Unbridled Cynicism

less bullshit, more often?

A quiet Christmas of time-wasting and Eva

Christmas is kinda like any other day for us - we woke up late and did a lot of not-all-that-much. I don’t think it’s a waste, we’re just relaxed. Christmas in Japan is pretty much all capitalistic, and it’s not like we have anything heartful to do anyway.

dovac was too tired to meet up with us last night, so we met up for breakfast. I think this is the first time I’ve properly met dovac, which is to say he wasn’t cosplaying as Kirino - good times. :)

These first few days before Comiket are empty, so we’ll mostly be filling in the hours. Ast hasn’t seen the new Akiba Culture Zone yet, so we’ll swing by and evaluate it thoroughly.

Wasting time

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Caption: Breakfast at Vie de France.

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Caption: NMB48 advertising… shavers.

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Caption: Robot+Robot has consignment boxes with all sorts of goodies, like this submarine Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me.

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Caption: A little Egyptian cat mascot, which is just what I need for my Robotics;Notes cosplay :3

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Caption: Something of an outlier in the building, but many otaku are also into militaristic stuff. As best I could tell, this is a (quite realistic) airsoft Glock in a holster, the latter of which is for sale.

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Caption: Good Smile Cafe has these Hidamari Sketch graphigs on display, they’re very cute.

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Caption: Hey is that a Miata? Spotted outside the culture zone in a carpark.

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Caption: I’m really not sure about this thighhighs-over-tights fashion :/

No time-wasting session is complete without a visit to the game centres.

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Caption: Just think, if you won this Rilakkuma utensil set, you could bring out the good silverware whenever friends come to visit.

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Caption: There’s a Densha de Go! arcade machine in one of the Sega centres. It’s pretty fun, and seems challenging to get a really good score.

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Caption: This new machine is called MaiMai, it’s a little like DDR, but it’s all about using your hands, a bit like J-pop/K-pop moves. It’s pretty good fun, and has Vocaloid songs.

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Caption: MaiMai also has PON PON PON, which is always fun.

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Caption: Are you a hopeless NEET but don’t want to admit it? Consider yourself instead as a home security system! It’s the only NEET thing to do, after all.

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Caption: Another new rhythm game, this is like IIDX, but with fewer keys, and a couple of analogue dials added. I like it, and the music seems to be a little more electronic, which suits my tastes handily.

And then the west side of Chuo Dori.

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Caption: Could this guy be any more of a fucking otaku!? Camo backpack, generally kinda nerdy attire, samurai umbrella, walking around with his laptop held out in front, apparently using video chat or something. And I’ve nothing against doll owners, but taking your doll for a walk while doing all this is hella awkward.

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Caption: Dear Stage is closed at the moment, but they have a pretty cool mural on their shutters.

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Caption: Dear god, a Hatoful Boyfriend drama CD… why??

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Caption: The AKB48 cafe is open today, presumably for the lonely otaku. This is speculation, but apparently it’s not as simple as just going in. No, there’s probably a lottery system to see who gets to go in today.

Getting online

On previous trips I’ve rented a phone and mobile internet hotspot, but this time I’m trying something different. Especially with our heavy usage of Twitter for communications, a voice phone isn’t really needed any more, but internet access is vital. We’ve decided to go straight for a usable data SIM for our smartphones, and B-mobile has just the product.

The 1gb prepaid SIM for 3G and 4G smartphones gives us 1gb of quota to use in 30 days, for 3,480 yen. We grabbed ours from Yodobashi Camera, but they should be easy enough to get elsewhere.

We couldn’t gaijin smash our way through the conversation at Yodobashi, so the sales assistant said we were on our own to get it activated (we’ve heard that they’ll handle the activation for you if you flail enough). It turns out to be not difficult, just troublesome because you need to make a call from a Japanese mobile phone number.

We got a friend to take care of this, but it goes something like this:

  1. Buy the SIM, making sure you get the correct size for your phone: standard SIM or micro SIM
  2. Call the toll free number on the pack (they start with 0120 in Japan)
  3. Press ‘2’ to select SIM activation
  4. Enter the phone number of your SIM when prompted (it should start with 080)
  5. The SIM should be activated pretty much immediately, though it’s nominally 15min or so
  6. Drop the SIM into your smartphone and enter the APN details in your Mobile Network settings
    • You might need to reboot the phone to kick it onto the new APN after entering the details and selecting it
    • You may need to force your phone to do WCDMA-only if you have a 4G/LTE phone

Success! Twitter worked, so we know we’ve done something right.

We’re gonna go see that new Eva movie in Shinjuku, but it doesn’t start for a few hours so we went for an early dinner of gyoza.

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Caption: I don’t recall who brought it up, but the place we went to, Osaka Ohsho, does great gyoza, and they’re pretty damned cheap as well.

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Caption: The portions are rated for 4 people each. Between the three of us, we ate 10 people’s worth.

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Caption: Spotted on the way to the restaurant, exposed power meters are pretty rare in Japan. Big, snaky cabling everywhere is definitely unusual.

About 1400yen later we’re very well satisfied and on the way to our movie. Tickets are 1800yen. I thought our ticket prices in Australia were high, but Japan is definitely competetive right now - about 20 AUD.

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Caption: 2 litres of onigoroshi sake! Just sitting there in a convenience store.

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Caption: Fooding Bar Mysterious~~ Whooooo~~~~

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Caption: I think Christon Cafe is a Christian or Catholic themed dining establishment.

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Caption: This bizarre truck was advertising some sort of… Robot Girls restaurant? I have no idea.

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Caption: Flan-chan sure has been busy.

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Caption: Plug-mobile! Sitting just outside the cinema building.

Evangelion movie

So, the title for the new movie is 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, aka. Eva:Q. This is an awful pun implying closure, but more on that later.

Not understanding Japanese is kind of a barrier, but I got the gist of it okay and Ast was able to explain things afterwards.

Eva:Q is pretty. I mean, damn! Whatever budget problems Gainax may have had in the past are a distant memory now.

Such a grand symphony of destruction and chaos. Nothing I’ve seen can match Eva:Q.

Furinkan

The new designs are pretty fantastic. They look great, and they’re a welcome way to fill in the intervening years in the timeline since the last movie. However, it’s not perfect. For one thing, Mari barely makes an appearance! She’s such a fantastic character, so confident and outgoing, now reduced to a supporting role with hardly any screen time.

I think I need to review Eva 2.0 and then watch 3.0 again, I really need to join up the timeline better. Oh yes, and closure. Word on the street is that the Q in Eva:Q is meant to be 急 (pronounced like ‘Q’). This is a reference to Jo-ha-kyuu, a concept found primarily in traditional Japanese theatre, referring to pacing and theme of each act. Each component corresponds roughly to Beginning, Conflict, Resolution, with a quickening of pace as things proceed.

The unsatisfying thing about Eva:Q is that it’s not a resolution, yet. Well, it’s well known that there’s a fourth and final instalment in the pipeline, with a name of MUSICAL_NOTATION_SYMBOL. Yeah, the symbol is the “return to an earlier place in the piece” marker, we don’t know how to pronounce it until it’s officially announced :<

My hopes remain high, but I really wonder what they have in mind. So long as the fans don’t feel betrayed by the last movie, Gainax should be able to dodge a repeat of the vandalism and death threats that happened a decade ago.

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Caption: They were giving out these fantastic postcards to viewers, this is a fine sample of my terrible handwriting trying to look girly. Damn girl, you lookin’ fiiiine.

Hunger pangs

As we got back to the hotel we noticed the neighbouring building just to the west was open for business (it was closed by the time we arrived last night). It turns out that Via Inn is next to a maid cafe and relaxation place. Huh, that’s new.

Ast was content to sit at the hotel watching shitty TV, but I was hungry again and it was getting on to about 1am. I went wandering in Akiba to see what could be had.

KFC was closed, along with McDonalds, but I happily found a ramen joint not far from the station. I don’t know what they’re called, but the sign says they’re open until 3am. Score!

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Caption: There were a surprising number of people at the restaurant for the hour. What the hell are you all doing here!

Damage for the day: 9,039 yen with about 3,500 of that on food in various forms.