At long last we were going to experience the centerpiece of the Tokyo Maximum Tour. Today we were heading to the Tokyo Game show, the second biggest video game show on the planet and the biggest that is open to the general public.
Back in the day I was a pretty avid gamer. Even today, I break out my old systems once in a while to enjoy my collection. So the idea of getting to see new technology and test games that hadn’t hit the market yet held a certain appeal for me.
Our group had special passes that allowed us entry to the show an hour before it started. This was the best part of the day as there was time to slowly explore all of the vendors and get some sneak previews of new games. But once the show was open to the rest of the public. . .Whoa Nellie!!!
Now I knew what a sardine must feel like. Over a quarter of a million people were at the event and I felt squashed. Lines to sample new video games quickly stretched to multi-hour waits. Fortunately, I had my trusty Kindle to pass the time in line, but standing in line for 2 hours to play a new game for 15 minutes didn’t seem worth the wait. I had hoped to play Resident Evil 6, but that ended up being one of the most popular games at the venue. The wait got so long that the line was actually shut down on a couple of occasions.
Not that there weren’t interesting things to watch while I waited and wandered. Legends in the video game field appeared for discussion panels and to introduce new games. The legendary Japanese pro wrestler, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, made an appearance to promote a new wrestling video game and even competed in a match at the show.
After a while, I managed to find a quiet corner where I could read and people watch until it was time for our group to head back to Ikebukuro. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have cut this day short and gone to Tokyo Disneyland which we passed on the way to show. In fact, I just may hit that place up when I return to Japan.
We were on our own for dinner that night, so Mat, Dave, and I did a little exploring on the streets of Ikebukuro. A parade broke out in front of us a few blocks from the hotel and we found a little festival going on. After wandering about the festival a bit, we continued up the street where we found a McDonald’s.
I admit I did want to eat at a McDonald’s in Japan just to say that I did it. I expected to be able to find one, but what I didn’t expect is that I would find one every 6 blocks. They were everywhere! Aside from the fare one would expect, the menu also contains items for the Japanese palate. Mat and Dave ordered Tsukimshi (Moon Viewing) burgers which were hamburgers topped with a sunny side up egg. Egg burgers are quite popular in Japan. I opted for a lettuce and pepper sauce burger which I found quite tasty. I definitely wouldn’t mind this sandwich finding its way to America.
After dinner, the three of us met up with Mike and Yukie and we left to enjoy one of Japan’s favorite pastimes. . .karaoke. Mat opened us up with a rendition of the opening theme to Golgo 13 (an anime series) which he sung in Japanese. I followed up with a powerful rendition of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. From there we were all took turns singing our hearts out for the next two hours and we closed the evening singing five part disharmony. What a festive night.
It was back to our rooms to rest up for the next day. This would be our first free day that we could use to examine Tokyo any way that we desired.