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Today I met a new female friend I made at a meetup event. We met in Ginza, a very up-market area in Tokyo (think Kensington in London), with all the designer shops and other pretentious malarkey in.

You wouldn’t think it would be possible to have a budget day out in a place like Ginza but we did it. Luckily my friend is an extremely down to earth Japanese girl who has spent a lot of time abroad and also happens to be a little older than me which is one of the reasons why I  believe that we get on. Sometimes I have real trouble relating to Japanese girls my age. As nice as they are, we just never end up connecting and actually becoming real friends. But me and my friend seem to be very much on the same wave length with most things, especially when it comes to what makes a good, cheap day out.

We started off seeing a free film at Hermes, a French designer store that has a small cinema on the top floor. Who knew! The film was a quirky, little French cartoon called Les Triplettes de Belleville or The Triplets of Bellville. It was extremely enjoyable and imaginative despite the cartoons themselves being rather grotesque looking. For that reason and also down to some of the serious, adult events that happen, it was quite a dark and scary cartoon at times, especially for kids. No wonder when I mentioned this cartoon to my Dad he said he had wanted us to watch it when we were kids! That’s my Dad, a man who got his kicks from scaring the shit out of his kids ;-)

The Triplets of Bellevile

The Triplets of Bellevile

There wasn’t much speaking in the cartoon at all so I managed to piece together what was happening perfectly, despite it being in French with Japanese subtitles. I actually really enjoyed hearing the French as I do still enjoy the sound of the language. My friend managed to fall asleep for most the film however! It is a talent some Japanese possess of being able to fall asleep anywhere I’ve noticed! The train, standing up, the library, a coffee shop…but I suppose you can forgive falling asleep in the cinema, it is a darkened room after all!

After the film we wandered around Ginza and a couple of small, free galleries. Then we went to a department store that has an open space café where you can drink free green tea, and use the cosmetics for free as well.  What a joke! Don’t they realise people like me and my friend will abuse the hell out of free offerings like this, with no intention (or money) to buy a single thing! Which we did to no avail and it was very satisfying. My friend painted her nails and we enjoyed our free green tea and chatted about how she misses London life and culture.

Then we wandered around a bookstore and ended the day with a trip to a 300 yen bar, still in fancy Ginza by the way, and grabbed some food.

So our day out in Ginza only cost us 600 yen each as most of what we did was free!

One slightly irritating thing about being in Ginza for me was that people stared at me way more than ususal. It was seriously like being a celebrity…or a piece of shit gaijin. I’m not sure which! I’m not even sure why people were staring. I don’t know if it was because of what I was wearing, and I clearly didn’t look like I belonged in Ginza, or if it was because most of the people were tourists from outside Tokyo and so they don’t see many gaijin where they live. Whatever the reason the stares were unbelievable. Regardless of that though I had a good day in good company and I learnt about some places in Ginza where you can get freebies!

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