Posts Tagged Don Quijote
Tonight was a guys night in with Azeroth and Super Dave. After work we stopped by Don Quijote for snacks and drinks. DonKi is just down the street from our apartment, which is convenient because it’s very easy to overshop at a store that sells everything.
Upon returning home we drank beer, ate toaster oven pizza and pepperoni / cheese wedge sandwiches while watching Trailer Park Boys. There is something really international about watching Trailer Park Boys (a low budget Canadian show) in Japan with an American and an Australian.
A new Don Quijote (DonKi) location recently opened down the street from my apartment. Unlike all of the other teachers who live close to the station, I am fortunate enough to live across the street from 7-11, and less than a 5 minute walk from both Seiyu and DonKi. I love my apartment!
After work, Super Dave, Azeroth, and I met up and went to DonKi to load up on snack food. After a solid hour of wandering around, we left with booze, pretzels, salsa (hooray), spam, and other goodies.
I’m not sure whose idea the spam and cheese sandwiches were, but it wasn’t the best idea. Other than that, we had an enjoyable evening of snacking, drinking, and watching Fawlty Towers. The show is still funny 30 years later, and I’m sure people will still enjoy it for many years to come.
If you are visiting Japan, you must visit a DonKi location. It’s a necessary part of the Japan experience.
I had to work today. The guys went to a sword museum in Tokyo, and then met up with me outside Kawasaki station at the end of my shift. They all requested another night out in Shibuya. We spent our time in game centers and then went back to Don Quijote, this time sober enough to fully enjoy the experience. Green and I both bought small beer chilling machines which claim to cool a beer from room temperature to drinking temperature in 90 seconds. For the price of 2000 yen this seemed like a reasonable gamble.
We got to Shibuya station a bit early to avoid any chance of missing the last train. Our route home was the always crowded Keio line to Shimokitazawa, and then Odakyu line to Noborito. When we got to the platform we saw the second last train loading up. It was literally wall to wall people. This gave us a chance to see Japan’s famous train pushers for the first time. They are railway staff that push all of the arms and legs into a crowded train car so the doors can close. If you want a true Japan cultural experience, you have to see the train pushers in action.
We went to the front of the line and waited for the last train of the evening to arrive. We were in the last train car standing against the back wall of the car in a row. I regretted my purchase of the beer cooling cube as I had to awkwardly straddle it while the train car filled up. By the time the train was ready to leave, the train car was packed like sardines and we were pressed up against the back wall. Due to my awkward straddling position, a nearby drunk man tried to use me as a seat.
As we got moving, a drunk woman crawled between Flounder’s legs and started looking like she was going to be sick. Flounder described the situation to me as “It’s like a game of leapfrog, but nobody’s jumping!”. Everyone in the area who could understand language was laughing at the situation.
When we got closer to Shimokitazawa station, I instructed the guys that we had to get off the train quickly and run to Odakyu line. I let them know that we only had a few minutes to make our connection before the Odakyu line left. I made very clear to them that if they didn’t get off the train before the doors closed, that they would have no way of getting back to Hello House.
At Shimokitazawa the doors opened and a crowd of people started flowing out of the train. Japan is a usually very polite and orderly country, except on crowded trains. When the train is crowded, anything goes. Hippie, Code Red, Green and I all forced our way off the train, but Flounder was trapped behind a man who stood directly in the doorway with his arms crossed.
Flounder yelled out “I can’t get off the train!”. I replied “you HAVE to get off the train NOW”.
Flounder, hearing the urgency in my voice, decided that desperate times called for desperate measures. He tried to go left – not enough space. He tried to go right – too crowded. He then grabbed the door blocker by his elbows, picked him up, and carried him off the train.
The door blocking man was furious at being picked up like a toy and moved out of the way. He turned around angrily and found himself staring directly into the middle of Flounder’s chest. As he slowly looked up at the giant smiling gaijin, he decided that he wasn’t all that angry anymore and quickly got on the train without a word. The nearby people on the platform thought this was hilarious. Flounder simply shrugged and told me “you said I had to get off the train now”. We all continued laughing as we ran for the Odakyu line to catch the last train back to Hello House.
Description on the beer cooling machine:
Drinking a glass of beer helps yourself release fatigue and mental stress after you come back home. Just pull down the lever and get a chilled canned beer for your relaxing time. COOLING CUBE creates a healing time and space beyond reality for you. Since 2002.
After getting a taste of beer at Shakey’s Pizza, we decided that we would really enjoy some more beer. We boarded the Yamanote line and headed for Shibuya. The area around Shibuya station is always entertaining for visitors. Between the massive crowds of people, the tall buildings, the giant video screens, the lights, and the noise it is a great way to get overstimulated. After wandering around for a while we headed to GasPanic for cheap beer.
As much as some people talk badly about GasPanic (with good reason), it is easy to find, has cheap drinks, and has no problems with five casually dressed, thirsty foreigners. We managed to find a table and ordered two pitchers. Green used one of the pitchers as his own personal drink, while the rest of us filled our glasses from the other pitcher.
We hung out at GasPanic for a some time getting more than a little drunk. It was a Sunday night, so GasPanic was not exactly lively. I convinced the group that while we were in Shibuya, we could be having more fun at Don Quijote. The problem was that I was full of beer and don’t know Shibuya well. It took several wrong turns, but we finally found the giant smiling penguin and proceeded to enter the most fun store in the country.
It is not terribly surprising that 5 drunk 20 something males will eventually end up in the adult toy section. The guys marveled at the wide variety of products available. They were particularly interested in the disposable sex cans for men. At this point I decided this would make the best souvenir ever and generously offered to buy some for them to take home. While Code Red, Flounder and Hippie went to other parts of the store, I got Green to hold out his arms and proceeded to stack up 8 sex cans. Since we didn’t want to keep walking around the store while carrying the sex cans, Green and I started to make our way towards the cash register. Finding the way out of DonKi is difficult at the best of times. Finding the way out of DonKi after several beers is even more challenging. On one of our many wrong turns Green dropped the entire stack of sex cans all over the floor. The other shoppers looked on in amused horror as he tried to gather them all up again while I stood by and laughed.
I paid for the sex cans, then Green and I met the others outside. We were getting pretty close to the last train, so we decided to call it a night and returned to Shibuya Station. From Shibuya we took Yamanote line to Shinjuku, then boarded Odakyu line towards Noborito. On the Odakyu train, Flounder was standing and holding onto the train grip. Two Shibuya girls were standing next to him. For those who don’t know, Shibuya girls are fashionable looking young females with fake tans, coloured hair, and lots of accessories on their phones. Without any warning, one of them reached over and started stroking Flounder’s arm hair. He looked down and said hi. She looked up at him and said “You are jumbo”. Flounder calmly replied “I’m from Canada. Everything is jumbo in Canada”.
Not wanting to be left out, Green reached into his backpack, past the 8 sex cans, to find my copy of “Making Out in Japanese“, a hilarious phrasebook for casual Japanese in different situations. He tried out a few lines, but his pronunciation was so terrible that the Shibuya girls couldn’t understand what he was talking about. Most notably, he attempted several times to say “kiss me” which is pronounced “key-soo she-tay”. Green kept reading the romaji as “kiss-oo shitty”. Green finally got fed up and just pointed at the line in the book. The girls thought this was hilarious and then sat down and started reading the book while laughing at the most ridiculous phrases.
Nobody ended up getting any kisses, but we got several pictures with the Shibuya girls while they were laughing at Making Out in Japanese. We got back to Hello House and hung out with Lux explaining our awesome day in Tokyo.
I had the day off due to a shift swap to help another teacher, so Lux and I went out to explore Tokyo. We started by going to Ginza, an upscale shopping area of Tokyo. It is home to some of the biggest and most expensive department store chains. Even the subway station looks nicer than other stations. We had very expensive coffee in a great place overlooking one of the major intersections.
After Ginza we moved on to Roppongi. Roppongi is very, VERY different in the daytime. We checked out the new massive Roppongi Hills complex, which features a 54 story building filled with very expensive shopping and restaurants, as well as several corporate offices. When a store only sells about 10 different high end purses and there are no prices displayed, it’s too expensive for English teachers.
After some wandering around we had dinner at TGI Fridays, which was just the same as back home except more expensive. Finally we finished off our day with our first ever trip to Don Quijote, one of the most fun stores in Japan. Don Quijote literally sells almost everything. DonKi Roppongi has 6 floors, all packed floor to ceiling with anything and everything you could ever want to buy. Finding a specific item is difficult to impossible, but wandering around is part of the DonKi shopping adventure experience.
The highlight was a trip to the adult goods section (they do sell everything). We were surprised and by the variety of products available. In addition to the conventional items you would expect, there was one curious product called “Anal Violence”, which didn’t sound like a good time for anyone. While we were looking, a Japanese woman came in and selected a “personal massager” from the shelf. Lux shouted out in English “OH MY GOD! That woman is buying a vibrator!”. Apparently the woman could understand English, as she turned beet red and left the area.
Exploring Tokyo is a lot more fun with another person. We took a lot of pictures and had a great day. Also, we learned a valuable lesson that you should be careful – you never know who in the area can understand your language.
(2014 Update) I was still using a film camera at the time, and managed to confuse a full and empty roll of film, causing me to lose all of the pictures I took that day 😦
(2014 Update 2) I changed the spelling in the article from “Don Kihote” to “Don Quijote”.