A Travellerspoint blog

Honeymoon in Japan - Entry 6 Takayama

Subject: Takayama in the Japanese Alps

Hi everyone,

Brett and I are now on our second and last day in Takayama, a charming little town in the Japanese Alps. We are staying at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn called Antique Inn Sumiyoshi Ryokan. It is a cute 100 year old house on a quaint little street. The inn is filled with antiques. I know my father would love it here because he could walk right in and identify each vase, antique doll and life size warrior and let us know what period they are from and what they are made out of. Pretty nifty stuff!

We are finally living the more traditional Japanese life. Well probably not all that traditional really but if you compare this place to Tokyo we feel like we:re in a different country. We each take 2 showers and 2 baths a day (if you didn:t shower and scrub off before you got into the bath which is more like a jacuzzi they might shoot you or at least kick you out or send you the evil eye), walk around the town, check out the thatched roof houses in the folk village, eat sushi that is drove in fresh from the sea daily and stop by the local sake breweries to taste their local specialities. What a life!

The inn is run by an adorable husband and wife couple. The wife has already pointed out that she is shorter than the height of Brett's pants. She even picked up a pair that he left on the floor and held them up to show us that the waist goes above her head as if we couldn:t already see how petite she is. She:s quite a character.



We have a room right on the river with a bunch of tatami mats on the floor which is turned into a living room during the day (two chairs and a table) and a bed at night by putting a futon mattress down on the floor. Our hotel includes a Japanese breakfast which consists of pickles, rice, miso soup, miso paste over hot coals to put over rice, a small piece of salmon, two pieces of tofu and a few local vegis.

Last night for dinner we had some melt in your mouth sushi. We have finally been able to distinguish between a good and an amazing sushi joint- here is our test: salmon roe. Normally salmon roe makes me want to vomit, anytime I:ve accidentally taken a bite of that crap in Cali I:ve almost lost it. Here the salmon roe varies between fishy but not nasty and absolutely delicious. When it:s good its heavenly- a gift from Buddha even. In Takayama it was so good we had some for lunch today and my mouth is watering just thinking of those orange fish eggs. Mmmmmm...........

Life is pretty slow here. There isn:t much drama except when we try to figure out when to wear which shoes which time. In most places in Japan you have to take off your shoes before entering but it doesn:t just stop there. If that was the only rule we wouldn:t have any problem remembering that. Most places also have slippers for you to wear inside the house, restaurant, museum, whatever it is after you take off your street shoes. Brett got yelled at in one of the merchant house museums we visited because he first forgot to take off his shoes then he forgot to put on their slippers to walk around the house and to make matters even WORSE he also neglected to put on the museum provided outside shoes/slippers when we explored the rock garden in the back of the house. The woman was so fed up with him she hit herself in the head pretty freakin hard to show her frustration after his third shoe mistake.

Good thing he didn:t use the bathroom. Although I never saw this in Tokyo, most of the venues in Takayama including our inn have a third pair of slippers you use when you go to use the toilet. Each of these slippers says *TOILET* on each shoe. WHY?? Either they don:t trust the foreigners to use the normal slippers in the toilet area or it:s written in English just to be cool like those menus I told you about in Tokyo where only the headings are in English. !Que guay!

Brett and I have both also gotten in trouble for leaving some shoes in our room on the floor instead of in the intermediate area between our room and our hallway. Whoops.

I understand not wearing your shoes in the house, borrowing the slippers is kinda cute but is it really necessary to put on a third pair of shoes just to enter the bathroom? I guess so.

Everyone here continues to be blow your mind kind. The world would be a better place if Japan wasn:t the only country where if you go into a yogurt shop just to use the toilet and don:t buy anything, each and all of the 5 employees chant *Thank you so much! Thank you so much! Thank you so very much! Oh thank you! Oh thank you thank you!* on your way out the door. Talk about hospitality.

I think part of the shock is just being in a country that is actually safer than the US instead of somewhere that you have to wear a money belt with your passport, a fanny sack with your cash and a undercover money belt necklace contraption under your shirt and some extra robbers cash in your bra just in case.

Did I mention that we don:t even have a key to our room here? You just leave the door unlocked with your passport, all your cash, etc... apparently nobody here steals. I would feel totally comfortable taking 10 grand out of an ATM here and walking around counting it all day. I:m sure nobody would even bother me. According to Nels, our local guide/expert the only thing that people steal in Japan is generic umbrellas. Apparently there is some unwritten rule about umbrellas where if you see one you can just take it. Maybe thats because the Japanese are really worried about their hair frizzing up in the fog like my mother is.

Come to think of it that theory makes a boat load of sense. In Tokyo we saw some of the wackiest hairstyles outside of Beach Blanket Babylon. A lot of girls in Tokyo, especially those 30 and younger are into this hair^do where they take their gorgeous super thick hair, add in some extensions, curl it up like they are going to an 80:s prom after party and walk the streets at 2pm on a Monday or Tuesday.

Some of the guys are even worse, I:m about 98 percent sure that a large majority of Tokyo:s hipster population owns ceramic hair straighteners and I:m not just talking about the ladies. Ceramic hair straighteners originated in Japan anyways. I don:t know where a lot of my sorority sisters would be today without the invention of the Japanese cermanic hair straightener. We sure don:t take those devices for granted now, do we?

Some of those ladies in Tokyo do have some great style though. Super unique and edgy. In fact, today I was listening to the Gwen Stefani song Whatcha Waiting For on my ipod when I finally understood a line I never interpreted before *YOU HARAJUKU GIRLS DAMN YOU:VE GOT SOME WICKED STYLE*

Harajuku is the area of Tokyo where all the teens come out on Sunday dressed in Anime. Gwen Stefani even has a perfume named after them. Just a fun fact...

That:s probably enough info for now.

Posted by bjmorris14 14:31 Comments (0)

Honeymoon in Japan - Entry 5

Subject: Man Boo- a comic book hotspot with the web and all you can eat strawberry ice cream

That:s where we are right now^ MAN BOO, an Internet comic cafe where woman get a 33 percent discount and there is all you can eat strawberry ice cream. Not sure why woman get 30 percent off, I get the idea of letting girls in free or cheaper to clubs, bars, and other venues where the fact that there are a lot of them there can draw in members of the male population who will then spend money to impress the ladies. How does this work in a web cafe where everyone has their own room and you can:t hear or see anyone else?
Well maybe they are discriminating a bit- Brett:s room apparently has a bean bag and in my room I have to sit on the floor and type. It:s cool. I haven:t been craving a seat on a bean bag since seventh grade anyways.
This isn:t the only thing about Japan I don:t get. Another is that most restaurants have a few words of their menus or the name of their venue on the sign outside in English. Like you might walk into a restaurant called Razzle Berry (there really is one called that a few blocks from here) where the sign is in English and you open the menu and the headings are in English- they read DRINKS, FOOD, COCKTAILS, etc... but nothing else is in English and nobody in there speaks more than two words of our language. This is totally understandable. I don:t speak any Japanese but it:s just that in San Francisco we normally don:t try to trick foreigners into coming into a restaurant where they think someone speaks their language or they have a Russian or Arabic menu and then when we get them in there say GOTCHA...
I especially felt this way in Razzle Berry because they played this song *RAZZLE BERRY Oh feels so right RAZZLE BERRY Oh feels so right RAZZLE BERRY RAZZLE BERRY* on repeat and it was just so annoying I can only imagine how the employees feel.
Thank GOD that most of the menus here have pictures. The sad thing about that is we just order whatever there is a picture of and probably miss out on the stuff that wasn:t in the restaurants photo shoot. I really can:t complain though. Almost all the food here is EXCELLENTEEEEEEEEEEEEE and a lot of places do have English menus- not that I expect that but still.
We:ve stayed in two parts of the city- Shinjuku which was closer to some of the cooler bars and restaurants and the toilet museum and Shibuya- the teen mecca (we came here to further explore our obsession with HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THREE and Miley
Cyrus who we see as an apostle of Michael Jackson) where our room had a view of the crazy intersection that you see in movies that portray Tokyo- that quintessential Tokyo experience. We are also across the street from Shibuya 109, the department store where you can find thousands of young Japanese woman setting some very interesting fashion trends. Leopard tights, floral shirt, striped tie and black top^hat barrette all on one girl. Sure. Som絵おfてぇてぇmてょうghぉおkそくて。
The one thing about our Shibuya hotel and experience in general that really disappointed was that although the room was more expensive we had a WAY worse toilet. The toilet in the hotel in Shibuya didn:t even warm up. Even crap Indian hole in the walls have warm toilet seats but not this hotel. Luckily there was a sticker on the toilet that explained why we had such a crap loo. It read **This toilet seat doesnt get warm because it doesn:t use electricity. The operation method is different from the one that doesn:t use electricity. Please look at *How to Use the Shower Toilet**
WTF_? First of all that statement makes zero senセせ
It first talks about why it doesn:t get warm and then compares it to a toilet that you think would ゲt
be cold........... I:m just on the verge of calling the front desk and getting a real legitimate answer to why our toilet seat doesn:t warm because now that:s come to be something I expect in even the seediest of establishments.
How Tokyo has really raised the bar for us!!!!!!!!!!
NOT THIS AGAIN.... this time the computer doesn:t even have all the letters some have been rubbed off. Ok here I am back in the right browser. And by the way this place is really racking in the ladies. I can hear a bunch of girls giggling outside my little room. Cool. Not sure if it was the strawberry ice cream or free comic books or all the hot rods who are spending their Saturday night reading comics and surfing but I guess it:s working....
The other night we spent three hours singing our hearts out in a karaoke bar, not something we normally do in the states outside of the privacy of our own home but it was so much fun!
Today we went to this area of town Harajuku where all the lonely teens/tweens come every Sunday dressed up as either french maids, monsters, brides, Little Bo Peep and other characters. They all gather near the Harajuku train station and pose for pictures with sleazy old Japanese men and tourists. I found it pretty fascinating although I guess it wasn:t all that different from some of the street kids I saw begging for money dressed as goths in Berkeley who I knew had two parents who were doctors and went to private schools...
But these teens were a bit weirder and some of them just actually scared me. I heard they weren:t shy in front of the camera so I asked to photograph some of them and when I did I kinda got freaked out. One of them was wrapped completely in black bandages except for one bright turquoise eye that was exposed to the world. Only in Japan can you celebrate Halloween every Sunday. Their parents must be proud! The strangest part is that they all have a carry on size suitcase with them- not sure if that is because they are changing their outfits mid-day or because their parents don:t know their sweet little tweens are undercover sluts and monsters.

Harijuku girls, damn they got some wicked style....

Harijuku girls, damn they got some wicked style....

So we met these nice Japanese guys in a bar who were able to break down the whole Swine Flu extravaganza for us. Apparently only approx 3 people in Japan actually have the disease but it:s still become kind of a FAD to combat it as a team. All I can say is that the next time I get the urge to play with cats I:ll just mosey on down to the nearest San Francisco SPCA where I:m about 99.9 percent sure that I can stroke a few calico cat]s backs without being quarantined in the washroom where I:m forced to take a sponge bath in front of a complete stranger who acts like I already have the H1/N1 virus.
It:s just so confusing- you go into a cafe wondering whether you are paying them money to play with a bunch of lame cats or whether you are about to operate on an animal who has already been diagnosed with scabies and rabies. If that cat cafe BS was the protocol one has to go through just to play with a few kittens you can only imagine how long it takes brain surgeons to wash up before surgery. Holy Moly!
There are so many amazing things to do in Tokyo, just walking around we have stumbled upon some great activities. Today we ran into Brazil Day in Tokyo. I know that Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan but I wasn:t expecting to walk into a festival with Brazilian food, samba, martial arts, Brazilians, etc.... it was so much fun- we spent a few hours walking around, dancing, eating and drinking caipirinas.

Brazil fest

Brazil fest

Tokyo has really been an absolute dream- so much so that most of the time we wonder if we are dreaming or not... Where else do you find all these random てぃんgs? You just cant make this stuff up. Most days I wake up and have to check my video camera to make sure I didn:t just dream this all up. BUT REALLY What else would you expect though from a country where the Prime Minister:s wife, in an interview with CNN told her countrymen that she flew to Venus on a flying saucer, her husband has been too, she eats the SUN and she wants to do a movie with Tom Cruise because they were friends in a previous life. Not sure if that:s made headlines in the US but just like a lot of other things we:ve found by exploring Tokyo:s nooks and crannies, it:s pretty interesting!
We:ve spent an entire week here- 7 nights and tomorrow we are moving on to more tranquil cities where we might be less likely to encounter bartenders who try to make sexual advances on our drinks.

Love hotel

Love hotel

Sometimes 2 mikes are better than 1

Sometimes 2 mikes are better than 1

Karaoke night

Karaoke night

Posted by bjmorris14 14:29 Comments (0)

Honeymoon in Japan - Entry 4

Subject: Tokyo take 5 or 6

Holy frogs legs-

What*s new since the last time Ive written? For the majority of y*all probably not a whole lot, had a few fun days at the office, some drama with your boyfriend, dinner with the family, cooked up a nice Italian antipasti lunch, etc... for us its an entirely different story. We:ve lived another lifetime in the last two nights since we left the Manga Manga web cafe and powder room.

We just love Tokyo and everyone who lives in this wonderful city more than we can explain in words.

Poetic, isn:t it?

So that night we left the cafe and I walked directly into the cat cafe next door, thinking Brett wouldn:t notice but he did... apparently some of the sake had worn off as he checked his stats on the web so we tucked into Arabian Nights- another gimmicky restaurant to have two more beers before Brett was tipsy enough to play with cats.

Not sure what it is with Tokyo and gimmicky restaurants but Brett and I are suckers for the Euro Disney feeling that makes us nostalgic every time we walk into one. Arabian Nights- get a drink while a life size genie walks by to greet you- CHECK, eat dinner at a combo candy bar, toy store, 1920s shogun Japan themed restaurant where you can buy veggies after your meal CHECK, have drinks in a bar where the bartender dresses up as a frog and acts out indecent acts as he pours your drink and you not only order a drink but a country he acts out that frog with as he serves you CHECK, eat heart shaped sandies and slurp lemonade at a maid cafe CHECK, pay 5 bucks extra to play board games with the maids CHECK CHECK CHECK....

BACK to the point- so finally after two beers and a picture with a GENIE IN A BOTTLE I finally convince Brett to go to the cat cafe. The cafe itself wasnt] as cool as I imagined. To be honest I just don:t think cats are that fun (sorry but they:re just not dogs) and paying 10 bucks to play with them for an hour was sort of a rip off............. but in the end we got our money:s worth when we experienced first hand the OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) that has been recently adopted here by basically 80 percent of the population since the SWINE FLU OUTBREAK.

From the looks of the subway station and the fact that roughly 10 percent of the population is wearing those white masks, you would think you were in the movie Outbreak and that not only did most everyone have the disease but also some weird mutation of it that was going to GET YOU FAST!

u get the point.

In fact, as soon as we just switched hotels in Tokyo from Shinjuku to Shibuya we received a MUY IMPORTANTE NOTICE in our hotel room that read as follows+


Thank you for your stay at our hotel.
To prevent the flu infection, we advise you to gargle as well as wash your hands, which is reportedly effective.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation**

(gargling will prevent me from catching swine flu- says who- Sanjay Gupta from CNN???) Apparently so.

Ok, so anyways, I:ve also seen instructions on how to wash my hands in most of the restrooms in this country. Everyone in America apparently needs a lesson because these folks are simply put not messing around with the germs on their hands. There is apparently a six step process that you should go through with the soap and we are not just talking lathering up your hands, don:t forget to go through each finger and especially your wrists as well.

So we get to the cat cafe, take off our shoes, put on their slippers and the hostess proceeds to take us to the sink where we wash our hands the American way, which apparently she just wasn:t too happy with so we were told to re-wash as well as use their container of Purell before we were actually allowed to step foot inside the cat sanctuary.

Fast forward ten minutes, it was pretty cool, we stroked a few cats including those adorable Persian ones with the smashed faces that are actually super duper cute.

On the way out we watched two Japanese girls wash their hands the right way. Brett and I were blown away. Five minutes later they had used about 40 times the amount of soap as us losers and were probably actually clean.

At this point I:m just confused. Did we never actually learn how to wash our hands or is this country just taking extra precautions. The way Nels explained it is that there are really no real problems in Japan the way there are in the US so when something like SWINE FLU comes along the entire country puts forth their best effort to combat the monster with ALL ARMS.

Pretty impressive really.

Cat cafe

Cat cafe

So after we got our washing skills put to shame we went to a Golden Gai bar called Lonely. It was at a Golden Gai bar the other night that we got to experience the Japanese version of the Bachelor- priceless. The Golden Gai bars are located on a few narrow alley ways in Tokyo. They are an impressive set of wonderfully unique watering holes, each of which cannot fit more than 5 or at the most 10 patrons at a time. Each one is different and has only one bartender who really has his or her entire life in about 100 or 200 square meters. You really get to know each bartender by spending an hour or so in their bar. Apparently some of them hate foreigners but Brett and I never were turned away from any of them and felt more than welcome at each one. Again, just gotta love the hospitality of the Japanese.

Brett and I stumbled upon the Lonely bar by accident. Just saw the sign, opened the door and walked right on in to find this adorable 70ish year old man whose life story could be read on the walls of this bar. His favorite Anime character, Tomorrow S was drawn in quite a few places, pictures of his friends, his favorite Japanese board game, music videos of him karoking to the Beatles played on a TV in the background. The best part was that this man spoke no more than 10 words of English but Brett and I were able to spend 2 hours in there with him and over a few Sapporos we learned about his life, the book him and his bar were featured in and who his favorite baseball player was. He even taught Brett how to play the Japanese version of chess. He was just too much.

Fast forward to today- we stumbled upon an Armani fashion show which was gorgeous and really interesting, then went back to the fish market Tsujiki, had some more AMAZING sushi. Hate to break it to you but the sushi in the US is for the most part an absolute joke compared to the melt in your mouth deliciousness of the fish out here. Even salmon roe, which is normally something that tastes like you ate a raw whole goldfish in the states is somehow really good here.... maybe its the years of training of the chefs and the proximity to the world:s largest seafood market... not sure what it is but its DAMN GOOD!

Then we went to Kabuki-Za, the famous Kabuki theatre to see an act of Kabuki which was so beautiful and really interesting. They even had a little headset that gave an English translation of what was going on. An entire Kabuki performance is about 4-5 hours long and we were not about to sit through that many hours of a play when we had gimmicky frog bartenders outside so we bought seats in the back row for just one act (it was only ten bucks- what a bargain!).
Apparently we got to see the most famous Kabuki actor whom Japan has labeled a **living national treasure** I wouldn:t have been able to tell the difference between him and the other men playing Geisha (all the actors are men by the way).

Do we have anyone like that in the US? Pres Bush maybe?

After Kabuki we went to the best bar I:ve ever been to in my entire life. LITERALLLLLLLLYYYY. In fact its so poppin I don:t know if you can call it a bar. It:s more like a way of life. KAGAYA. It:s run entirely by *Mark* whose crackpot behavior has made the bar famous. Lucky for my wonderful husband and I we get to the bar the minute it opens and get Marks attention for an hour and a half before the regular Tokyoites come in.



Mark is just his name for people like us who can:t pronounce his real name....Where do I begin? With the robot who Mark turns on to bring the obligatory hand towels to your table? The way Mark translates the menu by stroking it and telling us how sexy it is and explaining that not only do you pick a drink but also a country. I choose Soju with Green Tea and Brazil. Mark prepares my beverage than disappears into his closet where he dresses up in a Carnival outfit, he loads up his CD with samba music and comes out hollaring like a madman as he serves me a drink in a cup that shakes and wiggles every time you pick it up. Brett had to pour his drink out of a glass with a little boy peeing. Like I said, it:s a very interesting country.

When you want to eat you don:t get to pick what you eat, just what type of menu you order from, here are a few of the choices*

  • Hey master,

You know what today I:m feeling free, get me sothing.
Wow me
Bang me
You know what I:m talking about.... 2625 yen*


  • Hey master,

I wanna breake down tonight
I;m not tomorrow,
I:m no future,
Because I want to eat many, many foods
No limit to drink... 4200 yen*

Those are exact copies of their English menu... no jokes folks.

Then before he brought out the food he came out of the kitchen with a tray of different shapes and types of chopsticks holders. I choose an elephant and Brett choose a cat. Then Mark explained each of our choices. He said it was his way of fortune telling. The outcomes are too graphic for this email but I can divulge next time I see you if you:re really interested.

Here it is on You Tube but this is to be honest a tamer version. During our time at the bar he also set up a frog puppet show and told us and the entire bar to call *Dick* to come out. He then came out of the closet dressed as a frog and what happened after that you can probably guess...


When we paid the bill he brought it rolled up in a Barbie dolls mouth which he made Brett take out with his teeth as he exclaimed *Sexy BOY from San Diego! Sexy BOY from San Diego!!**

Ok it might be time to go but tomorrow is our grand finale in Tokyo, then its off to Takayama, Kyoto and Nara where we will continue to have more fun than we ever imagined....

Ahhhh Japan....

Frogs and ramen,

Sarah and Brett

Posted by bjmorris14 14:28 Comments (0)

Honeymoon in Japan - Entry 3

Subject: Internet, comics and hot corn drinks

Hey everyone,
Brett and I are to be honest a little drunk (don:t blame us, blame the 90 year old Japanese medical school professor who we met in Yakatori Alley at the Eel resturant- he was the cutest thing we:d ever seen and made friends with us by buying us a little painting of the eel store- how sweet is that) in a place where 50,000 Japanese live- where the web is their oyster and there are showers and free hot corn drinks. An internet cafe, and now I understand why. This isn:t your average Joe internet hot spot where a bunch of sweaty Americans gather to get their purses robbed from under their seat while they sip a 5 dollar coke.
Everyone here has their own room, some of them have luxury couches and showers and everyone here is really in their element with their favorite Manga Manga comic book and the web at their fingertips. We just paid two dollars a person to use the web, sit on a comfy couch and drink the nastiest thing I:ve ever had... a hot sweet corn drink that tastes even worse than it sounds. Sweet corn.................................... gross.
So what:s new in the last 28 hours? Last night Brett and I went to a *Maid Cafe* that is not as un-PC as it sounds. A bunch of girls are dressed up as French maids and you pay to eat in their resturant. Like a tame version of Hooters I guess although I:ve never eaten at Hooters. It was just bizzare though. We went for the novelty factor and because we wanted to eat heart shaped sandwiches served by women that call you Master and Lady. We didnt really go for that reason but they do call you that. There was even an English Available maid. When I asked her if her English was available she said it was. You can pay extra to take a picture with them and for 5 dollars extra you can play a game with them for 3 minutes. We did of course pay to take a pic and play this game where you try to knock the figure:s head off the plastic toy for 3 minutes. Brett won and got a sticker. This place was packed to the brim.... mostly Japanese men, a few Japenese teenage girls and one old white man. Go figure.If you can imagine a cross between Hooters and Chucky Cheese then you have a maid cafe.
After that we went to NINJA for dinner, a resturant where you go through ninja training before your meall、テェんエアt
I told you these computers are just jacked.
Ok I just had to back out of this browser and open a new one. Here I am.... sipping OJ and typing to pass the time until the Golden Gai bars open and until I can trick Brett to go into one of the cafes down the street so that we can play with kittens. I:m serious, I really want to go into one just to check it out. Brett is not as interested but it should only take another beer or so to convince him... like I said the most adorable 90 year old man bought us this painting and drank with us at the eel resturant for awhile. It was just too cool. These people are just too nice- we could move here if only it was slightly easier to learn a language that looks like an ancient painting.
So this Ninja resturant was awesome, the food was great and we were served by a Ninja. In the middle of your meal they bring over a magician to do some seriously unbelievable magic tricks ウィchあれ
LIKE I SAID JACKED!!!!!!!! I:m ready to leave this cafe because I:m sick of this computer switching the language on me at every turn.
Japan has so many nooks and crannies we were suppose to go to Hakone today, a hot spring resort town outside of Tokyo but we decided to nix that after I found out from Nels and the guidebook that I would likely be kicked out of the hotspring area because I would be mistaken for THE MAFIA. No,really. Apparently u are not allowed to participate in any of the public bathing activities here if you have a tattoo and I have a small one on my back so I を追うldべ outsted.
Sucks but it:s true.
So we are saving our hotsprings and bathing experiences for Kよと
Kyoto, Nara and Takayama where we are headed after our week in Tokyo
Not sure if its the drinks or the computer but this just isn:t working for me。。。
OK FOLKS てゃt輪sテェふぃなlstらwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Wow what is this? A computer game or the internet? I:m not sure maybe this game or the internet? I:m not sure maybe this cafe is trying to make the comic book theme a reality by playing tricks on their computers.
Whatever the case I just have one more fun fact to add- Japan is すch

Posted by bjmorris14 14:26 Comments (0)

Honeymoon in Japan - Entry 2

Subject: Tokyo- the more I learn, the more I love...........

Last night we went out with Nels, a Seattle native who I met at Skadden who is spending his year away from Skadden living in Tokyo in a 200 square foot rabbit hole. Supposedly it fits his needs. Interesting. I saw it today, it:s what you would call cozy but according to Nels he can have 4 people over for dinner. I:d love to see that. All of his furniture folds up- the chairs, the table, the bed, etc... but I just don:t think I could handle living in a place the size of my closet. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

With Nels

With Nels

Ok so as interesting as Tokyo is without speaking or reading the language, our horizons expanded infinitely last night when we got to spend an evening with someone fluent in Japanese (Nels). We first went to a bar that was about 100 square feet and held the contents of the bartenders life in one little space. There were six seats in the bar and space for a midget couch, a dart board, a small fish tank, a small turtle in a small cage (turtle was about two inches long and the cutest thing- bartender said he won the turtle at a fair and heard turtles were good luck for your bar), a TV, a toaster oven, a skillet to grill appetizers, alcohol, tons of toys including hot wheels, a giraffe gun, Super Mario Brothers figures Mario and Luigi, etc...

We spent a few hours talking through Nels to the bartender and other patrons, watching Japan:s version of the show the Bachelor (well the Bachelor on roids because in this version, instead of eliminating a group of ladies over a few months, this show eliminates the ladies over 40 minutes and at the end of the show one of the lucky ladies marries the bachelor who she knows nothing more about than the fact that he is a so-so Rocks, Paper, Scissors player and what career path he:s on and his salary). At the end of the show the two sign a marriage contract. Interesting. Apparently once the Japanese in Tokyo turn 30ish, if they are single it:s not uncommon to do this outside of a reality TV show. (by *this* I mean find a mate through a dating service of sorts where you see a picture and know how much money they make per year and where they are employed).

After the bar we headed down the street only to find some more interesting activities. In big Japanese cities you can pay between three and nine dollars an hour to go into a store where you play with cats and kittens. Ummm ok. And these stores are conveniently located next to where all the fun bars are in Shinjuku and other areas of the city so I guess that means you can make a night of getting drunk and playing with cats. WHY? I just don:t get it. Apparently most people here don:t have cats in their apartments so this is a way to get a quick kitty fix. I just have to go see this before we leave- I tried to go last night but Nels said the place we walked by was charging 9 bucks an hour and was really overpriced, according to Nels, in other neighborhoods we would be able to get our fix for only 3 bucks an hour.

So after a few drinks and browsing cat cafes, dungeon and dragon themed restaurants, karaoke bars, the red light district and cafes where ladies pay men about 50 big ones an hour to sit down and hang with them and kiss their butt we decided to go eat at a 1915 through 1980:s shogun style Japanese restaurant/variety store/random place that looked like an interesting establishment to get a quick bite.

So we walk into this restaurant or whatever you want to call it. This is Japan;s version of Mels diner but it:s just out of control. First we walk in and we see the themed stuff- old style life size pig figurines, etc... We are greeted by the host who walks us through a toy store, then a candy store with themed candy and toys that are suppose to remind the patrons of their childhood (or their parents or grandparents childhood). I have Nels ask her what her favorite candy is and she hands us a packet of rice cakes with plum jam to take to our table. She then tells us that the restaurant also sells vegetables and cigarettes and she will be leading us to a private booth. OK so we are here to eat, if I wanted candy I would stop by 7-11, if I wanted toys I would go to a toy store, but why the heck would I want to buy an ear or two of corn? Not sure but I guess there are some Japanese folks who want it all in one place at one time.

Man I love them!

Finally we walk down this really cool themed hallway into our private booth which was suppose to be an electronics store. We sit down, tap the buzzer on our table and a waiter comes to take our order. After I order I go to use the loo. I had taken off my shoes before I sat down in the booth and was told that I should use the pair of slippers to go to the restroom instead of putting my shoes back on. This struck me as a bit odd but I thought hey at least I feel at home here. The bathroom wasn:t quite as crazy as some of the other ones I:d seen, the toilet seat didn:t open automatically when I opened the stall door but whatever at least the bathroom had a basket of toothbrushes and toothpaste. Why? I have no freaking idea. Maybe the bathroom was suppose to be dentist themed, it wouldn:t have surprised me at that point. The entire restaurant was so bizarre I felt like the author of Alice and Wonderland who apparently did acid before he wrote the book also designed the restaurant. So I brushed my teeth just because I could. My breath was ok but I just figured- WHEN IN ROME.

Moving along to another fun topic- 7-11 and AM PM, too much good stuff. Why is 7-11 in every other country just so cool? I don:t know but I feel like I could make an evening out of sampling the food and treats in there and just checking out all the random stuff they have in there. Brett ate lunch there today and my friend Mike told me a story about when he was living in Japan and went to 7-11 on New Years Eve. Apparently they were in the process of throwing out everything in the store from the previous year and so Mike and his friend asked if they could have everything that wasn:t spoiled and they said sure. He said he had enough food to last him for the year. Again- I just really don:t get it. I guess they just take Spring Cleaning to the next level. All day I keep thinking about this story and cracking up.

Today I bought a pair of 5 finger socks. They:re blue and say Chu Chu on the big toe. I just wanted to see how much Brett loves me so I put them on and threw on some flip flops over them and told Brett I was ready to hit up the next activity. He said he refused to be seen with me in public with the toe socks. Oh well....

What:s next on our agenda- searching for Sumo wrestlers (apparently in addition to watching them fight you can join them for a meal which I:m sure would be fun), the Ninja restaurant for dinner, visiting a maid cafe where all the waitresses are dressed as french maids, checking out an Internet cafe (apparently 50,000 Japanese live in Internet cafes to save money on rent. According to Nels, you can sleep there for about five to fifteen bucks a night and they have everything you need. I:m sure they don:t have everything I need but who cares). Where else in the world do people sleep in web cafes just for fun? Weird but again after I saw the kitty cafe nothing really surprises me.

I could spend a year here, going to a different oddball venue and sampling the local culture. It:s just too much fun.


Posted by bjmorris14 14:12 Comments (0)

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