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Again to Ikebukuro

May 30th, 2007

This time I tried taking the backstreets from Shinjuku. I made it to the Vanguard Tower in about the same time it took to use the main roads, but probably only because I ran into a few dead ends and had to backtrack. Once I have figured out a good backstreet route, it will probably prove to be faster than Meiji Boulevard–but more important then the few minutes it would shave off would be the safer and more pleasant back roads, with less traffic, more trees, and fewer hassles to deal with.

Again (more due to my schedule than to a preference) I visited at night–but this time with my camera. Here are a few views of the building in the evening:


Note the few lights on in the building.



Here is also a wider shot of the entrance; click for a larger image:


On the left is the 24-hour supermarket which will make life easier. The place is called Pororoca, and seems to be a supermarket owned by the MyCal company; from their web site, they seem to have a lot of stores in central Tokyo. (I have the feeling that it’ll be a tad pricey.) A few are open 24 hours like this one. It’s a bit small, but it’s no convenience store–it’ll have a respectable fish, meat, and vegetable section, as well as a baked goods section. And despite the guy at the store a few nights back telling me that he didn’t know when the branch would open, the web site announces the opening to be at 8 am on June 1st.


Go to the right of the supermarket, and you’ll get into the vestibule with the autolock intercom:


Note the padding to protect the floor while people move in. I think the camera affords a color picture to each unit’s kitchen monitor when the apartment number is punched in, but I have yet to test the color part of that. Once you get buzzed in, you get into the plush lobby (click to enlarge):


The elevators are in back, with more green anti-movers padding. The doorway at top right is to the mail room.

I also spotted Sachi’s Ramen shop across the street. I call it “Sachi’s” because she likes ramen a lot, so we’ll be sure to try this place.


I also spotted a few of the portable ramen shops–the kind set up on street corners, a makeshift temporary restaurant where you sit down on a stool right out on the street and enjoy your noodles. That just a block away from Vanguard.

I also noted that there’s a bus stop right in front of our building–handy in case the weather makes us want to ride to the station rather than walk. Also interesting is the NTT building (a big one) right next door to Vanguard. If we get DSL, it’s sure to be a strong signal. Also nearby: the Kuyakusho, or City Hall, just a few blocks down the road.

While in town, I also checked out a few other things. For example, I found another supermarket nearby. In addition to the Pororoca and the Seiyu behind Sunshine City, there is a Daimaru Peacock a few blocks further beyond Seiyu. This one is open till 11:00 pm, and is on the basement floor of a new complex called “Rise City Ikebukuro” (which is also an exit for the Yurakucho Subway Line’s Higashi-Ikebukuro Station). I even ran into an old friend at the entrance, and we chatted for a few minutes. She clued me in to a nearby Tsutaya video rental shop with discount days.


I also found a Don Quixote store, branded “Picaso,” which is open 24 hours. This is closer to the station but still not far from Vanguard Tower. Don Quixote, for those not familiar with the chain, is a discount store famous for its crowded, narrow, non-linear shopping aisles crammed to overflowing with cheap products. Not my favorite place in the world, but some deals can be had there.

Sachi and I are now pretty much committed to the move. Thursday we sign the contract and pay the deposit.

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