I'm cooking just for myself.  However, the thought that I could not get pancakes really got to me.  Fortunately, a friend at Tokyo Baptist pointed out that there was a Denny's near the church.  I went in and had my pancakes, but that satisfied the craving and I never went back.  

One of my favorite spots on campus was Sanshiro Pond.  I would often go there and feed the carp while thinking about my research.  The Japanese really know how to make gardens!  Yet for some reason, I find it disconcerting that this guy goes around the pond counterclockwise.  I don't remember ever going in that direction; I always went clockwise, though I'm not sure why. There were signs along the way, and maybe they were numbered.  I don't remember. 

Of course, Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park was one of my favorite places in the city.  I've always loved good museums, and these were fascinating. 

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