Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tokyo - That is going to be really hard to top!

Jen and I are sitting on the Shinkansen (bullet train) that is going to Mount Fuji so we can stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese style inn). The train ride is good because we need to wind down after another great night out in Tokyo with people we met at the hostel.

Before I get to that, I will do a quick re-cap on what we did during the past two days.

On Saturday (the day after our first big night out) we went to Harajuku to see Meiji-jinju at Yoyogi park. There we saw kids dressed up in cos-play (i.e. dressed up in crazy outfits), a very large Shinto shrine in the middle of the park, a Japanese wedding and took some amazing photos of the parkland with the metropolis in the background. To the left is a photo of one of the arches in the park. Jenni is standing on the right hand side of the arch. We even got to get a sneak peak at some people training in Kendo at a martial arts dojo in Yoyogi park.

After Yoyogi, we went to Shibuya (the same place we had been out that previous night). Shibuya is a girl's shopping wonderland. Jenni was delighted to go shopping in Shibuya 109, an 8 storey high very fancy fashion store. All of the girls in there were all really made up and were all wearing amazing clothes. It was like walking through a fashion show. After shopping we grabbed something to eat for dinner, bought a box of doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and returned to the hostel to go and socialize with everyone in the common area.

The following day, we got up at a reasonable time so we could make our way over to Tokyo station so we could go and see the imperial palace. This was rather disappointing as you cannot see that much because you cannot go into the palace grounds and the palace is obscured by trees. We did however; meet a very nice Japanese man of whom we had a conversation with (in both Japanese and English) about some nice places to go in Japan as well as some things for us to do in Shanghai.

After the imperial palace, we made our way back to Akihabara so we could have a walk through electric town. We walked through a couple of multi storied shops selling all sorts of comics, novels, DVDs, computer gear and video games. We were really surprised to see the unbelievable amounts of pornographic material in these shops. It is EVERYWHERE in Akihabara.

We also tried to get into a 4 storey high maid cafe but the line was enormous, so we decided to give it a miss and headed back to the hostel.

We quickly changed and headed back out to Shinjuku to meet some people for dinner. A group of us which included the same two English guys (Nick and Nick) and the American girl from the previous night (Elizabeth), as well as another American girl (Ellie), a Swedish guy (Joel) and two local Japanese guys (Yoshi and Yuya) all went to an Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant. It had tea cups hanging from the ceiling, playing cards covering the walls in the toilets, tapestries with the original text and illustrations from the book hanging from the wall and all of the waitresses dressed as Alice or the Mad Hatter. We all had a set menu and 'nomihodai' - all you can drink for a couple of hours. The food was delicious and the company was even better. Just like the other night, drinks after dinner evolved into more drinking games. Some of the highlights were a group of us singing happy birthday to Elizabeth, various members of the group having to remove items of clothing, lots of haiku poems and someone having to ask all of the waitresses to come in to take a photo with everyone in it (I don’t think they were too impressed, but we thought it was great).

The highlight of the night had to be when we left the Alice in Wonderland restaurant everyone except for one of the Nicks went down the elevator. The rest of us decided to play a joke on him so we all hid around the corner on a set of stairs, ready to jump in front of him and surprise him when he got out of the elevator. Unfortunately for some random Japanese bloke, Nick took a little longer to come down than expected, so the poor Japanese bloke got the scare of his life when he exited the elevator and Elizabeth jumped out in front of him while seven other people yelled out. But he was a really good sport about it and we all had a laugh.

After our nomihodai time was up, we moved onto another place to drink. The Japanese guys took us to a gothic prison themed bar where the waiter and waitress was dressed in prison outfits and we were all 'locked' in a cell where we continued the drinking games. All of the drinks that we ordered were served in chemistry set glasses like test tubes and beakers and had things like novelty eyeballs floating in the drinks. At one stage a completely random drunk Japanese guy burst into our cell and stole one of our drinks (it was obviously a dare from one of his friends). Elizabeth chased him out of our cell and managed to get the drink replaced with a full one. Everyone was quick to laugh it off as a bit of fun.

At this stage (about 3am in the morning) Jen, the two English guys and I started to make our way back to the hostel as we all needed to get to bed because we were checking out in the morning.

It was truly an awesome night out!

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