So what has changed. Fewer Pads and Tablets on public transport. In 2012, there were probably 4 or 5 people per train carriage using some sort of pad or tablet to while away the oppressive commute. This year, I reckon I saw maybe 2 in my whole trip. Ipads are soooo 2012.
Shimokitazawa Station has changed. The underground, 3 levels deep Odakyu line (from Shinjuku) changed from above ground to underground during my trip. I had one last use of the Odakyu above ground station early in my trip, then the next time I used it, I was suddenly in some deep well-lit, shiny subway station that took for ever to get out. The odd little market that was next to the old station is no more. Well, it's reduced to one little drinking venue on the North side, but everything else is eerily empty, awaiting demolition. And the South Side exit, where I spent years drinking MD Super Hops from the conbini, is now a fully functioning exit.
Tokyo Skytree is open for business. When I was there last year, it was pretty much built, but not yet open. Now, nearly a year later, and it's open. BUT. We tried to book a ticket for the observation deck online from Australia, and All. Of. March. Was. Full. When we got there and tried for the beginning of April it was All. Full. I guess I'm waiting till my next trip for those shots.
Coca Cola is still 150 yen for a 500 ml bottle. Still. That's about a dollar fifty in Aussie dollars. Australia gets raped for prices by Apple and Coca Cola, and many other things. It's pretty much double to triple price here. It's a very odd feeling to walk around 'the world's most expensive city' and wonder why things are generally so much cheaper than in Australia. I do know, having lived there, that there are living expenses in Tokyo that aren't apparent to visitors that do make it pretty seriously expensive, but it's still pretty outrageous comparing prices of things to back home. When I moved over in '99, everything in Tokyo was pretty much double what it was in Oz. Now, it seems nearly everything is cheaper.
My favourite eating hole, Iseya, in Inokashira Park, home of the best Gyoza in the world, is gone! The classic old building with its shit service, its smokey atmosphere and its grubby appearance, is no more. Iseya has reopened temporarily just past Yodobashi Camera on the north side of Kichijoji while the new building is being built, so I could still get my gyoza fix. But that ramshackle old building is gone. And that's a great loss. That building had such rare character. And probably serious health and safety issues, but that was half of the charm. It was an oasis of grunge and character in a sea of sterile eateries. Bugger.
And the Robot Restaurant. But I'll get into that in a subsequent post. Right now, here's a teaser. There will be more entries to follow. Stay Tuned.