Ask anyone at the Gumyoji dorms back in 2012-2013 about Piago, and you’d surprisingly be met with a breadth of opinion: it’s a pretty good supermarket; the 100-yen Seria store on the top is the best; it’s okay but I like to swing by Gyoumu Super in Isezaki-cho since you get a lot more for your money; the theme song is really, really annoying and I normally try to finish my shopping there before it starts playing again; and so on, and so forth.

Zoom forward about five years since our first visits to the neighborhood supermarket, and much to the chagrin of the collective nostalgia of the ol’ Gumyoji gang, the Piago of Gumyoji is now gone (including the Seria on 3F), as of the 15th of October. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the old building, but if it’s like the other Piago that used to stand in Isezaki-cho up until 2015, it’s probably gonna be taken down and replaced with something a bit more new. Thankfully, there’s a new Yokohamaya supermarket that replaced a different building down the Kannon-dori, so it’s not like the guys living at the dorms this year have to trudge up the hill to the next closest supermarket Aoba.

In any case, thanks for the food and memories, Piago, and thanks to fellow dormmate C.M. for letting me know about its closure. ◆

I Promised You A Yakiniku Post

…but I ate all of it. Sorry. Next time, for sure.

I do highly recommend going to all-you-can-eat yakiniku at least once, though, if you enjoy eating meat. It’s quite nice. The place I’d visited was quite cheap, too: 2,000 yen, and another 360 yen for all-you-can-soft-drink.

Oh, and if anything’s going to get me to get used to munching on cartilage (referred to as “hormone” in Japanese — I don’t know why!)…it’s probably Japan. I’d already gotten used to munching on salted grilled beef tongue back home at Korean barbecue places, but…yeah, I guess I’m now leveling up my Asian food…sensibility. I guess.

I think I definitely won’t get used to liver, though — the texture and aftertaste just doesn’t sit well with me at present. ◆

Last Train Out of Kamiooka

Yesterday was a Friday; normally, I have classes on Fridays, but this Friday was a public holiday known as Labor Thanksgiving Day — to give thanks to each other for…working, I guess. In the old days, it was a harvest festival…I guess they needed an equivalent for the modern age.

In any case, for whatever reason, the gaming arcade I frequent in Kamiooka one stop down decided it’d hold a no-strings-attached free-to-play weekend on music games; people who know me well back home (and are reading this, right? 😉 ) know I love me some music games. The machines were to be set on free play from 9 to 12 both in the morning and in the evening; I was there for both of them, unlocking as much as I could on jubeat saucer, waiting in lines of up to sixteen people.

After squeezing in a four-song game of DrumMania XG3 to finish off my session night once jubeat had stopped accepting new players¹, I headed back, amidst an Japanese-and-English-language track telling people that the store was closing, to Kamiooka Station. There, I waited for the last train back home.

The vast majority of the trains on the municipal subway’s Blue Line go in one of two directions: to Azamino in the north, or to Shonandai in the south. This one, normally bound for Azamino, read that it was stopping at Nippa, some six stops shy of the Blue Line’s true endpoint, but home to the subway’s northern trainyard. I’d seen this before, but I’d never taken a Nippa-bound train. Inside the train was also sort of eerie: the recorded announcements that played and the scrolling text displays had nothing to say of Azamino. It’s not really a huge deal, mind — the train stopped and I got off at my station just fine — but it…still definitely felt a bit odd taking the last train out of Kamiooka.

And now I can say I’ve taken both the first train out of anywhere², and the last train out of anywhere, each for the first times in my life. ◆

1: Arcade machines have recently employed something called the Shop Close setting, which locks down the machine past a certain time; it’s very handy for gently getting people out of a given shop. Sort of nifty, actually.
2: I took the first train out of Yokohama after my first all-night karaoke session, which I still have yet to write about.