55 Days in Tokyo

January 14th, 2007

Woke up again early in the wee hours of the morning, the victim of jet lag. Stared at the ceiling for a while, then managed to fall back asleep. Woke up again around 9am and finally got a start to the day. During my shower I discovered that my right foot still hurt but my left foot was basically healed. Knowing that I did not want to hurt my foot more I decided to make today an easy day and not travel or walk as much. Took my time getting ready and watched some old episodes of Rome that I still have on my laptop from my last international trip. Took my shower and as I left I discovered my Japanese roommate was talking with some guy, language lessons I think. Left the house finally around 12:30pm bound for Shibuya.

The night before I realized that while the best way to get from Itabashi to Shibuya is to just stay on the Saikyo line, in reality most of the trains from here to Shibuya stop in Shinjuku, wait a few minutes and then turn around, bound back towards home. So I hop off in Shinjuku and get onto the Yamanote line. Arrived at Shibuya and started walking around, looking for a place to eat. I thought a good place to go was the rotating sushi bar I was at last night, so I tried to make my way there. Unfortunately, I got lost in the maze of streets going up and down all over the place. I discovered a number of out of the way love hotels and a small shrine. You often find more interesting things when you get lost and I get lost a fair amount of the time, especially in Tokyo. Sure, I remember old paths but often I only recall them at certain points in the day, either at night or in the daylight. Anyways, I finally managed to find the resturant by accident and had a nice lunch. Very filling.

Wandered into an arcade to watch the gaming, listen to the noise and keep myself off my feet. I simply love being in arcades over there. I could do without the haze of cigarette smoke but the overwhelming racket is just fantastic. Got myself another crepe and watched pixel avatars beat the snot out of each other. I wandered from arcade to arcade, watching the combat and soaking myself in all of it. Shibuya is a fairly large place and I covered a good chunk of it, slowing down periodically or sitting down to keep my feet happy. Found the electric museum but decided against going inside as there was some guy outside of it, screaming into a cone, trying to get people to come inside I think. Kinda self defeating sometimes. Anyways, I wandered around for a while, following crowds to see where everyone was going. Various shops were having sales, especially all the hip-hop stores. I am amazed by the sheer number of them in every district. The strangest find of the day was this cafe that offered male companions, all of whom were foreigners. I stumbled across all these photos of foreign guys holding hands or lifting up these Japanese women.

For those who are not familiar with Japan, cafes like this are common although generally the genders are reversed. You go into one of these places and spend an insane amount of money to have your companion pour you drinks and talk to you. Evidently this is big business in Japan. Men (and women) who normally might not be able to get companionship from the other gender have a place where they can go. If I were a more handsome man I might be able to do that profession, except for the fact that I generally dislike people and a job where I have to be very nice to them is not my idea of fun. That and I dislike the very idea of making my living at it.

My wandering through Shibuya continued through various arcades until 6pm came around and I decided I should eat before I went home. Not knowing exactly what I wanted to eat I just went back to the same sushi bar and ate there again. Must have confused the sushi bar guy to all ends to see me come in one night, and then come in twice the next day. After I ate I got onto the tram and got home close to 7pm. I was truely suprised by just how tired I was and fell asleep shortly after, deciding to take my shower tomorrow instead. Photos for January 14th, 2007