The Watchman Cometh

When Jen told her coworkers she was coming to Japan, she proceeded to get a big list of things to buy and bring back, such as DVDs of shows they can't get {easily} in the US.  She was also tasked with trying to find a watch.

I'm fond of the Citizen Eco-drive series, which requires no battery because it charges itself using light.  It also has a large number of time zones pre-programmed into it which has been useful during my travels.  The Skyhawk model also includes a version of the E6B flight computer which is used to calculate things like how far you can fly at a certain speed, or how much fuel you're using.  It's a neat feature, but I would need different glasses to really use that feature in flight.

I bought the first generation when it came out in 2001, but it was kind of getting scratched and beat, and I'd recently heard about the 3rd gen which includes certain things I really hoped for: a backlight, more time zones (original only had 23 and couldn't do non-hour based zones, now it has 43), and more easily viewable hands.  It also receives the time from radio broadcasts around the world so it's always up to date.  And the E6B is more visible.  So I bought that and swap between the two of them depending on where I'm traveling.  Here's what they look like:  kind of large for a watch, and a little heavy, but very functional with a geek quality.

Generation 1                                          Generation 3

My preference in a watch is primarily function, with a certain geek wow factor.  But stylin' you might not say it is.  If unique style is your primary focus, then the watch we seeked (soke?) is the opposite - highly stylistic but only fractionally functional.

What we're talking about is Steampunk - a genre of fantasy where steam is the power source - and watches made by Haruo Suekichi.  Read this article for a background, but here's what they look like:

Jen did a lot of research and found a store that may sell them, out by where Dennis and his family used to live, so off we went on our shopping adventure:

Jen's intuitive skillz with the Tokyo address system worked out, and she again was able to locate the store from an address and without a map.  There were people there, but they were closed and shutting it down. But they did have a watch like we were looking for, but it was at another one of their stores, at Shimo-Kitazawa station on the JR Odakyu line.

So off we went to "Grown Up Tabatha", which turned out to have a watch like the one I show above, and was getting two more in the next day.  She bought that watch, and we went back the next day and she bought those two as well.  I'll direct you to her Flickr page for details on the watches, but one showed fireworks when struck, and the two others had a hidden feature that appeals to the guys.  Note that above I said "fractionally functional", which you may think is disparaging.  Not so!  The letter which accompanied the Fireworks watch (translated by the helpful staff at the Somerset) said it will be hard to read the time but the main feature is the fireworks which will make you popular with the ladies in the clubs.

Over in Shimo-kitazawa we saw angry cat telling us not to park our bikes here.

Did you know the Olympics were going on?  We seldom heard about them, but remembered when we got off at Hamamatsucho station and saw this statue.  We're not exactly sure what it's expressing, but we suspect someone's showing Japanese pride over the Chinese olympics.

Later we went to Shibuya so Jen could see the reportedly busiest crossing in the world and meet Hachiko.

During our day we spent some time in Harajuko and did some shopping, and Jen got a sweatshirt with this logo on it.  Apparently the bear wears bear suits and likes to relax, waiting for people to wash their clothes and then he wears the ones that look like him. Only in Japan!