I just arrived at the olympic youth memorial center (?) in yoyogi (shinjuku area) to try and book a room at the youth hostel here, but they are closed until 5pm so I have some time to kill… So far, it looks like Hotel Hikari is going to end up having been much nicer, so I will likely only stay the night here. It is very close to some recommended spots in Shinjuku and Shibuya, though, so that is good. As soon as I arrived at the center, two young japanese girls asked if I would do an interview with them for a school project about high school in the US, so I answered some questions. They told me that this is a popular spot for backpackers visiting Tokyo even though it is rather deserted today. Maybe when the hostel opens up I’ll run into some others.
A few hours later… The Yoyogi hostel wouldn’t take me as they were all booked, so they sent me to Tokyo International (the other major hostel in Tokyo, right near central tokyo and the tokyo dome). I finally found it with the help of some friendly japanese folks, but they too turned me down. They suggested the Sakura Hotel which is only two subway stops away. I got to the station closest to it (Jimbocho) but was having a hell of a time finding it, so I stopped to ask the staff at an empty restaurant. They didn’t know where it was, but went so far out of their way to help I was blown away: one guy ran down the street and photocopied a detailed map of the area and drew a line for me indicating exactly how to get there. I thanked him profusely and went on my way, but my legendary sense of direction failed me and I was once again lost. I stopped again, this time at a copy shop. The two guys there busted out the giant blueprint style city map and made two massive photocopies of it and gave me practically footstep-by-footstep directions. I can’t believe how incredibly nice and helpful every single person has been so far. I finally found the Hotel and booked one night in a shared room, which ended up being cold and noisy. I am now back in the Hikari Hotel for 4 nights which is far cheaper (3300Y/night for a single room), cleaner, quieter, has free wifi, and I think in a nicer location. They even gave me the exact same room I was in the other night.
Yesterday I visited Akihabara to see the giant electronics store there. It is supposedly the largest in Tokyo, and it certainly is huge. The place is 8 storeys tall and occupies an entire city block. They have entire floors dedicated to cell phones, computers, video games, TVs and all sorts of home appliances. I found a cheapo headset to use with Skype for about $6US, but almost everything there is either the same price or more than it is at home. On the streets around there I saw some good deals on cameras and computers, though. While I was walking around there I found a similarly huge music equipment store and spent a couple hours playing every instrument I could get my hands on. The highlight of my day was rocking out on the drums for a while (the place wasn’t crowded at all! I got to play for about 40 minutes).