Tokyo - Day 12 IKEBUKURO, Akihabara. Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kirk:

Last full day of our trip. We went back out to Ikebukuro because we realized that the Pokemon Center was there and we missed it the day before. Turns out that it’s just a store. Nothing else. Spotted a new 5-series wagon on the way. Can’t get those in North America.

Elaine:

The Pokemon Centre was so awesome! They had anything and everything Pokemon!

There were so many different themes... only one missing was a hipster Pikachu - which I would have snatched up in a heartbeat!

Kirk:

We went back to the fire safety centre. Unfortunately, the earthquake simulator was down for maintenance, but they were open for training. I didn’t know what to expect. We thought the earthquake simulator would’ve been fun for the kids. But, the centre and the staff definitely maintain a serious tone. They don’t mess around. It was real safety training. Similar how we take CPR classes here.

We started off watching an animated video where school children go back in time and visit the immediate aftermath of major Japanese earthquakes. It was really somber. For example, a survivor girl ran up and told them her family is all dead, and they all need to flee from the resulting fires. I can imagine the deadly seriousness in which Japanese kids take this training. In Vancouver, the kids practice “Drop! Cover! Hold on!”, but I think they all giggle when doing so.

The tourist websites recommended a visit to the centre and said English is fine. However, the guy doing the training didn’t speak much English. He reminded me of Gregory Peck. Just had this captivating air of confidence and seriousness when he spoke. Too bad we couldn’t understand much. He did really well with hand gestures to us though. We did fire extinguisher training, and he took our picture. Kyle was sadly too young. I only took a couple of pics. It wasn’t really the kind of place to whip out the camera and act touristy -- you’re there to learn.

Elaine:

I really wanted to go to the Fire Station and Live Safety Learning Center. From what I read about it, I figured it would be a great learning experience for the whole family. I was not disappointed.

They offer a tour which includes a simulation of a 6.0-7.0 magnitude earthquake (this was down for maintenance when we went), a movie teaching kids about potential problems that may arise after an earthquake, fire extinguisher training, and an evacuation simulation from a smoke filled apartment.

The movie emphasizes the need for everyone to help out after an earthquake. How, if you are able, you can play a role in helping everyone survive.

The fire extinguisher training showed us how to use a fire extinguisher, and let us operate one to put out a simulated fire.

The evacuation simulation was really good - they filled a display apartment with smoke, left doors closed, and turned off the lights leaving only emergency lighting. There was a height that we were supposed to stay below (120cm) while going throught the rooms otherwise an alarm would sound. It was a little scary for everyone. Truly eye opening as to what one might expect.

If in Tokyo or its surroundings I would totally recommend going if you had some time to kill - if the earthquake simulator would have been working, it would have been that much better!

Kirk:

After Ikebukuro, we went back to the Ameyoko Market because I wanted to pick up another pair of jeans: Momotaro/Hinoya collab :). Kids went to a toy store and picked up some stuff.

Incredibly, Elaine found us another craft beer place for dinner: Towa. And, they had cute panda ramen for Kyle. I’m making funny faces because I’m drunk. I don’t know what Kali’s excuse was.

Walked down to Akihabara from there. Elaine bought herself a Toy Story megazord. There’s actually two different ones, but unfortunately, the Buzz Lightyear one isn’t available until 2017. The two combine to create a super megazord.

Elaine:

Kirk and the kids HAD to show me the Toy Story megazord. We saw it at one store and I was strong and only took some photos. We moved on - THEN we hit Yobodashi and saw it again. OMG ... no I couldn't... no, what would I do with it? ... OMG there are TWO megazords! ... oh darn one isn't available until next year ... no, she won't ... oh no she didn't ... yup she did!

Now I have to figure out how to get back to Tokyo next year to pick up the other half of the MEGA-megazord.

Kirk:

Elaine found yet another craft beer place on the top floor of the Yodobashi store, Craft Beer Tap. Had Pike Brewing beer! Not my favourite Seattle beer, but I had that and a Japanese beer. Like the coffee, craft beer in Japan has been expensive. About $18 per pint.

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