AH...The blessed day off. We had so many recommendations to follow up on and only one day to do it. We caught the train outside of Gate 4 at the station Soubudai Mae. Our first thought was to go to the Times Square version of Tokyo in Shibuya. Our first run in with the train system was confusing but we were not without help for long, as some of the locals were more than eager to point us to the Shibuya district. Koza-Shibuya is where we ended up. It was a little suburb that shared the name with the big district. But again, we were helped by a local and quickly realized where we had gone wrong.
I had a novelty/public Asahi beer on our way back to the station, and we quickly got back on track.
Our good friend Chris Quinn filmed a scene of his music video to "Love Song" which you can find HERE at Shibuya crossing. About 1000 people cross at every light. He recommended we go to Starbucks and people watch. That's where this picture comes from.
I kept my eyes sharp for Japlish, the often comical mis-translation of Japanese to American phrases. I found many. The fashion here is razor sharp, and has some hilarious prints. It's a shame the T-shirts were $40-50 each. We weren't going to pay that amount of money for silly shirts.
We were getting pretty hungry by this point and found a restaurant on the top floor of a business complex. In many shops, we have to go up or down and all around to get to them. (they build things UP around here. Only %20 percent of the land in Japan is suitable for developing.) We dove in to some Sashimi and Sake which was unlike any we had ever tasted before. Not so much the fish, as the crazy ingredients they gave us to combine it with. The Wasabi kills, and they don't give you much of it for good reason.
With our bellys full, Akihabara, the electronics district was our next spot. If it beeps, computes, or plugs in, they sell it here! We even came across a store that sold only Extractor fans. It was that diverse. One such store caught our eye called Discount Amusements. We love a good bargain and are easy to amuse, so no brainer here. The first two floors were dedicated to Pachinko machines (disguised gambling...it's illegal here and centers around pin balls), with the next two containing various video games and slot machines. Above them were the fashion levels, where I almost bought some really off-color T-shirts, but then decided I would never wear them in public. Appliances were above these floors, then more video games, and finally some very strange school-girl show. It was in effect like a Miley Cyrus thing, but with a group of Japanese girls dressed in school girl/maid outfits. Steve and I took a picture with some of them outside of the venue. After that, it was many escalator rides down to street level again and on our way we went.
Finished up in Roppongi, the night-life district. The sun had set by now and the neon lights were in full flood. We saw a club called the Motown Bar and thought this was perfect for us. However one expensive cocktail later we were out of there and moving on to Bar Matrix, down a side street. 500 Yen happy hour was all it took to get us in there. Both bars having seen us as its only customers, we moved on again, but were stopped by the owner of the Matrix who attempted to hustle us down an elevator to a gentleman's club. We were hungry for something else if you know what I mean and passed him off, but got a sweet tip for a nice Sushi Place.
We had our second round of fish and wasabi and practiced our Japanese to great effect. They could actually understand what we were communicating. Go US! Passed a McDonald's on our way back to base and I had to get the Mc-Hot Dog. Yes...they have that. Why not here!!!? It was pretty bangin," and very cheap.
So no souvenirs I'm afraid! We did try VERY hard. But, nobody wants a wireless mouse that plays 36 different national anthems do they? We fly out tomorrow for Hiroshima, and will continue the story there. This is Matt saying good night. Good night.