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Hello again, Tokyo

First day in Tokyo (2013 edition) went well. The new hotel we’re trying out is well located near Shinjuku station and roomier than the last place I occupied in Ginza — also a single room, although this one could be a double.

We tried to eat at the Go Go Curry branch we loved near the West exit of the station, but it was closed for renovations or something. Ended up eating a substitute beef curry rice in the basement of the Odakyu department store, I think. Good, but not the same.

The next couple of hours were spent walking in circles trying to get our bearings and cross the sprawling station over to the East side, and then trying to understand all the back lanes that have changed. When you use transient shops as mental landmarks, you risk disorientation. The same happens in Singapore.

Finding a place to have a beer wasn’t easy; many of them were fully packed and had to turn us away. We ended up in an English pub that was having a 50% off celebration day (complete with handwritten ‘thank you for coming to celebrate Hub Day’ cards upon leaving), just as crowded as the rest, and standing room only. Tiring, but fun.

Afterwards, on the walk back to the hotel, we saw amateur acts performing on the streets, hawking self-burnt CDs and having a good time. Great to see unsigned musicians out there and going at it. This doesn’t really happen back home. Is it because they need licenses and those aren’t easy to get? I don’t know.

Along the way we discovered two things. Another Go Go Curry branch that is now second on our to-do lists after sushi tomorrow, and an awesome iPhone accessory shop called AppBank. It has tons of high quality cases and decorative add-ons, and upstairs, a large section devoted to LINE merchandise, alongside Puzzle & Dragons books, figurines, collectibles, etc. and also a Tokyo Otaku Mode corner.

The brand power that LINE and P&D have amassed here is extraordinary. A chat app that has convinced me and many I know to part with tens of dollars for non-essential in-app purchases (imagine then, how much Japanese users must spend), and a single mobile game that currently makes $5M a day in revenue from IAP.

On this trip, I’m trying to shoot more video in addition to photos. I’ll have to see about editing something together to remember this trip by at the end of it (we’re celebrating my cousin’s upcoming wedding), but in the meantime, Qwiki has pivoted from a knowledge tool into an app that automatically assembles clips for you, and it’s done an ok job of the first day.

I also did another Family Mart snack run video rundown, because the only video I made the last trip down here was one where I talked to the camera about the stuff I’d bought, and it was fun.

Sent from my iPhone

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