We did meet for breakfast about 9:15, or at least, Jennica, Bethy, and I did. Stan slept in, and I can’t say I blame him. As it turned out, we all needed some extra rest, so it was noonish before we managed to leave the hotel. I admit that I managed to squeeze in a late morning nap—we were all starting to feel a bit tired after so many runaround days!
Drug store time: pharmacy and drug store are two different stores. We went to the pharmacy and they sent us to a drug store. At the drug store, Stan didn’t have much trouble explaining allergy, especially when he showed them his hives. (TMI follows, skip if you want) I had a little more trouble explaining a laxative. I managed to convey the area of the problem, but not the specifics. The wonderful woman at the drug store opened her book and showed me the two obvious choices and I pointed to constipation. Then we had an interesting conversation, complete with mimes and occasional words we each understood, about the difference between the herbal and the medicinal choices. We had success at the Japanese drug store. That wasn’t on our itinerary, but it was a memory-making shopping diversion.
Akibahara: Oh my gosh—we only went through two stores. The first was a bookstore that we learned didn’t have any English books at all. The second was Yodobashi Camera. Don’t let the word “Camera” fool you. It was a “camera” store the way Macy’s is a “Men’s shirt store”—except there were more cameras than Macy’s has shirts. And it had everything else electronic imaginable.
We got there about 2:00 and agreed to meet at 3:00 if we got separated. We met at 3:00 and decided we were hungry, so went up to the 8th floor, where there was a “food court” of at least 20 restaurants. The one we picked had a sunken area for our feet, so that we “climbed down” into the area where our feet went, sat at a low table, and still managed to be comfortable. It’s a great compromise of keeping with the custom of eating while sitting on the floor, while being considerably more comfortable (at least for me) than actually doing so!
After a wonderful late-lunch, we all went off together to look at cameras, since I had decided I wanted more zoom. For me, the camera trade off is a size/optical zoom issue. My little red Canon PowerShot (ELPH 300HS) has been a great camera—but even though 5x optical zoom is a lot for a little camera, I frequently want more zoom. Sure, I can use the computer and digital zoom, but that wasn’t making me happy enough. (This is all about ‘happy’, and not the least bit about ‘need’.)
I looked at a Canon with a 12x zoom that actually has a Bluetooth capability. I looked at a Nikon (18x zoom) (Jennica likes Nikon. Jordan likes Canon. I think they both agree that they’re both good cameras.) I also looked at a Fuji camera (20x zoom). The sales person let me know he thought that Nikon was a better camera than the Fuji. I picked the color (blue) because it went with the neck strap I picked out. (Unfortunately, I’m not sure I like the neck strap, but I still have a pretty blue camera.)
I picked out a small light-weight tripod to use when I wanted a tripod, and then we talked memory cards. I wasn’t going to get a memory card at all, since I had an extra 16GB card with me, and we could easily move pictures to the computer, so we didn’t need another card. (They were cheap at MicroCenter one of the last times we were there.) But, they had something I’d never heard of: an Eye-fi card that can wirelessly send pictures to your phone, tablet, or computer. We got one of those (8GB).
I played around with the Eye-fi card but at this point, I still haven’t figured out the best way to use it. By default, it set up to send all pictures immediately to the paired device (my iPhone). The reason I want the card is so I can send pictures to my iPhone or a tablet if we get one to travel with (since for some stupid reason, iPads don’t come with a USB port or card reader, even though they’d be incredibly useful.) I managed to stop it from sending the pictures as soon as they’re taken, which sounds great but is too much of a time delay before I can take another picture. I read about Selective Transfer but haven’t figured it out yet, so I guess that’ll be experimentation for when I get home.
As for the camera itself, after I bought it, I read a review on dpreview.com. The review wasn’t totally complimentary, but there is only one issue that really affects me—the limited battery life. If one were a professional photographer, than this nicely featured digital point-and-shoot would be insufficient, especially since it doesn’t have manual controls. But I’m not a professional photographer—I take pictures and snapshots because it makes me happy and I like to put them on my website.
I don’t need manual controls, and even more than that, I don’t want them. Jennica has a fancy DSLR on which everything can be manually set, and she loves it, and does great photography with it. So, I re-read the review, and what it really came to, was except for the battery life, it’ll do everything I want. (It also pointed out that it doesn’t do as well in low light as some cameras do, but the distinctions are unlikely to be differences I can actually see.) So, I charged my new camera, and got to use it at the zoo the next day. (Tense gets weird depending on when I update this blog.) One thing I did find that I didn’t like is that the provided way to charge the camera is through a mini-USB cable connected to the camera and DC power. When we get home, I’ll buy an extra battery on eBay and a charger that charges the battery without the camera being involved. (The camera is involved. The battery is committed.)
As it turned out, we ended up not leaving the Ash Camera store until 7:00 pm, after looking at games, stationery (I found donut tape dispensers that don’t expose any of the tape so you can carry them easily), luggage, travel items, and luggage tags, clocks, beauty appliances and items, and I don’t know what else. (I said it wasn’t just a camera store!) (We didn’t visit the mini-golf place on the 9th floor.) We didn’t buy any luggage but Jennica and I each got a luggage tag—hers is a robot. ‘Mine is boring—but my suitcase isn’t, so it all balances out.
By the time we left Akihabara, Stan and Beth were hungry (3:00 seemed quite some time ago). We succumbed and just wandered into the McDonald’s. Stan had a Teriyaki Burger; Beth tried something else new to us. I wasn’t hungry until we got there, so just had a few chicken nuggets. The best part of McDonald’s was that the soft drinks were served with ice—that’s not common here. I’ve been able to find Coke Zero, but not Diet Coke, and I’m looking forward to indulging my addiction on the plane flight back!