Trip to Tokyo
My trip to Tokyo Japan was certainly one to remember. In between feeling like I was starring in my own quest-related video game, and trying to recall any advice I had been given about what to do in the event of an earthquake (none) I had a very cool Far East Adventure.
The first district we stayed in was Shibuya, the heart of youth culture in Tokyo, and home to the biggest set of zebra crossings in the world. The polite and organised folk of Tokyo are able to cross multiple crossings with hundreds of people all at once, and then stop on a sixpence as the traffic resumes.
I can only imagine the carnage if this had been tried in London. It is also the only time I have ever been approached by a complete stranger for a friendly chat while in the middle of a zebra crossing. An old Japanese man wanted to ask where we were from and how we were enjoying our visit.
Tokyo is a foreign country
The towering neon electronic billboards take you back to the opening scenes of Bladerunner. In fact, Ridley Scott, the Director of the film apparently said the opening shots of the movie were Teesside steelworks crossed with downtown Tokyo.
The multi storey shop 109 is home to the global heart of Wild Teen Fashion. Floor after floor of gorgeous outfits draw you in and the sales girls apparently are the prettiest youngsters who come in from the surrounding towns and villages to make it big in Japan. They are all very petite and doll like. I loved all the crazy clothes, shoes and accessories. Alas, while I may have the heart of a wild teen Fashionista, I do not have the figure of one.
Shopping in Tokyo
All the shops are full of cool funky things. At the time the exchange rate was favourable to the pound so nothing seemed that expensive.
Tokyo actually seemed a lot cheaper than London – in particular transport, food and even accommodation. You could get a small fresh omelette and some iced tea for less than a fiver down a small side street, just a stone’s throw from buzzing Shibuya.
Things get even madder in these parts after dark.
The Saturday night after the earthquake we ventured out and were cast into the middle of a wild teen weekend. A vibrant band with a pink haired guitarist impressed me with their joie de vivre. A little later on some crazy Japanese youngsters with their souped up cartoon motorbikes with their vivid customised colourful chassis, came roaring through town
Tokyo – cartoon culture
We visit the anime/ Manga café in Akihabara decorated with colourful Manga figures all over walls and menus. We explored the crazy bustling area known as Electric City. Electric City is a buzzing Mecca for the electronic geeks among us.
We zipped across to the rather mad Harajuku street, home of Gwen Stephani’s Harajuku girls and came across a stunning field of Iris in the nearby park. A huge display of wine and straw barrelled sake made for a different art installation nearby.
Eating out in Tokyo
I play it safe with the food. I had already disabled myself by overindulging on wine in the Crazy Force café on our firs night and didn’t want to fall foul of some strange gizzards or raw things and add insult to injury. We ate a lot of noodles, rice and an awful lot of egg sandwiches.
Japan excels in many things and their egg sandwiches are right up there. They are absolutely delicious.
I also drink a lot of ‘One Cup Sake’ easily purchased in the local supermarket for a very modest amount of yen. Just enough, as the name suggests, for one cup! Kanpai! Cheers!
You can go wild on the eating front if that is your bag. Raw things, and things that are very very chewy are in evidence everywhere. And did you know that hot noodles are really only acceptable at lunchtimes?
There are restaurants where you can eat only out of cans, and one where you are served by robots. I was keen on going to the robot restaurant but I read that disappointingly they were just people dressed up.
In one small establishment you are greeted by someone dressed sometimes as frog and your meal becomes part of a Da Da esque performance. This often includes the staff insulting all the customers (shades of Fawlty Towers.)
In order to retain your beauty you can obtain a flower face roller or a face pyjama. Or why not buy some pants which make your bum stick out more, if you feel that your lack of booty is an issue for you.
Japan is pretty much another planet. The measured manners and ethnically homogeneous culture of the people are a stark contrast to the genetic diversity and general chaotic rudeness of Britain today.
Japan is pretty much another planet. The measured manners and ethnically homogeneous culture of the people are a stark contrast to the genetic diversity and general chaotic rudeness which characterises Britain today.
Science fiction, shopping, skyscrapers, earthquakes and awesome public transport. Fascinating faces, bingy bongy music and toilets which squirt you and play music at the same time..
People smoking and gambling by proxy with ball bearings in the deafening Pachinko parlours. It’s all there on the other side of the world.
Disneyland Tokyo is just outside of the city. We spotted Cinderella’s Castle on the bus as we headed back to the airport.
Why anyone would need to go to Disneyland when you can travel into the future today, in terrific Tokyo itself – better than any theme park you could possibly imagine – is beyond me. Next we head off on the Shikansen bullet train to visit Kyoto check out the next leg of the adventure here