Tokyo

Where do I start… for a three day soiree we (Me, Loz, Danielle and Allen) managed to take on a heap of what Tokyo has on offer from the very traditional side of life to flat out strange by anybody’s standards… seriously I mean STRANGE, more on that later. For me there were a few obvious highlights – Sumo Wrestling, Golden Gai and the lunatics that reside in Akihabara. Oh and the food, the food is bangin’.If you ever get the chance to see a sumo tournament – do it. We were lucky enough that there was a Grand Tournament on at Ryugoku Kokugikan while we were there and it was completely surreal.mAccording to Japanese legend the very origin of the Japanese race depended on the outcome of a sumo match. The supremacy of the Japanese people on the islands of Japan was supposedly established when the god Take-mikazuchi won a sumo bout against the leader of a rival tribe. That’s all very interesting but at the end of the day it’s entertaining as hell watching a couple of 200kg+ monsters throw down. You can also take in a stack of beers and food and make a night of it. It’s a hard thing to describe but it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve had the opportunity to witness. Do it, do it, do it.

The Golden Gai is a tiny little spot hidden away in the boondocks of Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s happening suburbs. You can almost mistake night as day in Shinjuku from ridiculous quantity of lights pumping out megawatts of neon. Golden Gai however is quite the opposite. It consists of half a dozen streets too small to drive a smart car through containing around 200 tiny bars that would fit no more than 6-8 people.

The story goes that the Yakuza burned down most of the buildings in Shinjuku but the Golden Gai area survived because some of the locals took turns guarding the streets at night, so it remains as one of the only really traditional areas of Shinjuku.

Some of the bars will only let you in if you’re a regular or invited in by a regular but the couple we poked into were more than happy to have us. The first one ended up being owned by an Australian guy so the place was full of stuff that everyone is Australia secretly hates, VB for example. Midori (the bar tender) was awesome though and she hooked us up with directions to a few good places to get to while in Tokyo, Loz even taught her how to use some sort of fancy glass holder.

Lauren and I then headed to another bar, which is in the running for the craziest bar I’ve ever been to. Chandeliers, deer heads, disco balls etc – all way too big to fit in that bar but Nori was a legend and he helped us sample our first hot sake in Japan. Fun times walking through the random little streets at 1am on a week night to the sound of belly laughs emanating from every little door, doors so small that even Lauren has to duck on the way in.

Akihabara… wow. This is where all the crazy anime and manga kids hang out. It’s technology central and busy as hell. Midori (our bar tender from Golden Gai) told us to go here and have lunch at one of the cafes because they’ll draw stuff on your food with ketchup – who were we to doubt how much fun that would be?!

So we headed off and went to lunch at the @home cafe. I assure you, I felt as far from home as possible. Let me put you in our shoes, we catch the lift to level 4, get out and are stopped at the door to read the rules before they’ll let us in. No photos of the maids (that’s right, maids, dressed as anime characters), you’re only allowed to stay for one hour etc etc. At this point we were wondering if we were going for lunch or something more sinister.

Anyway, in we go and we got to choose from a set menu that included a drink, a take home souvenir and either a) a game with a maid or your choice, or B) a photo with a maid of your choice. Again highly uneasy about whether this was actually a lunch venue. The fact that food wasn’t on the set menu also failed to ease our comfort levels, food is on the other, special menu apparently.

So Danielle and I got a game with a maid which turned out to be a three minute session of Connect Four for Dani and me stealing bones from a plastic dog. Allen and Loz got a photo with one of the maids and I wish I did too, purely to mitigate the most awkward, language-barrier-ridden three minutes of my life. I’m not sure what that girl was saying but I’m sure if I tried to say “Where do I put the bone once I’ve pulled it out of the box?” to her in Japanese our lunch would have been over much more swiftly.

The food was terrible, the games were strange, the photos were rubbish and the people were uber freaky. All of which made Akihabara awesomely unique in every sense of the word.

Oh, we also saw One Direction at Narita airport on the way out. Allen Campbell is without a doubt the biggest One D fan I’ve ever seen… I’ve never been so embarrassed for somebody in my life.

Enjoy Tokyo.

Definitely on the “To Revisit” list.

BT

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9 Comments on “Tokyo

  1. Fantastic photos Taylor!! Very jealous of the crazy adventures you guys are going to experience! The Sumo shots are seriously kick ass. Looking forward to the next installment. Lots of love to u and wifey xx

  2. Top notch beno. LOVE the photos. Lonny will have her work cut out when you get home knocking up the many awesome photo albums. Digging the hat loz. Super cute. Talk once you are in Canada. Safe travels. xanna & matt

  3. Amazing, amazing, amazing!!! You’ve seen a great mix of what Tokyo has to offer that’s for sure. Love the little bars you found and the sumo tournament looked brilliant. Great photos guys, keep them coming x

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