Good reader, thine eyes deceive thee not. It's a middle-aged, ponytailed, plastic-sandalled man with two pet rabbits. One was on a leash while one lolloped gaily around its master's feet. I was more concerned with the fact that two primary school girls had been stopped in their tracks by the unexpected bunniful goodness (as well they might) and were now being talked to at close range by said ponytailed gentleman.
Now just to give you some background, I have seen this technique before. Old, weird man + cute furry animal = old weird man cancelled out and girls flock to pet cute furry animal. There's a guy in Shimokitazawa who sits at an outdoor cafe table with a giant fat cat spreadeagled on his lap. Girls queue up to pet the cat, and meanwhile he gets to inhale their scent at close range.
Anyway, I stayed until the little girls left unmolested. A world-weary salaryman walked past me, looked at the rabbits, did a massive double take, and said "びっくりしたぁ" (literal equivalent: "I was surprised"; rough equivalent: "Bloody hell"). I was already late, so I got on the train and did my 1.5 hour purgatorial commute which takes in the glorious sights of the major commuter hubs of Shibuya, Shinjuku, AND Ikebukuro! Lucky me.
This evening I went for drinks with my friend Saka at a (wait for it) Swedish-themed "snack bar" which is owned by a mama-san in her 60s and staffed by white girls. The mama-san (whom I instantly liked for her dark humour and straight-talking; example, to me, in Japanese, "If you worked here, you'd have to dress more like an obasan (frumpy old woman) - the customers like simply-dressed girls") gets around the law of employing foreigners in night work by calling her bat an "English conversation pub". Somehow she got me to write my phone number down so she could call me if she needed someone to cover a shift. Er...
After putting away most of a bottle of merlot, Saka and I went for ramen. Mine was shio-yuzu (salt-Japanese citron - yes, the translation for "yuzu"
sucks) and I feared it wouldn't be full of enough umami, but it exceeded my expectations. Yum.