Open Source Café Tokyo

Today I’m working from Open Source Café, a furnished garage in Shimokitazawa. They have an impressive bookshelf full of geek literature. My coworkers today use a Firefox OS phone and a Beaglebone Black mini computer. Apart from their macbooks and iphones of course. Later today we’ll attend a WordPress event in the adjacent garage (where I worked a couple of weeks ago). The old Mac in the corner is an original 512K.

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Sunday evening in Shinjuku

I think I did okay on JPLT N3, and it would be a shame otherwise considering I wrote the same level exactly one year ago! The sound stopped working in the beginning of the listening test, so after some confusion our test sheets were collected and we were asked to peel off the sticker with our number from the desk. We were then led in exact order into a new classroom with identical desk layout, where we sat down and pasted our sticker on our new desk. And then the test started anew.

Afterwards I had washoku (traditional Japanese food) and beer with Yusuke in Shinjuku. Plus some gaming.

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Yodobashi Shinjuku

Ever since I discovered Yodobashi Akiba back in 2011, it’s been one of my favourite shops. My co-workers told me that the original Yodobashi Camera was the one in Shinjuku, and then they started singing a song starting “Shinjuku Nishiguchi” (Shinjuku west exit). So that’s why they play the Battle Hymn of the Republic on repeat in all Yodobashi shops, a childish instrumental version. Here’s a cute commercial from 1978 where they sing the “Shinjuku Nishiguchi” text:

Today I started my shopping at Tokyu Hands though, so I chose the minamiguchi – south exit. I’ve found that Tokyu Hands has the best selection of cardboard boxes, which I use to send home things. Here’s a shot from the pedestrian bridge over downtown Shinjuku:

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When I left Tokyu Hands they had lit up the Christmas decorations on Takashimaya Times Square:

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Then I walked to the “nishiguchi” area and found my way to Yodobashi:

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Unlike the other Yodobashi stores, which are all huge department store buildings, Yodobashi Shinjuku is spread out over several blocks in the area west of the station. Outside each store they have a big map that lists which buildings and which floors sells what. I was going for the games, so that’s store number 6 on the map. What I particularly like about maps like this one, is the total absence of English.

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And here’s the main entrance of the main store. I guess it was the first one that opened, and that it grew from there. In any other city an area like this would be torn down and one single huge department store would be built in its place, I imagine.

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I think Yodobashi Camera and their main competitor BIC Camera got their names from the most high-tech gadget of the time when the stores were founded: Cameras. And then the names stuck despite the stores are selling all kind of electronics, and other stuff as well, nowadays. (I write “I think”, because I don’t want to google every single thought.)

Tomorrow I’ll write the JLPT N3 test. Unfortunately I’m neither well prepared nor particularly motivated, believe it or not!

Seventh earthquake – magnitude 4.8

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Just when I was going to go to sleep. Epicenter in Chiba-ken Hokuseibu ≈ Tokyo. Only intensity 2 in my area, but felt like 3. Room shaking. I opened the fusuma, the sliding paper doors before the windows, a bit and saw the power lines dangling in the air. I was a bit shocked by the first shake, then sort of cautiously waiting to see how strong it was – a bit like the people cautiously waited in silence at Tendon Tenya last time – and then finally starting to smile while enjoying the rest of the rocking. Earthquakes are so cool! Now sleep.

Info at JMA.