So, walking along one of the main shopping arcades in Sendai, Ichibancho Dori, we came across the Namco Land video arcade, the birthplace of Tekken and home to dozens of grabby-arm prize games such as this one.
Clearly on the lookout for a sound investment opportunity for my hard-earned yen, I decided I must win one of these ridiculous, fat, stubby and impossibly cute soft toys for Mirabel.
It took me a couple of gos to figure out the nuances of the contraption, but despite feeling confident of my robo-arm-grabbing ability, victory was proving elusive. After chewing through around 1600 yen and experiencing several "ooh, so close" moments, I threw my arms up in despair and decided the game was rigged to eat your money, just like all those way less enticing versions of this in New Zealand.
But wait! On our way back down the street what did we see but a boy winning the very prize for this lucky young lady!
I was back on the case, more determined than ever and assured of an at-least slim chance of success. Check out my technique: the finesse on the buttons, the concentrated stare. This is gaming zen.
A few hundred yen and a couple of well-placed pincer movements later, and Mirabel was the proud owner of one brown, blobby, cute pillow-thing with a face. We named him Ashi-chan.
This is why we will be rubbish travellers. The hoarding of junk has already begun.