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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Longest Friday.

When it comes to something important, I just can't seem to sleep. Whether it's sleeping before an important event, or working through the night on something amazing, sleep seems to always yield to my excitement.

That night was another such night. It was the night before my friends and I would meet in the city that never sleeps.

After finally knocking out for roughly 2 hours, I awoke to a call from my friend. I think I overslept again. It wouldn't be the first time, and it definitely wouldn't be the last, but I could tell by the tone in his voice that I should start working on my punctuality. I quickly got showered and grabbed my bag. Even if it was just a trip around the city, I knew I had to bring a decent-sized backpack in case I found a couple of "souvenirs". I jumped into the car, and with Ellegarden playing in the back, the day began.

Well, it was going to, but then I ended up coming across a stranded motorist having engine problems. After I helped him out, then the day truly began.

I eventually arrived at his house. It was a relieving feeling being able to see my friend, especially after finding out last minute that two of our companions wouldn't be able to accompany us this time. In general, being able to see my friends is a great feeling considering how barely I get to see them in person.

The drive to the station was quick, and filled with quiet chatter. The excitement mounted as we entered the station, and even as we boarded. On the ride, we quickly switched on our electronics. As always, I had my PSP, this time loaded with a copy of DJMAX Portable 2. He had his Vita on him. During the ride our attention eventually shifted to his Touch, which was playing Akiba Ranger. He knew that it would appeal to not just the part of me that enjoyed Sentai shows, but the otaku within me as well. In a word: It was absurd. My expressions of surprise began to get increasingly vocal, and the grumpy old lady in front of us began to get ticked off.

Well, you'd be gasping this loudly if you saw some of the crazy stuff I'd seen. I mean, super moe henshin handhelds? Seriously? A cosplaying mom ranger?! What?!

Eventually, my body reminded me that I had only been running on 2 hours of sleep. I passed out.

When I awoke, we had finally arrived. It had been a while since I'd been in the city. It had been a while since I went, so the bustling scenery was enough to give me a second wind, moreso than my nap did. The liveliness of the crowds, the noise of the streets, the fragrant smell of the food from the carts peppered all over the blocks... Intoxicating. Sometimes I find it funny that I enjoy things like this, being the normally introverted, sometimes boring person that I am.

But we were here. And ONLY we were here. As we left the station, I tried contacting our other friend. Apparently, he mistook the message we sent prior to boarding as "We just boarded the train, hope to see yous guys soon!", when it really meant, "Hey, we're already in the city, where are you at this point?". Then again, who could blame him, when all the message read was, "were here". Apparently, in addition to my punctuality, I need to work on my vague way of speaking as well.

We begin our tour of the city by heading to the bank. I had to pick up a new card after dealing with some shenanigans invovling my old one. I won't bore you with that story, seeing as how I'm already doing so with this one. Along the way, I began to back and forth with my friend, updating him constantly with our whereabouts. I swear, I felt like Carmen San Diego. Find us! Find us!

Eventually, we settled down at a McDonald's and got some food there. I was running on low batteries and neither of us had eaten yet. We were in no condition to play hide and seek. It was here that we met up with our city-side companion. It would also serve as the first time the two of my friends would meet. He informed as that his friend would be joining us later, rounding out the party. With our stomachs full, and eyes full of excitement, it was time to go.

It was time for our adventure to truly began. To save time, we had already mapped out our destinations, so we headed to the first one: A clothing store. The rain was no longer a slight sprinkle. It began to pour. Thankfully, this venue would allows us to get into fresh change of clothes. A couple of designs caught our eyes: a shirt featuring the beautiful brushstrokes seen in Metal Gear Solid 4, a shirt glorfying the War in the Pocket (my god brother would've liked this), a shirt of the mighty Char Anzable (he would've liked this even more), a shirt with a wanted poster depicting the Straw Hat Pirates (I know our friend who couldn't go would've liked this one), and a slick shirt featuring the Spider-Man (a shirt that struck a chord with all three of us apparently, since we all got it). The store's appearance in itself was of a fascniating design. It was very bright, and very spacious. Extremely catchy beats reverberated from the speakers, almost eerily in unison to the displays on the monitors that peppered the walls. It was nice. There were also mannequins that were displayed on a pulley system that brought the mannequins up and down the sides of the staircase for all floors to see. My suburban-side friend thought that this was what happened to anyone that shoplifted...

To want to wear the brand so bad you'd steal, and end up as a in-store dummy on display for all to see... a terrifying thought.

Now in slightly less wet clothing (as the rain hadn't stopped at all), it was time for our next destination: A book store. The first floor was filled magazines and bestsellers from both the US and Japan. However, my attention was fixed on the shelf containing all the monthly comic anthologies. Attractive cover after attractive cover lined the shelves. It was hard to resist trying to buy one to see what was inside, but considering I'm not exactly up to date on what's being serialized where, I figured it wouldn't be a worthwhile investment.

Oh who am I kidding, I was trying to stop myself from buying them just for the figurines. You can never have too many awesome figurines.

(But one cover did catch my eye for a prolonged period of time. Little did I realize that on the cover lay Tsuchiko Tsutsukakushi and Azusa Azuki, characters from the serial "Hentai Ouji to Warawani Neko", a story I'd become engrossed in some time after this trip.)

I settled on a copy of OtakuUSA. It had a spread on Persona 4 the Animation, so I naturally had to get it. Upstairs, we had stumbled on the mother lode of manga. JoJo, Persona 3 and 4 the Manga, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko... books I had been looking for for quite some time, right in front of me in physical form... and in the display case, the latest figurines from some of the biggest names in the figure making industry... and underneath! CDs! Vocaloid! Character Image! The hottest J-Bands! And then the classics! Blu-Ray Re-mastered Maccross! Battleship Yamato! And next to the cafe were artbooks! Artbooks by KEI! Shigenori Soejima! The RockMan Official Complete Works!

This place. It was dangerous for my wallet. Very dangerous. I got my magazine and got the hell out.

A block down, we met with our 4th and final friend for the day. He was friends with our city-side friend, and it was my first time meeting him. I had heard stories that he had a lot in common with him, as the two had known each other for the longest time. He was a pleasant dude. With him in tow, we decided to break the itnerary and go see a movie.

We would end up waiting for hours, since all the showtimes at that hour were taken.

To kill time, we decided to go a Toys 'R' Us nearby. It had been a while since I'd been here as well. A ferris wheel, a ton of shelves with the lastest and most popular action figures, a candy section, a mini arcade. Kid paradise. Or, it would be, if there weren't creepy mascots looming everywhere. Ugh.

After spending time in there, we went to another place we had heard about from our friend that couldn't go. It was a hobby store. Once inside, I couldn't believe my eyes. There were a shelf full of nendoroids and figma, some which I'd had my eye on for some time. Like Kirino and her friend Ayase. Even Metis was there. There was even the Erio nendoroid I'd gotten back in Spring! Next to the Good Smile Company shelf was the Bandai D-Arts shelf. They had all of the RockMan line. X, 1st Armor X, both Zero's, VAVA... but next to them took me by surprise. It was the D-Arts Izanagi, and next to him, Thanatos.

Izanagi. The thunderous bancho overlord. (Lightning, the delinquent longcoat, he was a combination of things I liked growing up.) I had to have him. But I also liked Thanatos... he helped me beat P3P... In the end, Izanagi won out.

Another interesting find included all 4 Kotobukiya RockMan kits, Kotobukiya's P4 mini figures, the Megahouse Persona Keychains, Play Arts Kai Final Fantasy VII figures, and several Ore no Imouto wallscrolls. I eventually settled on Izanagi, a P4 figurine, and...

... a Miku plush doll. I can't say no to Miku.

Before we left, I also grabbed an extra keychain and figurine for my younger sister. She really wanted to go on this trip, and even the trip beforehand, but couldn't. I hoped this would've made up for that.

When we got out, the sun began to set. We had little time to make it to our last stop: another book store, but this time one featuring traded-in stuff. So you never knew what you'd find inside. Needless to say, I found a couple of interesting finds. There were a lot of manga that were out of circulation for years, like Rose Hip Zero, which I always enjoyed reading and wanted to some day own.

Upstairs, there quite a few cartridges for vintage videogame consoles. There were even peripherals like the Super Scope, and the Zapper. Next to that section was the one where I would've like to spend my time: The music CD's. I didn't get much time to browse around, but I had found a few astonishing finds, like the entirety of Ai Otsuka's Discography, and even some of the old DBZ soundtracks...

I'd like to come back. Well, I could say that for the majority of the places I'd been, but I like places like this the best since it offers parts of both present and past.

With enough time killed, it was time to wait to get into the movie. The line wrapped around the corridors, and the wait was painful. Not because we had to stand or anything, but because the dude in front of us was this ugly unwashed gargantuan geek. He offended all five of the senses: He looked bad, he smelled so bad you could practically taste the air around him, his skin looked incredibly greasy and sweaty, and his 3DS was emitting the enticing sounds of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.


We killed time by checking out that which we had purchased. Well, more like THEY. I ended up having to run around the theatre to find a bathroom, which in itself was a long arduous trip that rivaled the one we were on that day. I almost didn't make it.


Once I got back, I figured I'd finish the set I was working on in DJMAX P2. Eventually, my friend got the urge to check out my PSP. Once he saw the titles I had available, he flipped when he saw I had RockMan 8 on there. He DID have a ton of attatchment to the US version. We both did. It was one of the games that we spent our childhoods on, forever wondering why MegaMan sounded like a girl, or why nobody ever told us Bass wasn't a fish.

He loaded up my savefile, and tried to clear the one stage he'd been meaning to clear for years: the first level of Wily's tower.

Access denied. Just in time for the previews.

The movie itself was fantastic, save for the fact that I almost blew out my ears from the iMAX goodness. Seriously, how can people watch movies like this...? I was gonna go deaf from the billions of decibels!

Now that we'd accomplished everything we intended to do that day it was time to go home... at least, that was the plan.

We ended up missing the train.

The last train home.

We would have to wait until 5 in the morning.


We ended up wandering the city for hours before we crashed at a KFC. We would've taken the tables at McDonald's, but it was already taken.


Eventually, we settled in the waiting area at the station. At least there were chairs. From there it was only a matter of time... a matter of time before all the grease killed us. One of us probably had enough gas to just fly home.

Eventually, the 1st train arrived, and the city-side half of our friends departed. Soon, our train arrived and we left as well. It wasn't long before we were back in the truck, my friend was driven home, and I pulled into the driveway as the sun rose above the roof of my house.

I quietly opened the door, quietly closed it behind me, and quietly closed my eyes as I lay in my bed.


Side-note: If you'd like to see some of the stuff I got, you can see some purdy pictures here.

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