Tokyo (July 28th– July 31st 2015)
During our stay back in Kyushu and Shikoku we used to check some Japanese TV channels. The most frequent programmes seemed to be sumo wrestling contests (non stop on Channel 1!) , TV dramas with samurai and elegant Asian ladies and – weather forecasts. Tokyo played the main role in the last mentioned; extremely hot temperature in the capital made lots of people search for refreshments in the swimming pools or city fountains and it was regularly broadcasted as such, to prepare us for the Tokyo`s heat. Once we stepped on the platform, extremely hot air immediately replaced AC fans that we felt on our faces during the chilled and pleasant trip.
Again very good directions from our Japanese host took us quickly to the appartment we were goin to live in. It was situated in Tokyo East, with a nice view on a river from the 7th floor. We decided to start «feeling the city» the same day and headed for Shinjuku. Well. We can say that we came to be a bit ignorant about the area, almost innocent.:) Someone called it Tokyo`s Red Light District: Girl Bars, fishy karaoke closed clubs, men standing outside and saying it to your face: «…(something in Japanese)….blah blah..it`s a beer garden!» Or «tatata…English menu»..hmm menu for what?:) We ate in the neighbourhood and ended up in a sports bar, small but full of foreigners (same devastated souls like us, have no idea where to go) and Japanese eager darts competitors. We sippped our beer and looked at the darts flying here and there and listened to the cheers of the excited locals. We also went to check where our «ROBOT RESTAURANT» was, as we would be having a dinner and a blast there the next evening. It was in the same area, very colourful, with pictures of manga ladies with guns and underwear, really awesome haha.
Our first Tokyo morning started with a breakfast in the neigbouring zen park, opened for people back in 1930-ties and visited by local joggers and pensionists. Quiet morning there with some proteins, carbos and coffee was a great start of another hot day in the city.
We were soon heading for the Imperial Palace Park with our subway one-day-pass in hands. Extreme heat was really unbearable, but we manage to fight it with cold C vitamine and ION drinks from those awesome automats, where you put your few hundred yen coins in and get your treat by the juice robot. Traditional fans were also helping a lot. The park is huge, nice, clean and green and Palace- invisible for the average non-royal mortals. You can see the old palace walls and ruins of the fortress from before.
Soon it was time for…»just like honey»…the famous scramble street crossing of Shibuya (you probably watched «Lost in Translation») with millions of people around made us swim forever to reach some shore on the other side. But which side? Tokyo made us often stand by the road as people and cyclists were rushing by, wandering where to go, taken away by all the huge buildings, billboards, lights and buzz! And then at some point you decide, ok let`s go there, and then you simply need to throw yourself into that people stream that flows forever in all directions (scrambled, indeed!). As the dusk was slowly covering city and all in it, we went back to Shinjuku and bravely joined the excited robot show crowd…
Ahhh what to say about theee ROBOT RESTAURANT! Crazy thing! First, you are put in some golden, extremely golden and bright coloured waiting lounge, and they sell you beer and popcorn and kids stuff (yes, it is a children-friendly Shinjuku show:). In the beginning everyone around was whispering «wtf» with mouth and eyes wide open as it has been a while since this kind of surrounding was cool. Like, «Power Rangers» cool. But do not let screaming Indians with rainbow hair and Oriental music take you back; soon it will start to be – hilarious! All kind of huge animals and robots filled the stage and fought with their heads and tales and fire and smoke above our dinners and beers and popcorn! And its all screams, and loud music and a real circus! And yes, you do get a light stick! Soon you find yourself crying to tears and laughing. You have your blast. And robots, the are really cool. They are huge and they dance and have funny scary faces. Some guys with a T-shirts saying «Robot staff» where manually controlling some of them with radios. Yeah, robot show!
We really needed to have a good rest after the robot show:) The next morning started in the same good manner: we got our breakfast and coffee in the local «Life» supermarket, where we and pensionists shop every morning. These older people are amazing and it is no wonder this country has so many 100-year olds! They cycle and hang out with friends and do shopping and are so active! Wanna be like them when I grow up!:) Some smiled to us in the shop; maybe they recognized us from the morning before? We became a part of the morning shopping team, it seemed.
Our next stop was Akihabara, the Electronic City. We spent there a few hours and Kjartan got his camera and we saw some robots and played video games. Lots of tourists, but fun to see. The afternoon was spent in another blinking and fancy area: Ginza. We experienced an extreeeeme rush in the subway in Ginza. It is 24 rush hours per day over there! Crazy! Don`t get lost! We had a lovely dinner on the 15th floor of a building looking down on the small people and small cars, wonderful ambiental music surrounding us as we sipped our shochu cocktail. We managed to hide in the building during the afternoon rain shower and discovered this oasis. That is when we actually completed the previous post.:)
Last night we went to the cool Tokyo area: Omote sando. We had beer and tortillas with parmesan cheese in the hippy outside student garden of a place called «Commune 243». What a wonderful ending of a relaxing day, we thought.
And then we received an email from Emirates welcoming us on board. Cool, we can check in online already now. And then we found out how much this summer made us carried away. We forgot to apply for the UAE visa! Darn! Drama started, calling here, checking there. Little sleep and forever- long train ride «as early as possible» to the Narita airport. Calling again, scanning passports, checking new flight companies in the meantime. Terribleeee. And 2 hours ago Emirates called, confirmed that we are eligible for visa and issued boarding tickets! We got happy and relieved like never before!! We can get on board tonight and spend a few hour in Dubai after all! It will be a short stop in UAE before we come home to Norway in 2 days. Greeting from Narita airport! k&d