tokyo – part 1

06Oct08

shibuya

tokyo was a bit of a blur. by a bit, i mean mostly. luckily, my friend from college – Blake – was a fabulous tour guide. we went all around tokyo, even parts he never goes to. each night ended with delicious food and copious amounts of drinking.

we arrived in tokyo from kyoto by bullet train (SO COOL) on thursday sept 18. We wandered around Shinjuku where we were staying and then had a great lunch that Vini STILL talks about. Blake had made dinner plans with his Japanese pop star friend and then drink plans with his semi-work colleagues in Shibuya. we tagged along for all of that. we started off at a chain pub for happy hour, then Soma for some yummy italian food (yes italian food in japan, it was so good!) and all you can drink for 2 hours. that was bad news. met Blake’s pop star friend, who was very sweet and nice. after Soma we went around the corner to meet up with one of his colleagues (who happens to own several boutique sneaker shops!) at an Okinawan food place. this was when SHOCHU was introduced to me. the night ended at the hotel bar… and me falling asleep in the cab. what a wonderful start to Tokyo.

the next day.
boy was i hung over! strangely enough, vegetable tempura bowl helped a lot! we roamed around the big towers of Shinjuku before going on any moving vehicle anywhere else. off to Harajuku!! we actually went to Meiji-Jingu first. it was a very beautiful, serene and misty walk through the park before reaching the shrine. we said our prayers, got our fortunes, and took some photos.

after the shrine, we walked around to the other side of the station which brings us to…
harajuku

i was definitely an experience. girls with orange hair, thigh-highs and heels for days. i went a little crazy in the 99yen shop đŸ™‚ there were so many funny shops. including one where you can find pictures and posters of your favorite pop star. we looked for Blake’s pop star friend but i don’t think she’s that famous yet. we continued our walk through out Harajuku from boutiques to brand name flagship megastores. i could live here.

we ended up going to okonomiyaki with some of Blake’s American friends. it was again a fabulous meal. food here is SO good! the night took a turn when someone suggested karaoke. this would be my first attempt at it… same with Vini. it was about $15 each for 2 hours…. and all you can drink. i mean, completely unnecessary but well worth the fun. some backstreet boys, some mandy moore, some jpop and some random bohemian rhapsody later…. we bid farewell to our new friends and took the last train home before the typhoon hit. yes we were in a typhoon.

view from tokyo metropolitan government offices

the next day was absolutely beautiful after the storm. we decided to go up the tokyo metropolitan government offices for a view of tokyo. it really reminded me of LA. there’s no where else I’ve been where you can get a view of endless city. it just keeps going and going. after that, we had lunch at a japanese pasta place. wow that was yummy! i had a pesto spaghetti. i had been craving food other than rice… i’m not a big fan of rice all too much. next stop after lunch, akihabara!

well akihabara wasn’t all that it was cracked out to be. it just smelled like geek as soon as you walked out of the station. there were way more men then women walking around. we stopped into a video game arcade so Blake and Vini can live up their boyhood dreams. i watched as each go killed in Street Fighter 4. there are guys that just sit there all day and master their hadouken skills. there was no competition. we wandered around akihabara for a bit including the don quiote where they have the maid restaurant and have 8 levels of wierd cosplay and sex fantasy costumes. then we walked in an anime porn shop, purely because we’re curious, and immediate left, purell’d our hands, and decided we needed to go somewhere holy.

senso-ji

we went to Senso-Ji in Asakusa. it’s the one with the big red lantern. there were lots of just stuff to buy along nakamise-dori – the street leading up to the temple. there were lots of yummy things being sold. after we cleansed ourselves of the filth from the anime porn shop, we decided it was time for a snack.

shaved ice place

after wandering around a bit more, we made our way back to our end of the city for another night of eating and drinking. i don’t know how they do it! Blake had plans to meet up with his Waseda friends – Waseda was the college he went to in Japan. we got to know them well… after dinner Blake took us on a nice walking tour of the red light district. it’s weird, they have these guys with really big orange hair standing outside to lure in the women. i didn’t exactly find it attractive. they had a poster where you can “pick” your companion for the night. we ended the night with some snacks from the convenience store and some drinks back at the hotel.

the next day was spent sleeping in. finally! it was pouring rain outside so we decided to find something to do in doors. we headed over to Blake’s apartment – in a very swanky designer building by the way! we started a load of laundry and wandered towards Waseda for some yummy curry for lunch. it wasn’t japanese curry, it was “ethnic” curry. which i think means, anything non-japanese. it was still pouring rain so we watched Sukiyaki Western Django. wow that was a weird movie, but strangely summed up how japanese culture mixes in american culture… it’s lots of cut and paste with no explanation or making sense. we spent the day indoors, enjoying a break from our daily adventures and eating and drinking. it was much needed. along with the clean clothing!

sushi train damage

we end the first part of our tokyo trip with sushi in meguro. oh boy was it amazing. we spent only about $22 but had all the fancy dishes, each had a big bowl of soup. i even tried some! it was absolutely amazing. we went to ebisu to the beer restaurant after to sample some of their famous premium brew and headed home to pack for our next adventure.

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One Response to “tokyo – part 1”

  1. Glad you liked Tokyo. I always love reading other people’s experiences here! Sensoji is a cool place and there are some great annual festivals that take place there if you ever get the choice to join in any of them : )


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