Went to Ebisu with my (!) girlfriend Miyuki today. It's a stop away from Shibuya on the Yamanote, and chock-full of foreigners. Gaijin were everywhere, by themselves, in pairs, even in families! I usually only see one or two non-Japanese on an average train trip; today it seemed like there was one on every car.
My disappointing local coffee shop. No young people, bland brews, and $2.50 a cup.
"Stop!" says this sign by my local train station. I don't quite get the rest of it; there's a train somewhere in between the left and right side of the tracks, headed for a collision with a large plus sign. Power up!
See the floors without lights on? They used to belong to the Lehman brothers, before they went under. Unfortunately, land prices are so high no one else can buy up the office space, so it just sits there, unused and unlit.
Two huge dogs and their owner at Ebisu Garden Plaza.
"What are you doing? Oh, the camera. Right." She's gotten used to my excessive picture-taking for the most part, but it still takes her a second or two to figure out what I'm up to when I stop walking to fumble in my bag for the camera.
JR Yamanote line train passing out of Ebisu station.
Miyuki setting up the space heater in our tent palace on the restaurant's roof. We've got a history of having terraces all to ourselves- Japanese people are deathly-scared of the cold. Actually, another couple came in later, but the guy was (surprise!) American.
A cold night and hot sangria are a perfect match. What's not a perfect match, though, are olives. To anything. Yeah, screw olives.
Miyuki checking out my kanji textbook. She helped me write a killer ad for English tutoring; if I get my act together, get a lot of ads out, and follow through, I could be looking at a solid $20-$25 an hour, which would help with Tokyo's crazy living expenses. I was talking with a friend about why your money goes away so fast here, and we decided that the main cause is the fact that there's no cheap way to socialize. In the states, whether I'm at home or in college, it's easy to hop on bikes and cruise to a coffee shop or cheap Indian place, bring some quality beer over to someone's house and watch a movie, or get together some friends for a dinner party. In Tokyo, if you want to meet people, you're almost always going to be meeting at an Izakaya, and looking at $25 and up for dinner and drinks. The trains don't help, with their charge-by-each-leg model; compared to Portland or San Francisco, where you get an hour and a half of riding for under $2, Japan's trains bleed you dry. If you're not smart about keeping your transfers to a minimum and using whatever legs fall under your commuter pass as much as you can, it's easy to drop $10 or $15 in a day on trains covering all of ten square miles.
Disappointing tacos. They spiced them all right, but the tortillas were unforgivably soggy. Overall, the restaurant had a great ambiance, and the terrace was amazing, but the price/quality ratio just wasn't there. I had high-hopes for tex-mex in this gaijin-ville of a neighborhood, but I think I'll have to keep looking.
Wow, I should hit the sack- Six Apart tomorrow morning, and then Tokyo 2.0 tomorrow night. Also, if you missed the context on the girlfriend thing, this is the Miyuki I went out with way back in December- we've been seeing each other every now and then, and stuff recently made a turn into more official relationshippyness.
P.S. Question for people reading through RSS readers: How are my image sizes? Too big/bandwidth-hungry? I'm toying with whether to keep pictures this size, or use half-size pictures linked to full-size ones.