Monday, September 18, 2006

3-day weekend wrapup

Well, I can't say this was the best weekend ever, but it wasn't the worst.

The biggest downer was going to the craft beer festival all the way up in Tokyo, only to be told that there were no more tickets available. Apparently, you had to get them online or in specific brewpubs (none of which were closer than Yokohama, 40 minutes away) beforehand. So that didn't make me happy.

Nor did going to the camera shop in Akihabara where I purchased my (now-broken) camera. After half an hour of complaining, they agreed to replace it, only to reveal that they didn't have the model anymore. So I could either take a lower-quality one for roughly the same price, or pay another 19,000 yen for the next model up. I said no thank you, please get me the same model. At which point the manager decided that he wouldn't replace it for me anymore, because there were too many scratches on it (nevermind that it was the floor model that I got stuck with, and I had to carry it around Thailand for 2 weeks with the lens jammed in the out position). So they'll have to send it to Casio to get it repaired. I'm rather put out by this experience. I had expected more from that brand, especially since Ana and Damien were happy with theirs. It SHOULD take about a week, but seeing their treatment of me, I'm sure it will take longer. Japan is famous for its customer service, they will go to great lengths to aid people here. I wonder if it's because I bought it in Akihabara, a place where foreigners seen once aren't expected to return. For what little it will do, anyone reading this and thinking of going to Akihabara would be well-advised to avoid AKKY electronics at all costs. They will foist shoddy goods upon you and the famous Japanese customer service is sorely lacking.

But let's move on. After these two rather sad experiences, I met up with Julian and we headed to the Ebisu Beer Museum. I'd been there once before with Ana and Damien, the time Ana's friends Heather and Jeremy came to visit, but Julian hadn't, so we had a couple of the rarer brews there. His girlfriend Atsumi showed up, then we headed to Shibuya to visit another brewpup, the Auldgate, that I'd been to before. We met up with a friend I'd made last weekend, Yuriko, who lives and works in Narita.

By that time there was a fine mist coming down, the prelude to a tropical storm that blew up and finally passed over this morning (Monday). Yuriko and I went to a Spanish tapas bar near Tokyo station that was excellent, if a bit pricey. It's definitely a place for drinks, though the food can get pricey once you get started. We wrapped up the evening wandering around the area, where we were able to spot a few of the Cow Parade Tokyo cows. I'll try and get back up there soon to see the rest of them, probably when I have to go pick up my camera. Bastards.

So while Sunday was a day of action and moving about, today was a day for not really doing anything. Just a bit of vacuuming and hanging around the house while the storm raged outside. It lightened up about 4pm, so I could get some food shopping in and take in a coffee shop where I launched into An Inconvenient Truth, the global warming book by Al Gore. The book's big and thick, I think I ended up with the coffee table version, released after the movie. The pictures are beautiful, National Geographic-quality, with lots of detailed information. I'm about 20% through it now, so I'll try and write more after I finish. There isn't much writing, it's almost like they pasted the notes from Gore's powerpoint presentation onto the relevant photos. But it's a good read, especially since I won't be able to see the movie itself for a while.

Well, off to cook lunch for this week, and maybe have the bottle of "Bishop's Finger" ale that Julian brought back from England for me.

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