Tokyo is a huge city as evidenced by their subway map. I don’t mind that it is a large city but what gets to me are the distances. Even skipping traffic on the subway it would never take me less than a half hour to go somewhere new. It’s not overwhelmingly big or anything, just seems to spread out for my liking.
The long distances mean you will be hard pressed as a tourist to see more than two areas a day without feeling completely exhausted by the end. The first photo up is stereotypical Japan with the lanterns lit and a boy wearing that blue hat that just looks so Japanese. There was a festival/holiday of some sort being celebrated around the block.
One famous part of Tokyo is Shibuya which they say has the busiest intersection in the world. It’s an area with lots of shopping. See this boot store for instance.
I strongly dislike manga and the sort of Japanese comic books and cartoons. I have my reasons but that didn’t stop me from entering this store full of some of the dorkiest action figures, comics, and even cartoon porn.
Here is an interesting advertisement I noticed, “Grope in the Dark”. Engrish maybe? It’s creepy.
Another famous area for the dorky action figures, video games, maid cafes, and “cheap” (but not really) electronics is Electric City, Ahkibara.
Japanophiles must be so envious right now and also hate me when I tell them/you I did not end up playing one game. I had a good time watching others bobbing their heads and slamming the joysticks.
Best of all is the warning sign. I once heard of the teenager who died playing World of Warcraft for playing too long. Maybe they started taking the ill effects of videogames more seriously after that?
It never ends.
Back to reality for now. I was absolutely thrilled to see this woman in a few advertisements. I don’t know what it says. Maybe someone can translate it for me. But the concept is great. I saw a video where she is dancing with four of her clones as if she were a teenager.
Walking around Ahkibara and you will encounter the “maid’s” trying to attract customers to their cafes. I really wish I had visited one where they are supposed to do all sorts of strange things, even feed you by hand.
Another advertisement I really enjoyed. It makes me think about hiring a Japanese designer to create the advertisements for my businesses if they can conceive advertisements like these.
Now we have the obligatory “office” photo to prove I actually do work, sometimes. I liked the all wood themed cafe. It felt very old fashion.
That stereotype of Japanese being very orderly has some truth. The Japanese are ace when riding the escalator – always on the left side to allow people in a rush to use the right side.
Or when entering the subway it’s always done by lining up in an orderly fashion as shown below.
One evening I attended a Latin America short film festival with a Japanese friend. I heard the guy from the Motorcycle Diaries was supposed to attend but he didn’t show.The films were entertaining enough but they showed all of the credits at the very end. What happened was the lights were off and for over ten minutes the theater sat in silence watching boring white credits. Ten minutes!
The hostels in Tokyo filled up fast so when I couldn’t find any with room I tried a capsule hotel.
At 6 1/2 feet long by 5 feet wide, and not tall enough to stand up in, they have become an affordable option to stay. The capsules do not have doors, only screens that pull down. Every bump of the shoulder on the plastic walls, every muffled cough, echoes loudly through the rows. On the ninth floor the hotel had a men’s only spa with a big hot tub, steam room, sauna, and showers. I would relax in these and when too hot would open the door and chill on the roof overlooking the river and cityscape with a perfect breeze.
Near to this particular hotel was a historic part of the city, Asakusa, where you can find a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. I liked this area best for the traditional foods you could find and sweet potato ice cream.
On a side note I just really like how Japanese letters look.
Another traditional food stand.
The Budist temple area.
A Budist temple.
The area turned even more beautiful as the sun set. Imagine how nice this could look if I were a real photographer.
Just a random Samurai (?) hanging on the side of a building
Silly Japanese comedians…
Lifesize anime charactars.
On the way home to the hotel one night I ran into this old man shouting. This was sadly the best photo I could get.
The Tokyo slave business is thriving
You’ve probably heard of the famous Tokyo fish market, right? It’s the largest fish market in the world and apparently if you have no life you can visit at 3Am to see it in full action. I went in the afternoon where it was mostly dead.
…And back near the hostel was the carnival.
One evening I went out to a club in Shibuya for an amazing night. The place was packed and everyone their was so into the music. It was seriously one of the best places I have been. On the way home well into the Am we found these guys practicing their boxing. Or before the club at around 10PM guys had passed out by the train station.