Suberidai – 滑り台

One of the things I love most about living abroad is the little surprises that I run into on a regular basis. A few weekends ago I went to Nagoya to catch up with some old friends, and one of my friends there brought me to a giant 滑り台 (suberidai) somewhere in Gifu.

This is a 立派な滑り台。Can you believe the size of this thing? It’s freakin nuts…

The slide works on metal rollers. The rollers reminded me of the portable transportation sleds that are used for moving cardboard boxes and empty lunch trays… It kinda makes you feel like a piece of meat when riding…
However, they make for a very fast ride.

There are mats available at the park for people using the slide. Without the mats, the slide with bake your rear as you descend. The thing is -so- fast. Once you get going there is no hope of stopping until you get to the bottom… really.

After talking to some friends I learned that slides like this are pretty common in Japanese parks actually. I would have loved to ride one of these when I was a kid in the states. I wonder why we don’t have any? Or… maybe we do and we just don’t have any in Iowa…

Anyway. Good stuff. If you’re in Japan, ask around until you can find a kiddo park and crash the suberi-dai. Great fun not to be missed.

Free too.

-Harvey

My precious…

Your precious time…

I find this hilarious. A game center near my friends house in Gifu has this message written on the building.

“Don’t just sit there and waste your precious time.”

It’s on a game center… an arcade…

Is that funny? Or is it just me?

-Harvey

ちゃぶ台返し

Chabudai-Gaeshi.

Chabudai-Gaeshi literally means… turn over the chabudai. The Chabudai is the small round Japanese table that people sit at… or used to sit at… in the traditional Japanese home.

Traditional…. Japanese…. Chabudai!

Since you sit down on the floor at the chabudai, it is easy to get your hands under it, and stand up forcefully flipping the entire thing over.

A situation in which Cyabudai-gaeshi is commonly used is the following…

Salary man comes home from a hard day at work. He sits down at the chabudai and utters “gohan”. His wife scuttles in and gives him his rice/miso/fish combo dinner.

The salary man then takes one sip of the miso….

「ちゃぶ台返し!」 (うん、口に出して言うんだ。)

Bam! Food flying everywhere! Table UPSIDE-DOWN. Chaos.

I heard that the phrase ちゃぶ台返し was made famous through the cartoon, Chibi-maruko.

I haven’t tried this out myself yet… but here is a Cyabudai Gaeshi Game where you can practice flipping over the chabudai.

The text on the page says…

Original: “ちゃぶ台をひっくり返します。ただそれだけです。ただそれだけですが、現実にはなかなかできないことです。”

Harvey訳: “Flip over the chabudai. That’s it. That’s it, but this is something you can’t do in reality often…”

Someone give this a shot and tell me how it is.

-Harvey

Misdo

Mister Donut in Japan!

Yeah. It’s everywhere… I’m in Mister Donut right now… Studying French…

Mister Donut is the kind of place in Japan where you can go, order a donut and coffee… and stay forever.

Why?

Cause the coffee is free refills. ‘お変わり自由’

In Japan. Things are expensive. So whenever you get ‘free’ anything, you tend to want to get your monies worth.

I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I have had 5 cups of coffee in like 20 minutes… I can feel it. I feel… anxious…

Some people like to collect Mister Donut coupons.

What the heck? There’s no wireless lans in here… I don’t think so anyway.

They’re everywhere…

-Harvey

Roppongi

This Friday night I went ‘clubbing’ in Roppongi 六本木 for the first time.

Roppongi is famous in Tokyo for having a high concentration of foreigners. It is to the point that as a foreigner living in Tokyo if you mention that you are going out on the town, people will just assume you mean Roppongi. Roppongi also has a reputation of being shady, dirty, and a little bit dangerous.

My friends and I intended to go to Velfarre when we went to Roppongi. According to my guide book, Velfarre is the largest disco in Tokyo, ah, make that the largest disco in Asia. That’s pretty impressive. Apparently there is room for some 2,000 guests, and has automated moving dance floors. It costs about 3,000 yen to get in, and on the front of the place there was a sign specifying the rights that Velfarre has in regards to entry.

I should have taken a picture, but one of the restrictions was that Velfarre has the right to refuse entry, if you look ‘gang -like’.

Looking gang-like is awesome.

Another point was that you could be refused entry if the staff did not feel that you would fit in with the rest of the guests, or something to that effect. I forgot the exact wording.

We ended up not going to Velfarre, not because of the funny rules, but just because we weren’t planning on staying out -all- night, and 3000 yen is pretty expensive!

We turned to my guide book to find a cheaper place, and a nearby club called ‘Soul Kiss’ turned out to have free entry! Rock on! It turns out the club name has since been changed to ‘Big’ or something. We headed over, were leaded down some shady escalator into a room with phat beats, lots of drinks, and like, 2 guests inside. The place was empty! We left in a hurry. The bartender offered us free drinks on the way out to try to get us to stay. I felt sorry for them. For a second.

Finally, we ended up at a place called 911 I believe, that also had free entry, but was packed. There was Animal Planet on the TV, and everything from Chemical Brothers to that old ‘Pretty Fly for a White Guy’ song being played. Seriously, there must have been 200 people in the place, with about 70% foreigners. Big guys too. Maybe Roppongi is popular among people in the military?

You know what I mean. You go to a club in the middle of the freakin-winter, and there are huge, ripped, muscular guys in t-shirts standing around drinking and trying to pick up chicks. This ‘picking-up-of-chicks’ is the ‘nampa’ that I previously mentioned. I’ll write more about that later.

Anyway. This little journal entry has gotten way out of hand. Next time I’ll try to focus on what I want to say before I start dribbling all over the keyboard.

Roppongi has a lot of foreigners. Roppongi clubs are plentiful. Roppongi ain’t all that bad.

-Harvey