Published: September 7th 2006September 5th 2006
Welcome to Tokyo
a busy crossing in Shinjuku
After a sad send send off from our entourage of Winn, Moz, Chris, Lynne, Trev and late 90s rap sensation Coolio - i kid you not - we left Heathrow and the UK for the next 10months and touched down at destination number one Tokyo.
What a place!! we had read many opinions so were keen just to take it all in so after a short nap we headed out to Yoyogi Park, the sunday hang out for all the Harajuku Girls and costume gangs. Basically this is where all the youths from the boring suburbs head for every weekend all dressed up as Punks, Goths or Little Bo Beep - cute but also disturbing - Our highlight was the gang of Rockabillies going mental to their music all looking like bad Japanese Elvis impersinators. This place is as rebelious as Japan gets, but the chaos is still so organised ie the local nu metal bands bring generators and line up just far enough apart so that the racket they make doesnt drown out the next band 50 yards further along. it was the perfect intro to Japanese culture and we both loved the place and just sat and watched
Yoyogi Park Rock a Billies
entrants for the Japanese national elvis look a like contest entertain the crowds
until it went dark before heading back to our base, Ikebukero for some food.
The assault on our senses continued as we found Nanjatown, an over the top and Kitsch indoor food theme park famed for its stalls selling Gyoza which are japanese dim sum pasties and very cheap when your on a budget. The wholeplace was mental - think indoor Gullivers world without rides, just food ???????
Day 2 began at 6am with jet lag, so a trip to the fish market at Tsukiji which we were told was much better to see before 9am. By the time we found the place we must had walked 5 miles both in flip flops, and we dont reccommend trying this folks !!! but it was worth the trek. It is open to everyone but its where the restuarants buy in bulk and its huge - as big if not bigger than MK shopping centre - it was busy, hot and smelly but the aray of stuff and the sight of old men dragging whole tuna as big as 6ft-8ft along made this a must see although again flip flopped feet are not advisable as the puddles of smelly water and
Namja Town, Ikebukuru
The crazy cat is Namja and the happy pasty is a Gyoza, which we ate
blood aint pleasant between the toes!!
we spent the afternoon seeing the Imperial Palace - which was shut??? - had conveyor belt sushi in Ueno which is the old part of Tokyo and headed back to base to soak our feet and have yet another siesta.
We had bumped into someone we both knew at the airport who lives in Tokyo and arranged to meet that evening on the 37th floor bar of the Mandarin Oriental, way to much luxury for our budget but Steve assured us that he had told his boss he was entertaining clients and drinks were on the him. Very classy with fantastic views of the skyline and then a few drinks in Reppongi Hills and home via Taxi after missing the last train.
Day three began slightly later and in trainers!! and being frugal travellers we headed for the free viewing platform of a skyscraper in Shinjuku ignoring the closer by option with its 3 quid price tag. Today was very hot - 35plus - which made the going hard so various trips to our new favourite bars Kirin World - think Japanese Cheers - to cool down, more conveyor belt Sushi and
Tokyo fish market
to put this into scale, the mussels at the front are as big as my head, and still moving !!!!!
a trip to the red light district where if its Pink it means its Blue and no doubt much less to see here than when we reach Bangkok.
the evening was spent in Shibuya and some underground cave like restuarant with shoes off and sitting on the floor and then a few more drinks in kirin world before back to base and bed.
As we write our bullet train to Kyoto awaits as does a trek across Tokyo with our backpacks to the station. I must say Carla looks very comfortable in hers but when i catch a glimpse of myself in shop windows i look like a travelling Zombie based on how the bloody thing makes me walk lurched forward with my arms straight out !!!
Tokyo has been amazing although difficult to put into words, it really must be seen to be believed!!!!
next stop Kyoto
There are more photos below