The BTB staff is back from a mind- and body-jolting trip to Tokyo. We can report that despite the truly awesome, Star Wars scale of the city, Tokyo is a very friendly place. Even the bus stop signs are inviting, like this one in the Yanaka neighborhood.
And of course, if you want to feel welcomed, there may be no better place on Earth than the Gotokuji shine in the Setagaya neighborhood. This is home of Maneki Neko, aka, the Beckoning Cat. You can read the story, or, at least, a story, of how this little guy came to be venerated on the Lucky Cat - Maneki Neko blog (no Hello Kitty jokes, please).
Possibly the friendliest welcome of all came from Husky. He runs a great little used record store tucked away off the main street in Kyoda, not far from Freshness Burger. He handwrites (in Japanese) extensive notes on every LP and CD in his shop.
I scored an original Japanese pressing of Amalia Rodrigues' 1969 fado record. On red vinyl no less. Check him out if you are in town.