This is going to be a long entry. I finally got a chance to go somewhere fun with a friend in over a month today. I also had nothing else to do other than write in my notebook during my two hour trip by transit and train back to Hsinchu.
Here! Have a photo of Kenny posing with my waffles at a maid cafe in Taipei’s underground metro mall before the break.
Woke up late, showered, got dressed and packed in 10min, then had my aunt Eunice give me a ride to Hsinchu train station. I took the 10:00am train northbound to Taipei.
Couldn’t get a ticket with a seat because I arrived too late but managed to find a seat anyway on the steps of one of the inter car areas. I spent the duration of this trip reading Aku no Hana vol 3 – 6… all the whilst sitting next a particularly cute girl with dyed light brown hair. We were squished together but within minutes I was too drawn in by the manga to pay any attention to her.
Met up with Kenny and his girlfriend, Minnie at the Taipei station lobby. They seemed like a cute couple. She reminded me immensely of Kenny’s previous girlfriend in Vancouver (I forgot her name) except brighter, happier, more mature, and way easier to talk to. She had plans to meet up and hang out with her cousin so Kenny and I went off by ourselves. Before we took off Kenny shouted “Hey Kevin what’s that over there!?” then proceeded to kiss Minnie on her forehead goodbye. The ruse didn’t work very well.
We walked to a nearby IT Mall with plans to have lunch at the Good Smile Cafe I had gone to before only to find the place closed down. It wasn’t just the store but the entire mall/building seemed dead even for a weekday. There were a lot of signs of renovation in progress so many the closure was just temporary until renovations are done. We ended going a Japanese restaurant named AZABUSABO on Kenny’s whim.
I ordered a “tokyo” ramen set for 390 TWD and Kenny got a kimchi beef donburi for 260 TWD… extremely expensive for food in Taiwan. The service was slow, the portions were way too small (for the price), and they didn’t even taste all that great. We left still hungry and unsatisfied. At one point Kenny exclaimed “This isn’t kimchi!” He had clearly become an expert on the subject after living and working in Korea.
I took Kenny to the underground metro mall around Taipei train station; the same one I always go to for figures and collectibles. Kenny wanted to buy a One Piece figure and I agreed to help. We walked along the right lane all the way to the end but didn’t find much as most of the stores were closed either for lunch or because it was too early.
Kenny wanted a photo taken with a WANTED Chopper poster we passed by.
I tried to scout the place for some decent merchandise but didn’t find much since most of the stores were still closed.
As we got to end of the right lane we bumped into a young asian man in his 30s dressed in a butler suit. He handed me a card to his establishment; a butler cafe (with some maids). Kenny got me to ask if he could take a photo with him but we were told that’s not allowed. However, he was nice enough to inform us that there were two maid cafes further down the lane that allow photos for their patrons. We were still hungry and Kenny really really wanted to go to a maid cafe so we went to check them out.
We ended up visiting a maid cafe called Maiden School. This time I chose the place on a whim over the other maid cafe (I forgot the name) because I thought the maid outfits at this cafe were cuter. The maids wore the same outfits as the girl illustrated on their business card.
One of the maids came out to greet us as we were still checking out the cafe’s menu and asked if we had any questions. Kenny just stood there staring at her. She even asked Kenny “日本人ですか / Are you Japanese?” before I had a chance to explain anything. I got a good laugh out of that.
Once we went in and were seated she introduced herself as Mika and the other girl in the back as Haine. It turned out that Mika can speak English too as she is currently majoring in English.
The place was empty except for a table of 3 exceedingly otaku-looking guys all in their late 20s and a single somewhat more normal looking fellow also male sitting off to the side by himself.
I ordered an ice cream waffle 150 TWD and a cafe latte 130 TWD while Kenny got a blueberry oreo cake and some kind of sandwich sub. I didn’t pay much attention to what Kenny ordered this time since I didn’t have to translate for him. I spent the time while waiting for our food talking to Kenny and somewhat reading vol.1 of the Bungaku Shoujo manga adaption.
When our food arrived we were instructed by Mika to cast a magical charm of sorts to make our food taste better. I had completely forgotten about this ritual and was quite taken off guard too. In this case we had to cup both hands together in an heart shape (the usual) and while moving both hands together left and right (yep again the usual) chant “moe~ moe~ chu~!” (lolwhat not kyun?). This was my first time doing something like this despite seeing it a million times in anime/games/manga it wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as I had imagined. It almost seemed as if the charm really did make our food taste better! I came to the conclusion that the whole point of these charms was to get the customers into a good mood before eating. It makes sense that food would taste better when you are happy.
Here’s my cafe latte and waffles…
…and Kenny’s blueberry oreo cake and something sandwich.
Both Kenny’s cake and my waffles appeared homemade, tasted pretty good, and came in big portions too! Apparently the sandwich tasted really really good too despite looking like that.
Kenny got a photo taken with Mika before we left and had her sign it and write a little message too! for an additional cost of 150 TWD though.
As soon as the clock ticked past the hour it was as if the entire underground mall sprung to life. Students who had just finished school filled the place and all the shops closed earlier were now filled with people (I guess most people don’t come to the underground mall until after 3:00pm).
We spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the rest of the stores in the underground mall. Kenny managed to find four One Piece figures he wanted to buy but just couldn’t make up his mind on which one he should buy.
I would have taken more photos of all the awesome collectible goods I found but sadly all the good stores have a strict NO PHOTOS ALLOWED policy. In the end I only photographed the goods I really wanted to buy so I could go over them later.
Dengeki G’s Festival with Kirino puchi figure and Kuroneko dakimakura cover (1850 TWD)
Dengeki G’s Festival with Kirino dakimakura cover (1450 TWD)
SEGA Kirino and Kuroneko nexus outfit figures (fuck I can’t read the price tag TWD)
There were more items like tapestries, CDs, art books, and doujinshi but those are kind of impossible to photograph without being caught. The most notable one of the bunch was the full size tapestry of Shimakaze (and Akagi) from Kantai Collection imported from Japan going for 3500 TWD (roughly $120). Miraculously I managed to restrain myself from buying anything today. I plan on coming back at a later date once I’ve figured out what I want to buy first as I clearly do not have the funds to buy everything that I want.
Nevermind, I lied. I did buy something today. I bought a Kantai Collection clear file folder featuring all four of the Kongou-class sisters at the last store we visited for 350 TWD (extremely overpriced I know).
I also learned today how fucking difficult it is to take a decent photo of a clear file folder with plastic wrap on.
We met back up with Kenny’s girlfriend Minnie at the station lobby along with Minnie’s cousin and her boyfriend (I don’t know either of their names in English). Minnie had plans to go to a hot springs spa or something for the night with their group but before they do she agreed to let me hang out with them some more.
We took the metro rail transit to Dansui station (a town in Taipei that uh I’m not too familiar with) and spent the next few hours walking around the area shopping, stopping at an arcade, and got some food from some of the night market food stands.
There was a hello kitty plushie in an UFO catcher that caught my eye at the arcade but I kept failing to catch it and ended up spending 200 TWD before I finally won it.
I said goodbye to Minnie and her cousins and made arrangements with Kenny to meet him in Taipei again on Thursday to help him find that One Piece figure he wanted to buy again now that he’s made up his mind (supposedly) and headed back to Hsinchu.
I got home at around this time.
I finished writing this stupid journal entry at around this time. This too way too long… although I did spend a good chunk of it eating (I had forgotten I didn’t eat dinner) and talking to my mom on the phone.