Random Observation/Comment #71: Wandering a random city is sometimes more fun than actually knowing where you’re going. You did good, camera (. . )>.
In my vacation sleeping mode, I usually require at least 8 hours to be functional (Cooper sleeping habits averaged 4 hours a night). Therefore, sleeping at 4AM and waking at 11AM was just at the cusp of my awake-ness threshold. All I wanted to do was watch some Judo on the Olympics and lay on that comforter for a few more hours. I’m not sure whether I should use “I’m on vacation” as an excuse to do whatever I want, or as a motivation to make the most out of it by waking up and doing more things. My camera usually makes me do the latter. Driven by this disease, I stumbled out of bed and started roaming around the city like a zombie.
There was no agenda or even a map to tell me and RJ where the main attractions were. We basically walked following the trolley lines to reach the port area. The harbor was filled with large private boats and also acted as a field for the park next to the museum. I can’t even imagine how many soccer balls, Frisbees, and childhood enthusiasms are lost in those waters. What a buzz kill. Nice job, Billy. Why don’t you show off your swimming skills by jumping into the water?
The view from Glover garden gave me an approximate orientation of the city and drew so many questions about interesting building architectures. I still didn’t figure out what that over-sized ping pong ball was doing sitting on that green thing. From afar, it looked like a parking lot with an unnecessary aesthetic design. We went closer and it still looked like it served no purpose. Next to this useless monument was a little mall. I was tempted to buy a soccer ball so I could practice juggling (urban soccer) in the last month of traveling. Unfortunately, soccer balls average $50 there for not even a very high quality one. The balls themselves also looked smaller and were made out of a weird material (Dayum, everything in Japan is smaller).
The mall reminded me of every single Long Island mall I’ve been to. It was the same design and had the same look and feel. The only difference was the bystanders and eye candy. Like in all good malls, there was an entire floor devoted to arcades, casinos, and those arm catching games (otherwise known as, “complete rip-offs”). RJ was oddly hooked on wasting money on these machines. It was as if spending more money would probabilistically help his chances of obtaining the object (yes you’re increasing the number of chances you get, but it doesn’t increase two fold. It’s not like the machine starts to feel bad for you and grab a little harder.).
There was a constant switch between two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back and one-step-forward-and-two-steps-back, which means that on average, he went nowhere (“Where you goin’? Nowhere.”). I gave him a blank stare as he continuously put more money into that machine. I wonder how many meals I could have weaseled if I had just taken his offer and played a few games with his money? I feel like I could have completely taken advantage of a naïve teenager. Luckily for him, my conscience suggested this far-fetched idea of cost benefit analysis. Even if you just take money over time as a simple rule (ie. how much money have I spent this hour? And, how much usefulness was it compared to the last hour?), the arm game just doesn’t make any sense.
Although, if I didn’t see RJ toss away at least $100 the entire trip on these games, I wouldn’t have been able to see the little tricks they use for every machine to insure that they wouldn’t lose too much money, while still keeping it seem like you’re going somewhere. The normal boring arm catchers in America have a weaker grasp and thick glass to augment the depth perception. Although this trick is also used in Japan, the creativity of the game is much more impressive. For example, there are many games where the arm does not grab, but instead, it is used to kick a ring sideways off a little hook. Or, you have to arrange a little stick so that it enters right in the middle of an opening. Sometimes the materials they use to wrap the edges of a toy are very frictional, and you just see the arm’s strength cower in defeat.
There are so many traps that made me think, “Wow, maybe I can get that.” Of course, my frugal tendencies just made me hover around and watch some other sucker try it. After seeing someone throw away so much money in such a short period of time, I concluded that this prize grabbing game is more addictive than the slot and pachinko machines. The taunting little doll, action figure, or candy is just staring at you and screeching, “Please save me from this glass box! Look at me, so cute and fluffy. I’m so close to escaping, you just need to give me a small push. Save me and I’ll always be yours. I’ll do anything you want. I have a pleasure mode.” It’s okay, man. The first step is admitting that you have a problem.
~See Lemons Stay Away From Dolls