Gundam, Karaoke, and the Fighting Irish

Well, another exciting weekend worthy of being my last one here....

Friday night Kelly and I finally went to see the widely-publicized big Gundam statue in Odaiba (basically part of Tokyo). The whole area was set up like a fairground, with little stalls selling something or other but they were closing as we arrived. And the statue itself was pretty big, though Kelly admitted she thought it was going to be skyscraper-sized. And we accidentally got there at some point in the night where the statue moves as inappropriately heartsick music plays in the background. It was definitely worth the incredibly short (15 minute) trip from Shimbashi and even the ride over ended up being on the Yurikamome monorail, which hugs Tokyo Bay and has some great views.

He controls the weather.

From Daiba, we hopped back on the train and headed for Shibuya, where we met up with Gen, Ren, Megan, Kirk, and Kirk's friends outside Yajima's. We did a couple of hours of karaoke, during which Michiyo arrived, and then Michiyo, Ren, Megan and I headed to a club called Atom. Inside the club, there were hairdressers doing girls hair. I initially got in line with Michiyo and Megan to talk with them while they waited but I was soon asked to leave the line before I got any delusions that guys could get there hair done. My hair's so long now it might've been a good idea. There was also purikura (Japanese photo booth), but all-in-all it's not the best club.

Saturday I met Michiyo, Megan and Ry at the Notre Dame Japan Bowl at the Tokyo Dome. Notre Dame alumni played the Japanese national [American] football team, which I didn't realize existed until I heard about the game. At the tailgate, we chowed down on some good burgers and brats and Michiyo and I laughed at each other uncontrollably.  At one point Michiyo gave me the backhanded compliment of the century: "Johnny, I'm actually going to miss you.  I didn't think I would..."  Despite the shocking blow to my self-confidence, we then headed into the game around 4, just in time for kick-off. Michiyo had her iPhone out with Wikipedia's "Football Rules" page open, but like a lot of sporting events we weren't paying attention to the game all that much.  Notre Dame won 19-3.

Our future companions.

After the game Megan, Michiyo, Peter and I all went on the Thunder Dolphin roller coaster outside the Tokyo Dome. It was actually pretty darn good and scary. In the States, I usually have no fear about coasters, but this one just seemed unsafe. The harness only came up on your waist instead of the over-the-shoulders kind that you usually find in America. So the whole time I kind of felt like I was holding myself in the seat. Totally unnerving, but probably more fun because of it. There's also one point where the track goes through a hole in a building (of course Tokyo's gonna be so f'ing crowded that the roller coasters need to poke holes in the real estate) and I freaked out; cried for Mommy; and then screamed, "THUNDER DOLPHIN!"

The scary hole.

Then we had some food at Bubba Gump and headed for Roppongi.

At some point on our journey, Michiyo realized she had lost her cellphone, so Megan and I decided to sing a song about it as we backtracked to find it at the station:

To the tune of Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" "I got a feeling... / That Michiyo's gonna find her ketai / That Michiyo's gonna find her ketai/ That Michiyo's gonna find her ke-ketaiiiiiiiii.... / Get on the train! / It's time to go! / Right to Roppongi! / Ikimashou!"

We met up with Kirk, Ry, Shawn, and the Notre Dame players at Hubb in Roppongi and later made our way to Feria. Outside I turned to Michiyo and said, "Michiyo, today can't get any better.  I saw football in Japan, and now we're at Feria!"  Then we both devolved into the nonsensical laughing fits we had had at the tailgate.  The Notre Dame guys didn't feel like paying the cover charge so we picked up provisions at Family Mart and headed to the Ritz, where they were staying. We sat in the lobby for a bit, but then Michiyo and Ry headed to Ry's room and Megan and I went to a couple of the players' room and ended up sitting and watching the replay of the game with the guys. Very surreal. It sucks that I'm leaving Japan right when I started to get important. Haha.

At some point, the whole idea that we were chilling with the guys we had just paid to watch play football got to be too much, and Megan and I decided to leave the Ritz and head back out towards Hubb. We ran into Mariko and I said goodbye and then we ran into Megan's friend S.J. Then Michiyo met us at Hubb and we sat exhausted, as they waited for their first trains.

All in all a surreal, jam-packed, exhausting finale.