It would seem that in lieu of home visits, our home teacher has decided to take us around Southern California to the various Japanese bookstores and marketplaces. We're okay with that. And the point is, that's what we did today. Tadah!
It started with a trip to Book Off!--I don't know exactly how it went down, but only in the last few days or less, our home teacher discovered that there's a Book Off! in a nearby mall. Since it was conveniently located on the way to everywhere else we were going, we decided to check it out. And it was kind of like a Twilight Zone Book Off!, because there were no Japanese books or DVDs or anything! Not that I would know what a "normal" Book Off! is like, having only been to one previously, and in fact, I think the lack of Japanese entertainment probably comes from an attempt to not make it seem like the Twilight Zone for people who don't go seeking out Japanese bookstores, since this particular one was in a regular English-speaking mall (although it was next to a store that had Tokyo in the name, according to the directory). Of course, none of us were interested in regular old American entertainment, so we left.
Next, we went to a different Mitsuwa marketplace than last time, where we bought more Japanese chocolates. We saw one interesting chocolate idea, called Hore-Hore Chocolate, which I'm going to translate to Excavation Chocolate. It's a little plastic tray full of chocolate, probably of the softer variety, because you can dig into the chocolate...and find gummy treasures! It's a really cool idea, but we didn't buy any because we prefer not to have our chocolate interrupted by gummies. The textures just aren't compatible in our minds (although when we explained that to our home teacher, he objected and pointed out "choco-gummies," made by the same company, which he says are delicious).
This Mitsuwa had a bookstore, too...which seemed to be going out of business or something. A big chunk of their manga shelves were just empty! Our home teacher informed us that anything with a red circle sticker on it was on sale for 80% off (either he knew from experience, or he was reading the signs--I didn't read the signs because I was too busy reading book spines), and almost everything we picked up had a red sticker on it! But we got some pretty cool stuff. They happened to have volumes six and seven of Soul Eater, which is right where we left off buying it, so we bought those, and then we found the section where they had what looked like reference material for high schoolers, or educational books meant to make the "boring" stuff seem interesting. They had a copy of the book we have on the Hyakunin Isshu, along with a few more in the same series. We got the one about the Kojiki, in the hopes that it will have information on stuff that may or may not come up in Noragami. They also had a Japanese book of Walt Disney quotes, or at least that's what it seemed like based on the title, so we got that because we had to. One book they had that we didn't get was "Jitsu wa Omoshirokatta Heike-Monogatari," which translates roughly to, "Who knew the Tale of the Heike was actually interesting!"
We found another book on the Kojiki that had an interesting title, so in all, we bought five books, and we spent less than ten dollars on them! It was amazing!
Next, we went to a Japanese video game store, because for some reason we had mentioned to Home Teacher that we were kind of looking for Brave Fencer Musashi 2, and we know we can get it on Amazon, but we're still sort of hesitant to buy from them because of the Hachette Book Group thing. So now we were at this Japanese video game store, even though Brave Fencer Musashi isn't real high on our game priority list (until we remember that the character designs are by Tetsuya Nomura and it has twins). We looked through everything and didn't find it, so we were ready to go, but our home teacher had to be all proactive and say, "Why don't you ask the guy here if they have it?" Ooookay, fine, I'll ask. So I asked, and I could tell the guy there wasn't really comfortable speaking English, and yet I insisted on not speaking Japanese anyway. I think my main reason was that I couldn't remember the Japanese title of the game, which upon later reflection, I think I remembered was just Musashiden. D'oh.
After that, I felt bad, because it wasn't like I didn't know how to say what I wanted to say, so I should have just used the opportunity to practice speaking Japanese. So now I'm forcing myself to write about it here as a reminder to use your Japanese next time, darnit!
Then we went to a real Book Off!, where we bought a Japanese DVD of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, because...it's a weird thing. See, the second Koe no Ouji-sama CD has Heigh Ho on it, and whenever we pay attention to the lyrics, we keep thinking, "This sounds like Whistle While You Work, not Heigh Ho." We tried Googling the Japanese lyrics to Heigh Ho and got the same results. We tried Googling the Japanese lyrics to Whistle While You Work and got nothing. So we've had it in the back of our minds to get a hold of a Japanese dub of Snow White and see what the deal is. They happened to have two copies of it at Book Off!, so we figured we might as well try it out. We're not sure it's going to help much, though, because both versions they had there had a little disclaimer on the back about how supposedly this movie is in the public domain in Japan, so they took it and gave it a new translation. At least we know what the lyrics to either Heigh Ho or Whistle While You Work are supposed to be, so if the lyrics don't match at all, we'll know we'll have to try again. Still, the DVD didn't cost much, so we figured we might as well take the risk.
We also got a Neo Romance event DVD, which prompted a brief discussion between myself and the cashier, who is also a Neo Romance fan. Unfortunately, this event was specifically all Angelique, and I don't have an immediate favorite for Angelique, so when she asked, I couldn't answer. Then I thought about it and said, "Probably Hyuga." And she was like, "Oh, Ono D!" and I was like, "Yeah." He does do a great job on the third Koe no Ouji-sama CD. And Hyuga is pretty awesome. And the songs for Kamigami no Asobi. Wow.
Finally, there was another Marukai near the Book Off!, which, somehow, our home teacher had never been to before. ...Wait, Athena's reminding me that before the real Book Off1, we went to a different Marukai. It was really cool, because it had a second floor full of Japanese home decor stuff. But anyway, Home Teacher hadn't been to this one near Book Off!, and he wanted to check it out, so we did! And the significance of that is that it happened well after lunch time, so we were all hungry. Athena and I were in what we tend to call "convention mode," which means we can push ourselves for hours without food, either because reasonably priced food is scarce in convention centers, because at Disneyland it's always hard to say "hey, why don't you guys stop everything you're doing so we can eat?" (we're content to wait for them to get hungry and suggest it themselves), or because we really really hate eating in front of people that we haven't known for very long.
The point is, we were all hungry, but most importantly, Home Teacher was hungry, so we decided to buy things to eat. We explained that we were content to wait until we got home to eat, which is probably how we got away with buying a couple of pastries instead of "real food." (He bought some meat buns.) There was a food place (it was all kind of like a food court) called Beard Papa's, which was pretty much a cream puff stand. Apparently, it sells different flavored cream puffs on different days of the week. On Thursday, the flavor of the day is chocolate! So we each got a chocolate cream puff. After we ordered, the guy there picked up two pastries, and pulled out a contraption that I guess is where all the cream is kept, because he used it to fill the cream puffs on the spot! It was pretty neat. We ate them when we got home, and they were really good, but I ate mine too fast, because I don't know how to eat cream puffs without the cream spilling out everywhere, so eating fast was my failed attempt at minimizing the damage. We'll have to do better next time.
And now we still have some work to do before we can call it a day.
Today I'm thankful for Beard Papa's, yummy chocolate cream puffs, getting to go on an epic adventure, having interesting-sounding Japanese reference material (that we may or may not ever find time to read), and having more Soul Eater manga.