Seeing Tokyo for the first time in over a year (not counting my 4-day orientation in August) made me realize how much things change over time. Certainly things are not put on pause while you’re away; I’ve realized that when moving between Japan and the U.S., and it’s the same with any place you go.
My first surprise was when I visited Ikebukuro and noticed several changes:
– Rikkyo University was constructing yet another building on their campus. Right before I left in 2009, they had started working on a building and they’ve finished it and starting building another one.
– On Sunshine 60 Street, there are a number of game centers, and one of them was so worn down and old-looking. When I returned, it was a brand new place, looking so much brighter than it used to be. It was so new, in fact, that there were congratulatory bouquets of flowers sitting outside.
– closet child had moved. At first I thought it was gone completely, but after checking on the internet I found out that they had just moved about a block away. The new location’s layout looks almost identical to the old one. I’m relieved that it hadn’t closed down.
-HMV closed on Sunshine 60 Street, which was a little sad despite the fact that I never went there. On the bright side, it was replaced by a BOOK-OFF.
– One final change I noticed was that there was a Krispy Kreme that was located near the West side of Ikebukuro station. This made me happy because the only two locations I knew about before were the ones in Shibuya and Shinjuku. It’s also very easy to find, which is good. Krispy Kreme makes the best donuts 🙂
One of my friends pointed out that Harajuku is no longer the only place where there is an H&M and a Forever 21. There are now locations in Shinjuku and Shibuya as well. Personally it’s no big deal to me, since I kind of prefer the U.S. stores anyway. But I did visit the H&M in Harajuku and bought a shirt that was on sale for 1000 yen from there.
Shinjuku hadn’t changed much, except for the changes in host clubs in Kabukicho. It seems that the hosts doing catch duty are coming out later at this time of year; I used to see a lot starting from 6:00 in the evening, but right now they don’t seem to come out until around 7:00. It’s cold outside, so that might be the reason.
I did visit one host club with a friend on New Year’s Eve. It was only for an hour and it seemed that all of the “good” hosts were unavailable, making the visit not so great as I wanted it to be. Strangely enough, I ended up befriending a host. Now, by “befriending” I don’t mean regular small chat e-mail exchanges that I used to do with other hosts. This host actually seems to want to be friends with me…OR, he’s either a) very desperate to get a customer, even as far as to break the rules of contacting a customer that’s not yours, or b) really wants a girlfriend, and happens to like foreigners. He insists on using English to communicate in our e-mails, although he makes a lot of mistakes. I don’t know how long this will last but if he wants to be my friend then it’s okay with me, as long as he doesn’t do anything weird. He knows that I don’t live in Tokyo but he wanted to contact me anyway, which is nice. I was told by my friend to try a host club in Osaka, which she thinks are better (and I can imagine them being so). Right now I have to save up my money, but maybe in a few weeks I’ll finally visit Osaka.