May 2006 - Tokyo & Europe

  • # of hours spent at Karaoke = 4
  • of times Jonno has had problems with his credit card = 2

  • of hours spent shopping in Shibuya = 8

Our last 2 days in Japan have been just as crazy as the first. Yesterday we went out to Mitaka, to the Ghibli Museum (animated movie company that gave us Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle). Since I had already been there before it wasn't anything new but it still is a magical place where kids can run riot and adults can spend half their duty free allowance (ie. Jonno).

With Jonno's oversized Ghibli bags we stopped off at Shinjuku Time Square but didn't get much further than Kinokyunia and the amusing 'Making out in Japanese' books with extremely useful phrase such as "Atashi-ga ageta mono zembu kaeshite-yo." which is "Give me back all the presents I gave to you." Needless to say that was one of Jonno's silly (and yet awesome) purchases.

Fast forward to the evening and catching up with a few of Jonno's uni friends that now live in Tokyo. We met in Shibuya and I cannot believe I didn't find this place on my first visit here 2 years ago. What an unbelieveable atomosphere and SO MANY PEOPLE! Surprisingly it only took us 5 minutes to find our friends in the sea of people with no use of mobile phones.

From there we found ourselves in a dingy little area behind an arcade off one of the main roads. A tiny little restaurant with a half-sized door to match that people only knew about from work of mouth. Great Japanese food, probably the best we have had on this trip. Even better when you just sit back and let your friends order all the best dishes off the menu.

Moving on from dinner Emi pulled us into one of the many game arcades and insisted that all of us cram into one of those Sticker Photo Machines. With 8 different shots and 4 bonus shots (for reasons unknown) that run off a timer it was a quick course in choosing backgrounds and making funny poses in a matter of seconds. Is that it? Oh no, then you have to design your stickers, add text, pictures and draw all over the photos (set to a time limited like everything else). Mega fun!

Our final destination for the evening was the Karaoke Bar that they used in Lost in Translation. Not only did Emi find the Karaoke bar but she also managed to book the exact room that it was filmed in, 601. So we sang the night away (mainly me) singing in both Japanese and English. By the time we were done I was certain I would not have a voice the next day. Such a crazy evening, typical of being in Japan.

The next day we didn't sleep in as much as needed from the night before and caught a train to Shibuya. After seeing it the night before we knew we had to come back here to shop, and shop we did. We spent about an hour in HMV where Jonno suffered his first credit card rejection. At that time our stomachs were more important than Jonno's access to money so we wondered down to the huge underground food court in the Tokyu department store. Jonno ate Sushi and I tried my hand at Yakitori, little skewers of meat. I chose two chicken skewers and shortly after trying, Jonno tried the same one and said "I think this is Liver." Instant turnoff. Knowing he was probably right I just managed to finish my skewer.

The access to money became quite important so after grabbing change from your handy dispensers in one of the many game arcades we were on the phone to Australia only to find out there was no problem at all with his card. With that little problem ‘fixed’ and a coke in hand we went back to shopping. The shopping stopped when our bags became a rather annoying extension of our bodies as we navigated the streams of people. We stumbled back to the Hotel, where we postponed our plans for Shinjuku until tomorrow night, went and grabbed Hot Dogs and Iced Cocoa and lazed about the Hotel room opening all our purchases.


The Other 100 Yen... (part two)

Arubaito-o shita-ho-ga ii-ne.

Awesome night of food and karaoke led into another loaded day packed with shopping around this crazy city. I could write heaps more but ... sorry, we are watching some Japanese TV at the moment and are trying to make sense of it. Earlier we watched two guys duke it out in a boxing-esque match, think American wrestling... just real. Anyway, much to write about today but that will come later... need more sleep.

(the intro line translates to 'I better get a second job', which after today might be a good idea)