Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Japanesia, here I came - Introduction

So, Japan... where to start?

Before we got there I was pretty freaked out about the time difference. I really like my sleep and the simple calculation that if I would have to get up at 9 am there, it would be 2 am for my body, did not make me happy. Oddly enough, because of the long trip my body was totally confused by the time we got to Tokyo, so the next morning I woke up body and mind harmonized, believeing it was indeed 9 am. But let me back up here a little to the first day we got there.

We arrived in Tokyo at 10 am, exhausted and with our bodies basically giving us the finger at every move. It seems my legs don't appreciate being in the same position for 10 hours straight - the nerve. It took us three or four hours to get out of the airport, buy a subway card, get to the hotel by changing two subway lines and check in.
I had been warned that in Japan hotel rooms have a tendency to sway towards the small side. But man, I wasn't ready for this. Let me put it this way: how they got the bed in there, I'll never know. We didn't even have enough room to open our bags, unless we climbed them up on the bed. Otherwise, our bath had everything it needed (other than space of course), the bed was super comfy, there was a TV that would supply many joyous nights of Japanese programming and most importantly, we had air conditioning.
We took a nap and then we went out with some friends Timo made via his company - gotta love international networks. It was my birthday, and I really couldn't have spent it better. We went for a walk in the corporate part of Shinjuku, then to a restaurant where you had to fish for your own dinner, and then to a karaoke place where they had rented us a room.

At the restaurant we had one of the best meals in all the time we were there. Me and Timo both failed at fishing, but one of our companions, Yamamoto-san, took only two minutes to return with the one we proceeded to call "Poor Richard". We had Poor Richard as sashimi, and after his bones served as very exotic decoration, they also turned into a soup, because Japanese people respect their food and nothing is wasted. We also had blue pickles (it was actually aubergines, but still) which broadened my food color palette.

The karaoke part of the night was a true "Lost in Translation" experience. I mean, these folk like their karaoke! So much so that there are numerous skyscrapers (yes, SKYSCRAPERS) full of private karaoke rooms you can rent for yourself and your friends. See, they don't like it our way, where you monkey around with an audience. They are private people. The song choice was so broad that it even got Timo to do a few duets with me - "Country Roads" by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and "Time Bomb" by Rancid. That's pretty good karaoke in my book any day.

So that was our first contact with Tokyo. I'm gonna structure my thoughts on this trip a little, since there's so much to say. I think there will be a post about the things we've done / seen that made the biggest impact on us, and another one on the things we found strange and different from what we know, culture and social environment wise. I was thinking of also making one with tips and tricks and practical advice on getting around, but meh, just ask if you're thinking of going there, I'm happy to help in private.

"Song of the day": Greg Graffin - Cold as the Clay.


Anonymous Crenguta said...

Oh,I just loove your hair!! And Timo's too. You two look like a great couple. I wish you the best of luck.
p.s.: I can't guarantee for my spelling, so sorry if I made mistakes

10:41 AM  

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