Indoor Fun


This blog entry about the events of Tuesday, September 28, 2004 was originally posted on October 07, 2004.

DAY 346:  Typhoon season in Japan occurs during the change in climate around the coming of autumn, from about August to October, much like the hurricanes that hit the Caribbean and the eastern seaboard of North America.  Unlike the American hurricanes, which are given plain American names in alphabetical order (“Albert,” “Bobby,” “Chris,” etc.), typhoons are simply given plain numbers in Japan in ascending order.  That Wednesday, “Typhoon 21” was on its way up from the South China Sea and on through southern Japan.

While Typhoon 21 hadn’t yet reached the metropolitan Tokyo area yet, its outer rain clouds poured down for most of the day, leaving me indoors to catch up on Blog duties in the apartment without much desire to go out and do more.  Liz had to train a client in the late afternoon in the Asakusa neighborhood, and so she dragged me out so that I could get out of the house for a little fresh air — and more importantly, to pose with the two Ultra Man statues outside the TBS television station that broadcasts the show in Tokyo.

The rain continued that evening while I was meant to explore Asakusa’s shops and restaurants, built into the neighborhood’s buildings that Liz described to me as “old” — and by that she meant twenty years, which is practically ancient in modern Tokyo.  The rains of the coming typhoon came down pretty steady and I found refuge in an American embassy (McDonald’s) and wrote over some Fish McNuggets with wasabi dipping sauce.  I was in the dining room a bit longer than anticipated because I couldn’t resist listening to the continual 80s pop music they kept playing, from Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” to Stevie Wonder’s “Ebony and Ivory.”  Not even a typhoon could put a damper on the joys of a little 80s nostalgia for me.

That evening the rain continued, although not at typhoon proportions just yet.  With three umbrellas, Liz, Hiroshi and I went out to an udon chain restaurant with a seemingly cute cartoon mascot.  Like almost every other store and restaurant in Tokyo, it was well-prepared for customers with wet umbrellas and had an automatic umbrella wrapper that put umbrellas into convenient plastic bags — Liz referred to them as “umbrella condoms.”  We sat at a table and had our udon, the Japanese white broad rice noodles in broth with an assortment of extras, including seaweed, sesame and fish flakes.  Although it was filling, we went out for beers and more Japanese fast food anyway (grilled chicken cartilage, beef tongue, chicken wing “popsicles,” etc.) at the local yakitori place; there was something about the energy of the three happy guys working the grills and playfully shouting to each other and their funny old man boss that brought joy and a little excitement to an otherwise gloomy evening.

I THINK HIROSHI LIKED THE IDEA of having another guy in the house because in what seemed to be an ongoing debate in his marriage with Liz — Should we go to the video arcade or not? — I tipped the scales in his favor.  We continued the theme of staying indoors to escape the rain and went to the local Club Sega to close the night off.  The Japanese video arcade market, probably to fill the void during typhoon season, simulated things one could do outside; Liz played a public bus driver simulator (on a virtual sunny day), while I walked a virtual dog (picture above) and kept it happy until I accidentally almost got it run over by a guy on a virtual bicycle.  Hiroshi on the other hand, kept to more manly games like a robotic mech Gundam game and video strip mahjong.  In the end, we all tried our skills at a taikyo drum game, beating the percussion to Bach’s “Toccato and Fugue in D Minor.”

Back in the apartment that night Liz turned on the local television news for the weather report.  On the map, Typhoon 21 had already crossed over to the other side of the island, its path circumventing Tokyo altogether.  The next day would bring forth sunnier skies, although I’m sure if it didn’t, there’d still be plenty of fun to have indoors.

Next entry: Live-Action Japanimation

Previous entry: School Day

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Comments for “Indoor Fun”

  • That bus driving game is hard!  And it’s on the wrong side of the road!  Definitely an indication that my decision not to drive in Japan was a good one!

    Posted by Liz  on  10/06  at  06:59 PM

  • Liz, you can always come back to Canada and drive a school bus!  The video arcade looks like fun, but then again I am a sucker for those games (especially racing!!)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/06  at  08:13 PM

  • oohhh, that drum game is kinda like that donkey konga. though i don’t think beating drums would be as fun. right now, i am addicted to burnout 3. i love that game. =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/06  at  08:41 PM

  • For old skool games, go to:

    Wicked awesome, I tell you…
    How’d you do the drum game, with it all in Japanese??

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/06  at  10:06 PM

  • “umbrella condoms”. weird. are they really necessary?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/06  at  10:34 PM

  • umbrella condoms are cool!!!  they should have them on all the buses…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/06  at  11:51 PM

  • i need an umbrella condom in my house. dood..chicken cartilage? how wuz that?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/07  at  12:19 AM

  • umbrella condoms are a great invention!  You don’t drip water all over the place so the stores etc stay nice and clean smile
    Chicken cartilage rocks!
    The drum game demonstrates how to play with cute little animation characters (go figure!) ... and Hiroshi translated LOL I love the drum game.  I want to take Taiko drum lessons.  Figure it is an awesome way to vent work frustration!

    Posted by Liz  on  10/07  at  01:29 AM

  • Hey Liz! Thanks for clarifying the “radon” pronunciation! smile

    My mom came back from a trip to Tokyo once and brought back a curious Japanese umbrella. The umbrella folded down to close like any other umbrella, but then, to close it all the way, you actually folded half of the umbrella back up. It was an odd contraption, but it did keep everything relatively dry.. sans umbrella condom..

    Erik, I’ve come away from the last few blog entries starving for shrimp tempura, sashimi, sushi, udon, and beer!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/07  at  07:45 AM

  • Oogy - that’s the kind of umbrella I gave Erik to carry around.  They’re great because the fold up small enough to carry in my bag!

    Posted by Liz  on  10/07  at  03:47 PM

  • I had a tempura Bento box for lunch yesterday. I wonder where the craving came from?!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/07  at  05:27 PM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

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Live-Action Japanimation

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School Day


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