Sea Critters (Japan #11)

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Any true adventurer must be daring in the face of danger, and face the imminent threat of tsunamis and flying rats to bring forward to his readers the material that life is made of.

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The day started on a rather high note, going up to the 31st floor of a building in Sendai near Parco, to take in a (free) view of the city. PS: the floor only opens after 10:30 AM.

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From up above the cloudy tops, a unique spectacle was unveiling itself in front of us: the mating ritual of the Giant Metal Snakes (Shinkansenus Japanesus). We stood silent, in fear that our presence might scare the creatures away as they slid into the horizon.

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Feeling in quite the pirate mood – to loot and to boot and to root – it was time to visit the coastline and go round to Matsushima (松島): supposedly on of the 3 Great views of Japan.

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Getting there: just board a train from Sendai to Matsushimakaigan. That is the station next to the sea. Pay attention that there is another station called Matsushima, but this one is about 10-20 minutes away from the area you’re trying to visit. One way ticket is about 400 円.

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Crossing the bridge (costs) puts you face to face with the dreaded flying sea rats (Mortalis aviatus), with their yells and attempts to steal anything edible you might have in your possession.

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Seagull thoughts: “Dafuq”.

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They seem to be attracted more to stupidity than food then, so they left us alone and bothered some Japanese guys that started screaming and running around. We made our way inwards, closer to the forbidden treasure of the island.

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Ioana looked at the sunken boat, that carried with it the hopes and dreams of other pirates, crushed by the ruthless island and the winged guardians protecting its treasures. When others before us had failed, would we be able to make it out alive?

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The situation was getting dire as Ioana slipped into a caffeine induced nervous breakdown.

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Everything was rather quiet within the island, the occasional native passing by and saying that we are very beautiful but that he doesn’t know how to talk to us to another native (this legit happened). Then, under the mental pressure of being lonely, my companion devolved into a primitive sexual dance, unaware she was being watched by prying eyes.

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It was time to leave such treasures behind and return to the mainland, where a temple was awaiting exploration.

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Getting stared at sure gets you hungry, and more temples were awaiting away from the bay (tho some of them charged to go inside and we were being poor). There was the occasional snack (like the one in the picture), which is basically a gigantic crispy batter thing dipped in soy sauce.

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There was a constant disappointment of no coffers of gold to be stolen, no villages to be burned and no women to be captured (why would I want to rape women? Like, that would be unpleasant for the both of us).

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Meanwhile, back in Sendai I had found another manga shop, and stopped in the yaoi section! ( boy x boy love). I did get some weird looks (in Japan it’s generally something oriented at girls), but I had to decide on which one to buy.

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Manga is also very cheap here. One volume can be bough for anything from 100円 to maybe 800円, but in Europe you can barely find volumes cheaper than 10€. Not that I understand anything cause my Japanese is so bad, but it is a good way to get motivated.

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Arcade time! So many things to play, but, more importantly, there was something very peculiar happening in arcades. Let’s move towards the StepMania section. For the laymen, stepMania (or Dance Dance Revolution) is a game that plays a song and with the song you have to press certain tiles at the right time (up, down, left, right). You can have different speeds to it, and some of these kids were playing at absolutely inhuman ones. They feet were moving so fast I doubt the information had time to properly set in their brain.

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Sure, they come here everyday and actually play the same song so many times they practically memorise the steps, but it’s fascinating to see the capacity the human brain has to deal with information, they came prepared with towels and everything. And yet, this wasnt the peculiar thing.

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There were two machines there for two players each. At one point, at one of them a girl notices that the Down step isn’t as sensitive as it should be. Some other kids come and keep pressing it for about 5 minutes, then they take screwdrivers from their bags and start opening up the machine. They start doing the same thing with the other one and they START REPAIRING the arcade machines. An employer came, looked at them for a while, then left them be. They then continued to produce all sorts of materials from their bags (which were a sort of prime materials) to fix the steps. It was highly bizarre.

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More Japan

This post is part of a (fantastic, amazing, life-changing) series:

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