The Cathedral of Commerce

I got home Wednesday night, so this is a recap of the Wednesday that went on for 48 hours…. my jetlag is pretty much over already.

Wednesday morning part 1: Before checking out of the hotel, I bought a Japanese yukata, a night robe that was quite comfortable. We went to several 105 Yen stores (the equivilent to our 99 cent stores) in the Shinjuku area, including Don Quiote and US Mart. Then we went to the flagship store of Mitsukoshi at Nihonbashi. Nihonbashi is a bridge that is the Columbus Circle of Tokyo: all distances from Tokyo are measured from here.

Mitsukoshi is literally the Cathedral of Commerce. There is a circa 1930 Wurlitzer organ that they play daily at the opening and at other times including noon, when we attended. A 4 storey statute of the Goddess of Sincerity stands directly in front of the organ in the main atrium. Three floors of fabulous food sits below ground, while floors above include an operating 500 seat theatre where they give cultural performances, an art gallery that rivals any major modern art museum, and an outdoor rooftop square which contains three Shinto shrines.

We indecisively chose two items of the millions of Japanese foods in the food hall, and then made the mad dash back to the hotel and to the airport. We made a bad choice of connection between subways (just say that it was the equivilent of getting off at Grand Central and deciding to walk to Port Authority) and then had a hard time finding the right exit out of Shinjuku station (which is Grand Central, Penn Station and Port Authority all rolled into one). We had missed two trains to the airport in the lost time, and came close to a third waiting in the ticket office, but instead I managed to get the ticket dispensing machine to work and we got on board in time for the hour long train ride back to the airport. Going through security and customs was very efficient, and we made it with 20 minutes to spare.

I spent most of the time on the plane asleep, twisting and turning. The attendant was actually on our flight inbound, and she was like one of those theater matrons that are attentive in a zany manner. We made it back technically one hour before we left.

I’m missing blogging for two days, the last day in Kyoto, which I will be calling “the path to enlightenment”, and the day in Taiwan, which I haven’t figured out what to call yet. Mucho work these next few days….


Cookie Monster’s going healthy. I don’t think it’s entirely implausible; Cookie just eats too much cookies. Besides, I’m sure he’d love the Snackwell cookies and other healthy/ier stuff.

Dale Messick, the creator of the “Brenda Starr” comic strip, has passed away. Fascinating story about a woman cartoonist in an cartoonist age/industry predominantly male. Personally, I think Brenda Starr doesn’t have the edge she used to have with her adventures. These days, while she seems more credible as a journalist, she’s not as glamorous as she used to be. And, I liked the Brenda comics more when the angst was there – whenever Brenda’s torn between a man and the situation or love and work or whatever. A few years ago, she almost got her long missing daughter back (but then that storyline ended) – I thought it was interesting that Brenda’s aging (at least to an extent – she keeps moaning about her age and her daughter did become a snotty teenager). But, there’s too much odd satire (like this latest appearance of a talking head who seemed like Bill O’Reilly on FOX, or the appearance of the President). Plus, I think longtime Starr readers are just waiting for the return of the love of Brenda’s life, the mysterious Basil St. John (the incredibly handsome man with the eye patch). Oh well.

The current Doonesbury comic strip storyline is amusing yet curious. Mike Doonesbury’s daughter, Alex – a bright left-leaning teenager – is apparently thinking about joining the army. To clean up the President’s mess, get money for college, and travel. Hmm. Priceless moment – wherein Alex tell her pop and her stepmom that she’s thinking about joining the army; and Mike and Kim stare at her with their gaping mouths, and remain staring with their gaping mouths even though Alex has left the room. A Doonesbury moment indeed.

Friday, Friday, Friday…