Oniko's Travel Diary:|
The Three Mountains
(August 5-31, 1998)
Wednesday August 12th, 1998
I got up early to walk to the only ATM in Ikebukuro I've found that will accept my American ATM card; I needed the cash to send a box off in the mail. On the way back to the small post office, I stopped by a convenience store and picked up some food and the newest issue of Shonen Weekly Jump -- "Young Boys Weekly Jump" -- to read while I waited for the post office to open... I also bought it so I could display it in my introduction page to this website, by the way.
If I haven't mentioned it before, I'll mention it now... Japanese weekly comics are big. Like phone-book-big. The average nationally distributed weekly manga has around 300 pages and carries about twenty continuing stories at a time. The one I bought, Shonen Weekly Jump -- an extremely popular comic that has been running for at least twenty to twenty-five years -- cost me 280yen... about $2.50 US at current exchange rates! And, considering that the average American comic book comes out monthly and only gives you about 32 pages of story for $2.00, the only real advantage to American comic books is that they are often in color, and Japanese comics often are not.
I think I've found a story I like, also... it's called "One Piece", and is basically a pirates with superpowers story, with lots of gags throughout. I saw a drawing of one of these characters at a book store near the Seibu train station in Hibarigaoka earlier this trip, but didn't know who it was a drawing of. Knowing how many of Japan's manga creators actually live in the Tokyo area, it's quite likely that the drawing I saw at the bookstore was by the actual artist of the comics series; I wonder if he/she lives in Hibarigaoka?
Anyway, after the post office opened, I mailed my first box off and then headed over to "GEO", a used music and games CD store nearby. I had been thinking about it since before I arrived, and didn't want to wait until the end of the trip when my finances would likely be strained... for just around $225 American, I picked up 12 PlayStation games and a Japanese PlayStation unit, then walked back to the post office and got them mailed off to home. What funner way can there be to practice your Japanese than to play games in the language?
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