tokyo 032206 016Sorry i have been in such a “not blogging” mood, but i have been in a real bad state since i got back. I got back last saturday and of course was jet-lagged. As soon as that was over i realized that i had contrated some space cold from either the plane, the train or matiss. So i basically spent the last week at work and then at home sleeping or reading or eating my new fancy ramen soup combo pasta surprise.

So now that i am a little better (still spitting and coughing up scary stuff), i decided that it is time to blog up the time i had in tokyo. hah.

So i flew in to tokyo narita airport on the 17th of March (which is my parents wedding anniversary) and hiromi picked me up. We then took the train (around an hour and a half ride) to hiromi’s place. Hiromi lives in a rather small apartment - it is pretty awesome. It is two rooms stacked on each other, the bottom room has the kitchen, bathroom and laundry area and the top room is closets, bedroom and balcony. Its a pretty sweet little place and is apparently very different from most apartments in tokyo. The only thing scary about it - is the stairs from the bottom to the top - i would certainly fall down them if i lived there.

So anyway, i arrived and we just hung out that friday. i was pretty tired. hiromi cooked a really nice meal, which we ate. and then i went to bed. pretty early. The next day hiromi took me to a real nice park area and then on a cruise to see the big lantern at Asakusa Kannon Temple. It was big and there were some big sandles as well. The cruise was really nice. We rode in the craziest and slowest anime boat ever. Then we went to a really nice sea food resturant in Azabujuban . i had some excellent sashimi and some really great scallops. I also had about 1 billion drinks. I about passed out at the restaurant due to my sleep deprivation issues so we scurried on home. The trains in tokyo are clean, fast and always on schedule. So going home is easy and crowded ;).

Traditional punk rock japanOn sunday, we walked around and went to crazy places. We walked through harajuku. That place is exactly how i assumed it would be. Crazy, Full of people and hilarious. One of the things i saw over and over again in tokyo was japanese interpretation of things that originated in the US. Things like hip-hop, death metal, goth culture and the like. What was interesting is how the kids in tokyo had taken these things and ran with them, making them wholely different from their cross-cultural counterparts in the US. They had created their own hip-hop, death metal and goth scenes. It was awesome. I really liked meeting some of the japanese punks at the jimsinn store. sadly, since i don’t know japanese i wasn’t able to chill as much as i would have normally liked to do with the punkers. They did seem to be impressed with my mohawk ;).

Later that night we ended up going to a family resturant and eating. It was like a denny’s or IHOP - but it was ran by a button(whenever you needed to contact a waitress you pressed a button). I had a really bad stew, but the potatoes and the gravy was awesome. We then went home and i tried to take a nap but ended up waking up the next day. hah.

The next day we went to the craziest place ever. Akihabara. This was a place of dreams. It was full of crazy electronics, crazy girls dressed as maids and the weirdest stores ever. I spent a lot of time at the robot kingdom and the radio building part 2. I loved the component stores - it was my dream place. i always need those things and i dispise radio shack and i want them faster then ordering could help - so akihabara is my place apparently. and if i get thirsty i can go have a maid feed me… wtf.

Hiromi then took me to an excellent noodle shop. a really great place. I had the noodles that you dip into a nice broth. It ruled. My legs about snapped from sitting on them, but yea. it ruled. We then went to a nice sweets place tohave traditional japanese sweets. It was really interesting. haha. I liked it but i wasn’t really into the sweets as much as hiromi was. I had these weird (WEIRD!!) jellies and red bean paste. Quite good, but bad if you though the red bean paste was ice cream. hah. That night we went to most awesomest fast food resturant: mos burger. it was awesome. I had this little hamburger that had a sloppy joe-ish sauce, cheese and a tomato. It was easy and good. And not too expensive. I really liked it. It was also right by hiromi’s house and hiromi was able to eat there (being vegan+fish). So that was nice. Oh yea.. that day hiromi bought an electronics kit at robot kingdom and so she put it together with very little help from me. I will turn her into a nerd yet.

On tuesday, my 28th birthday, Hiromi took me to elvis ramen (on steve brown’s excellent recommendation). It was amazing. They had, like many places in japan, a vending machine that dispenses the ticket that gets you your food. Unfortunantly, due to my lack of japanese reading, i wasn’t able to read the menu - but hiromi picked out an amazing ramen dish for me. So good. I think that is the food i miss the easiest - it is something i could potentially see myself eating often. The best part was that it was called elvis ramen and there was no reason. No elvis effigy or picture or anything. Nothing. Just the name. awesome.

After the elvis ramen, hiromi took me to the tokyo station to get a head massage. It was hilarious. Because i don’t speak japanese and the masseuse doesn’t speak english. So i had no idea what was going on or what i was supposed to be doing. Basically i just laid there and she massaged my head and back. It was fun. Hilarious even. Hiromi had purchased me a crazy scifi book for my birthday so i read that while hiromi got a massage. I think hers was better than mine - probably due to the ability to converse and communicate.

My birthday was a weird day in tokyo - because it was a national holiday(spring equinox?) and everything was closed/holiday hours. We just helled about and went to really neat stores and neighborhoods. It was quite amazing really. I don’t usually get to see stores like that. So hiromi found this really great italian place called Via Nuova Rondo. It was a small italian place that served a great 3 course meal. It was really awesome. I love japanese interpreted italian food. Some of the best foods ever. ;) After the resturant we walked around tokyo and looked at stuff ;) it was pretty awesome.

tokyo 032206 029The next day was probably my favorite. I really like seeing crazy historical stuff. Like the taj mahal or insane human feats that are so foreign to the US. Specifically HUGE things. I love how big things get when people use their cultural or religious truth to back it. It is so awesome.

So anyway. Hiromi brought me to the Kamakura Daibutsu in kamakura. So cool. It is a giant buddha and is really quite big (as you may be able to tell from the quarter i am holding up to demonstrate scale). We were able to walk around the grounds and even go inside it. So cool. The town was really nice. A smallish tourist town - seemingly really legit. There was a really nice temple and quite a few nice places to see. There was a light exhibit - but i sadly wasn’t able to go (stupid birthday). We walked around and i took a bunch of pictures.

Hiromi then took me to a conveyeur belt suchi place. So so good. I love sushi and it was awesome to sit at a legit sushi bar and eat sushi made from a legit sushi chef. Really awesome. I had some really really good bonito, some great tuna and awesome salmon. So good. I loved it.I am glad hiromi took me there.

After that we walked around a bit and went to the temple and chilled. So nice and calm. I really loved the colors there and the weather was great. We then took the train back to tokyo. I read my crazy book and hiromi napped.

That night was awesome. We went to a fun sumo resturant that served Chanko Nabe. It was awesome because we had so much good food and really great people. Hiromi had invited some of her friends to hang out. They were really cool and fun. They brought us to Kabukicho to drink at a nice bar. We had japanese bar food and awesome drinks. It was so fun.

On thursday, I was feeling a bit sensitive to the time left - so i made hiromi take me back to akihabara to grab some gatcha gatchas. Such a weird place. ;) Then we ran back to hiromi’s place, grabbed lunch at mos burger. That afternoon we went to the coolest museum in tokyo: the Meguro Parasitological Museum. It was amazing. All parasites. Really freaky. and kinda gross. But awesome. totally totally awesome. Then we hooked up with a yoyo friend named black. He took us to a really amazing restaurant called christon cafe in shibuya. It was black’s favorite place to take special guests (i.e. girls). We had an excellent meal and some excellent conversation. So fun. Black got me a secret birthday cake. It was hilarious. totally a surprise. Then hiromi and i headed back.

On friday we went to yamanashi - which is where hiromi grew up. We had lunch at a neat resturant with her parents and i saw her home town. It was really nice. Hiromi and i are both from areas close to mountains. Heh. very similar places. Although in drastically different climates ;). One thing about growing up around mountains - it rather easy to forget that they exist. They become just the pretty background to your life. heh.

We then took the bus back to tokyo and ate onigari. So good. I read my book. and hiromi read and slept. It was neat to see the countryside. It is so very different then tokyo. So much quieter. it was very nice.

The next day i left and flew to chicago. So long.

All in all tokyo rules. it was awesome to see hiromi and to visit her country.  Quite different from mine ;). You can see the rest of my pictures on flickr. I took quite a bit and there are some fun ones.