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Published: September 29th 2016
Biggest, largest and craziest....in Tokyo....where else!
Let's start with jazz though. You know, that soulless, pointless, endless nod to mutual onanism that goes on for hours, contains only one 'song' and involves lots of nodding to each other? Well, if you're going to import anything into this wonderful country, put that wayyyyy down the list. I had to put up with it in a Japanese restaurant yesterday, there was a band setting and warming up today in a square while behind me I could hear....jazz. Stop it please dear Japanese, you're better than that.
Usually the Japanese carry on in their own sweet way and, at the cinema, most of the films are homemade. The food is mostly Japanese too although disappointingly trash like McDonalds and those garish doughnut places have arrived. But mostly it's healthy Japanese food. I'm not sure the curry I had today was totally healthy as the pork was deep-fried but the rice and curry sauce were. It was all delicious though and it was from a chain restaurant-the largest curry restaurant chain IN THE WORLD! Not available in Europe....damn....
It's called Coco curry house Ichinanya in case
you're interested and makes the sort of Japanese curry we love back home although I think katsu is something we invented as there's no sign of it here and Toyo had no idea what it was. Claire had something equally tasty with aubergines in so she was happy.
The day started with an aborted trip to the Tokyo skytree tower as it was a bit misty up there and the view would have been rubbish. So we headed to Ueno park instead which must rival Central Park for size. It houses a number of museums, temples, lakes etc as well as a zoo.
We didn't get very far and I made the mistake of pointing out three cats. While I waited for Claire to take 4000 photos of them I wrote 12 volumes on thermonuclear preponderences for the 23rd century. Luckily there aren't many cats in Japan but that means I have only managed 60 volumes. Ah well, more work to be done when I get home.
We wandered a bit longer before heading for Yodobashi as recommended by a friend of ours. Basically it's an electronics store spread over 7
floors selling everything from cables to massive tellies and really expensive rice cookers. Oh and those round vacuum cleaners that potter around the room on their own. We didn't buy anything and the abiding memory will be the strange noises the security guards made to each other on the ground/camera floor. Very strange and you'd have to go there to understand. Off you go then....
From there it wasn't far to another cat cafe. Situated on the 8th floor of a building this wasn't as odd as the last one, had more cats but made no effort to sell us food or drink. Why is it called a cafe then?? There were other people in this one so we didn't feel quite as uncomfortable and I had quite a good poo in the toilet. Aside from that it was very expensive at about £5.50 each for 30 minutes and Claire used up probably a full 32gb memory card with pictures that some of you will have to sit through. Haha! Who's laughing now?!?!
Food! We found somewhere with no westerners in thankfully and sat round the kitchen area. I had a mixed sushi platter
and Claire had two kinds of veggie sushi. It was all excellent and not too expensive. We also got splashed by a fish as a big one in the tank behind the kitchen decided to try and make a swim for it and a few of us ended up wetter than we were before. Can't blame it!
After lunch we headed to the Imperial Palace, well the gardens and two famous bridges anyway. The emperor is apparently a bit funny about people trudging through his house so you can only see bits of his palace but I guess you have to go there. At least we saw more of this than we did of the former Imperial Palace in Kyoto on that cycle tour.
We nipped into the Tokyo International Forum to take a couple of pictures of this architectural marvel and then went back to the station to get the train to Shinjuku. Shinjuku is the busiest train station IN THE WORLD! Up to 3 million passengers pass through here a day and getting out of it isn't easy. We followed various exits and thought we were in some Japanese horror movie as
we kept ending up back in the same place....even when we followed the Skyscraper Exit.
Eventually though we did find some skyscrapers and, after the aforementioned curry, headed up the Sumitomo building which has a free observation deck on the 51st floor. It has a window so no clear photographs but hey, it's free. Other buildings round there really do warrant the name skyscrapers and some neck straining is necessary.
Shinjuku is also where the young and feckless come to hang out and the bright neon streets are ram packed with mainly Japanese. Even in the high-tech age the people here are still out and about, the cinema was heaving with people, the shops and thousands of restaurants are surviving. Compare that with the dying high streets back home, the dearth of shops and restaurants frequently closing and Japan wins again.
We walked past some robot restaurants which charged £48 to get in before you order food....so I can't report on those. We then looked for Golden Gai which is a district of 6 narrow alleyways and even narrower passages which contain about 200 bars. They are all very small, some
only having about four seats and most having a cover charge. A what!
Sod that, you obviously don't want my custom especially with the high drinks prices too. We found a punk bar but that wasn't open yet and a couple that said no cover charge but they were full...of beardy westerners. There was even one that said Japanese speakers only so they DEFINITELY didn't want my custom. We read later that a lot of them only cater for regulars, even celebrities, and most don't open until until 10pm or later. I was quite happy when we moved on.
We found somewhere in a busy neon square where we could people watch that had something nice to drink as well as beer for Claire. Usually all I get is a spittle of coke but was spoilt tonight as I had a strawberry shaved ice. Nice.
As we left there were three enormous video screens showing the last DVD release from J-pop sensations, Shinee. What do you mean you've never heard of them? They are basically manufactured pop pap but lots of young girls were standing around filming the screens that the
racket was coming from. At least it wasn't jazz I suppose and required a modicum of talent, unlike jazz.
As we got to the station there were some fascists having a demonstration shouting racist crap in Japanese. I'm not sure exactly what they were saying but thankfully there were protestors there holding up placards with anti-racist stuff written in English. I'm sure that was to show that they don't want the outside world to know that at least they are fighting this problem too and mostly good people inhabit Japan. We definitely know that having spent two weeks here and it's surprising to know that such hatred exists in such a selfless and polite country. I'll make the hate-merchant my peckerhead of the day for letting down a whole nation.
Sadly we have the same problem with right wing racist facsists back home with Britain First, UKIP and a lot of the Tory party just a few of the purveyors of such filth. You're not on your own in this fight Japanese majority. Poor old America has that Trump creature.
We then wandered some more neath neon lights and then caught
the train back home after yet another busy day....having walked over 11 miles.....
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