Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Ninjas, Magic, 10 Course Dinners, Maids, Spaghetti Metro and Love Hotels

The indeterminable adventure that was the first few days in Tokyo and then some more weirdness of the Japanese variety. Excited? Well I was too…

I arrived into Tokyo from the kamukura express, I didn’t have any mony so my friend and I went to look for cash so I could buy a ticket to my hostels station. After several failed attempts, 711 as usual paved the way. I met Hiro, had lunch saw a typical temple, after this we went to Roppongi, saw some stuff and then had ice cream where as they made it they sang to us. We went off for dinner a bit later. This was at ‘Ninja’ a hideout for ninja’s where they cook fancy food. Ten courses in the ninja village served up by ninjas, including a ninja magician. The food was interesting and at times very tasty. Recommended for taste and experience though. We ended the night drinking with Emilie and Misaki, two girls I had met in kamukura.

Next day we went to Akihabara, electronic city to look at fancy gadgets. A techies dream, every bit of swish technology ever imagined. Hiro suggested we go to a ‘maid café’ then tried to back out. Here the waitresses dress as maids, an are supposed to act like the customer is their master. It’s pretty odd, aimed at Anime Otaku, but has become more popular. Basically its hooters for nerds. Hiro went for dinner and a concert and I got ready for the entertainment of the evening, a trip to Womb, nightclub extraordinaire (rated top 4 in the world’s top 100 clubs in 2009) Before this, I met Hiro and drank with him and his parents in a bar in Roppongi, I sang some Sinatra with the live band, badly I might add. Womb is a blur, but was awesome all the same.

The next day, the rain began. A typhoon was on its way and it was VERY wet. This theme would remain the next two days. I did little this first day after womb, except for Tempura dinner with Hiro and parents. Next day was a walking day of touring the young, fun and exciting areas. First stop, Shibuya. Home to shopping and the busiest pedestrian crossing. I watched everyone march across wielding their umbrellas. I walked to Harajuku, home of the weirder. People here cosplay dress up congregate here on the weekend. There were also some concert going on at Yoyogi stadium, maximizing the number of umbrellas around. I walked down shopping street, when I could, amongst a wall of umbrellas (common theme).

I am unsure as to which exact day some things happened in this order. I went up Mori Tower to see the view of Tokyo city spread out, I got there at dusk and waited till it was properly dark to see the lights of the city. I went to Ikebukuro, saw a mall called ‘Sunshine City’ and a Cat Café. This one, differs slightly to a normal café. After a small entrance/hourly fee, all drinks are free and you mingle and play with cats. After this, I went to Shinjuku and walked all the way back to Shibuya. This time with less rain. I woke up at 5am to go see the fish market in action. This the worlds biggest is the home of tuna. I saw the biggest tuna ever, fresh from the boat. Walking around was quite the experience. Later after breakfast I wandered around Hibuya park and the Imperial Palace gardens.
Later on, I had dinner with Hiros family again. This time tasty Kobe beef, It was sooooooooooo good. Three kinds of beef cooked to perfection, including fire. After drinks in his hotel bar, A set in the bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’ we went to Gonpacho, a Izayaka (basically a pub) that was the inspiration for a scene in Kill Bill.

This virtually brings me to the end of Tokyo time.
I haven’t mentioned the Spaghetti Metro. Like all train travel in Japan it is fast and efficient. However it resembles the image of spilt spaghetti on the floor. Another interesting (for me anyway) is that my traditional style Ryokan is surrounded by ‘Love Hotels’.
Im now in Canada, home of ice hockey. After two flights, the second of which was fairly interesting. A guy in front of me had a seizure, babies screamed almost constantly and there were epic views of Vancouver on the approach I arrived in Vancouver. The Canucks had just won the first play off, so with no sleep I went out and partied with the Canadians.
A time of firsts, first crossing of the dateline, first time in Canada/Japan etc. Thus begins the ‘second part’ of my trip. North America. I will miss Asia but it’s good to be back in the west.