Monday, September 03, 2007

ice ice baby

The first thing I saw as I walked into the Kanagawa Skating Rink, a five minute walk from Higashi Kanagawa station, was a cotton candy machine that cost only 50 yen! For fresh, spin-it-yourself cotton candy! I was sold.

Entering the rink to the swish-slush sound of blades on ice, I presented myself at the skate rental counter, where they have skates up to the size of 31 cm. Above 29, they only have whole sizes, but this is an important detail in a country of small feet, where it's often difficult to find shoes in my size 24.5 (7 1/2 women US) or men's sizes above 27 or 28. After lacing up my pleasantly retro skates, I hobbled onto the rink to the strains of Duran Duran and Kim Wilde's Kids in America. Another super bonus!

After finding my ice legs and maneuvering for awhile around the rhinestone-beskirted 9 year old Shizuka Arakawa wannabes, I retired to the warm snack/rest area that boasted lots of retail therapy in the form of a wide range of snack machines. Oh, the possibilities: 2 rows of drink machines, hot and cold, in cans, cups, and bottles; an ice-cream bar dispenser; a machine with a variety of frozen-then-microthawed delicacies like hot dogs and grilled onigiri; and my favorite machine, the one I partook of: an Anpanman popcorn machine, complete with TV screen. The popcorn was available in three flavors: chili, light salt, and butter. I opted for butter and was rewarded with a cheery tune and video while I listened to my corn popping. A few minutes later, a movie-size-small (olden day movie theater small, not mall cineplex small) popcorn cup dropped into the serving chamber and I opened the door to retrieve my prize.

After another long bout alongside the twirling girls and the old ponytailed man coaching a young woman in couples skating to the tune of Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True", I de-bladed and went to the front lobby for my cotton candy fix. Let me tell you, getting cotton candy to adhere to a stick takes talent! I predict many future trips to the Kanagawa skating rink to perfect my technique.

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