Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Small Adventure 47
A couple days ago, we were outside doing food shopping and I decided that I wanted to get some coffee at the New York Loco Cantine, a U.S.-styled hot dog and pancakes place in the Tenpara cinema building at the west side of Tenmonkan. It's on Omotesando street, which will become relevant in a minute. We had a plate of dessert pancakes and ice coffees, for a total of 1,400 yen ($12 USD). More than I wanted to pay, but about typical for Japan. Then, as I was paying the bill the woman at the counter said something about a lottery because we'd spent over 1,000 yen. It took a bit to realize that she was talking about a big table outside around the corner near the escalators to the theater on the second floor. The table had a large wooden wheel, and two people sitting nearby that asked for the receipt. This is the kind of game where you turn a handle to rotate the wheel until a small plastic ball rolls out of a hole on the rim of the wheel. The color of the ball shows what type of prize you get. Typically, white is either nothing, or a small packet of travel tissue.
There was a tray on the other side of the wheel where they were tracking the balls that had come out. 20-30 were white, 10 were red, 2 were silver and 1 was gold. Since we'd only paid 1,400 yen I was assuming that we'd only get one try at the wheel, so I told my partner to play the game because her luck is better than mine. She got a red ball, which translated to a 500 yen gift certificate, so, yeah, lucky! I was about to walk away when the guy told me to take my turn, too. I couldn't tell if there was a mix-up between the woman taking the receipts and the guy running the wheel, but they looked at each other and the woman didn't say anything. Shrugging, I spun the wheel, and the ball bounced off the table onto the floor. I couldn't tell what color it was right away, but the ball stopped in the middle of the walkway and it was gold. Which was good for 3,000 yen in certificates. Chou lucky!
Turns out that the shopkeepers on Omotesando street, about 30 of them, had banded together to hold an "Omotesando Street Matsuri" for a couple days in September, and just by accident we happened to stop at one of the participating shops on the right day. The certs are only worth half-price at the theater and about half the shops on the list (including Loco Cantine), and there are restrictions on using them at some of the other shops. Fortunately, Maruzen bookstore is one of the participating shops, there's no restrictions for them, and the certs are worth full face value. Meaning, 3,500 yen worth of free manga! (Deadline for using the certs. (no cash value) is the end of November.)