3 in 30 - 2001.03.10 Saturday
This week it was a need for postage stamps that took me down to the post office. (Last episode two weeks ago.) This is the end of the neighborhood closer to the Akishima train station. Down there is the post office, the children's hospital and Itouyokado (the Bird Store).
There are also gaming and entertainment establishments. Here is a huge billboard advertising Sun Plaza Pachinko. We see this billboard from the train and know that our stop is coming up soon.
The theme of this one is obviously trains from the late 1800s. The lights at the entrance gate look like they would appropriately belong in the gaslight era.
Almost next door (except for a parking lot between them) is a brand new brightly colored AG SQUARE. The bottom floor seems to be a parking area and a small coffee and cake shop, while the second and third floor are games. The top floor is at least half filled with pachinko games.
Both of these buildings are basically large warehouse type structures of undistinguished design with a false front or a coat of paint. They remind me of the casinos in the US state of Nevada. The first time I walked through a gambling casino in Nevada, it was all I could do to keep from laughing at how silly and superficial everything looked. And how serious the patrons were.
I have yet to enter a pachinko parlor, but I'm sure my reaction would be the same. On the other hand, if they have pinball games, there is something to get serious about. Ha.
Across the street is this somewhat traditional looking Japanese restaurant called Yumeon. I cannot locate the particular kanji for "on", but the yume means dream. It is a medium priced family restaurant with a special Japanese ambience. One section has low tables and you sit on the floor, while the other section has tables and benches with space underneath where westerners can stretch out their legs.
The food is varied, from sushi, noodle soups to steamed rice with vegetables or tempura. It is a good local place to take visitors.
Beverly and I returned here in the evening for dinner. She and I shared a bowl of udon noodle soup. She had some tuna and rice and I had some steamed crab legs. For desert, we each had a scoop of green tea ice cream. We don't go here often enough for the staff to know who we are, so they are always a little hesitant, wondering if we know what we are doing, can we eat the food? Can we use chopsticks? Will we do something foolish? We haven't embarrassed ourselves yet.