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Journal


Please forgive my tardiness in posting this but our schedule isn't exactly full of free time with internet access.

Day 1 - We met at the airport bright-eyed and ready to begin our adventures. After leaving parents at the check-in, we made our way to the gate. Upon arriving at the gate, Buggs looks at his phone and then looks up at the ceiling. When Ben saw Buggs looking at the ceiling, he asked what he was doing. Buggs then tells Ben that he got a text from his mom telling him "Look up!" Then Ben had to explain to Buggs that his mom probably meant back when we were going through the security check in so that she could wave to him, not 15 minutes later inside the airport terminal. Upon arriving in Tokyo, we took on the daunting task of filling out our cards so that we could travel through customs. Sam succeeded in becoming the first person I have ever witnessed using an air sickness bag on the ground 30 minutes after we had already arrived. Four of us were fine but it was clear that Sam did not read the part of both forms that said "Must be filled out in black or blue ink" because he filled out his forms in pencil causing us to wait as he re-copied them in pen. It must have thrown him off because he obviously wasn't expecting directions to be in bold print AND English. After that, it was smooth sailing back to the hotel where we slept and prepared for a long day.

Day 2 - We started off at a Buddhist temple and then we followed that with a trip to the Tsukiji fish market. Our trip through the market was fascinating but fairly uneventful until we decided to stop and grab a pre-bus snack at a local convenience store. It was there that Buggs purchased a bottle of apple juice. The apple juice was 113 yen (about a dollar) but Buggs freaked out at how quickly the lady said it to him in Japanese (even though the numbers were displayed on the screen front of him) so he threw down all the money in his hand, 2,000 yen and quickly walked away until we stopped him and pointed out that he was about to pay the equivalent of $20 for a 12oz bottle of apple juice. While he is not the only one, it was the funniest of all of our clerk interactions. A couple of times, the guys have walked away only to have the clerk chase them down to hand them change. That would never happen in the US. Next we traveled to Harajiku and the shopping district. In an effort to interact with the locals, I asked the guys to take pictures with them and talk to them in Japanese. Buggs was having a tough time getting his Japanese out so I had him simply take a picture with a Pikachu character doing promotion at a local cellular store. At the end of the picture, the cute little mascot went in for a hug as he had with everyone else and Buggs, in all his awkward nervousness, gave Pikachu a good old American chest bump that sent the mascot back a step and a half. We then stopped by Niketown where we noticed a line outside of the store of Japanese people, young and old, waiting to pick up their Jordans. Boy did that look familiar. After noticing we had walked for a couple of hours and almost missed our lunch window, we sprinted to Loteria for local burgers. Ben wanted the chicken strips but in his similarly awkward reluctance to use his Japanese, he placed his order entirely in English. Yet he was surprised later that the lady didn't understand what he meant by "Chicken nuggets" so she gave him a chicken sandwich with extra mayo. Mmmmm mmm. At night, we traveled to Akihabara (Anime/Tech) shopping district where Jackson-sensei beat box battled a little man in a purple jumpsuit and rabbit hand puppet. Needless to say, he conceded the victory to Jackson. We had big plans to travel along the streets and check out all of the technology. The first place we stopped was Yorabachi which is the equivalent of taking a Walmart full of phone stuff and stacking it on top of a Target full of cameras followed by a Marshalls full of TV's followed by a Costco full of appliances followed by a Toys R Us and so on. It was there that we got our acting debut and we were approached by a man who wanted us to look at the electric bikes they had for parents and film our opinions for a commercial. It was then that we had to lie and tell him that we though a bike that put a toddler/infant on the front of the bike capable of traveling 20mph was a good idea and that we needed it in the US, just so we could get on TV. After our acting debut, we set on making our way back downstairs and out so that we could take in the city. After we got to about the 4th floor, we realized that Daniel, who had spent the entire time texting and barely looking up, had not started back downstairs with us. We looked for him for about 10 minutes and then we decided to go to the lobby to wait. 20 minutes later, no Daniel. Since they had a dual escalator system, Jackson told Sam and Buggs to wait at the entrance while he went up to the top floor on one set of escalators while Ben went up the other side. Twenty minutes later, Jackson returned with no Daniel but there was hope that Ben had found him. Five minutes later, Daniel emerges from the store! Of course now, we have no idea where Ben is who is now also lost. Jackson goes back upstairs to look for Ben and Ben immediately exits the store leaving Jackson walking around the store trying to find him. It was like a horrible episode of Scooby Doo. Needless to say, our night of technological adventure was limited to ONE STORE because we spent our entire time looking for the lost people and didn't get to see the rest of the city by the time we had to return

Day 3 - Started at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum where we quickly learned that we weren't museum people. We then walked through 10,000's of people in Ueno Park who were watching the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) festival. After that mass of humanity, we were given free time to explore and we dicided to return to Akihabara to finish what we didn't get to see the day before. We stopped into an All-American cafe to get something to eat. It was there that they were playing good old American music. The first song we heard was Cee-Lo's "Forget you!" Then it dawned on us after humming along for a minute that they had no concept of an "edited" version so they were playing the original and not so family friendly version of the song but no one in the restaurant noticed except for us. After a long day of train rides and walking, we ended it at a restaurant where you actually cook your own food on a mini grill. When we say "a lot of walking" we aren't exaggerating. Jackson's phone registered 11.78 miles of walking on day 2 and 11.61 miles on day 3. That doesn't count the hour plus that we spent on the train (much of which was standing). We now see why we can't find any obese Japanese people.