Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Do The Japan! March - April 2013

    Another trip back to Japan, and more photos in between drunken bastardry.  It's been one year (and a bit) since I was last in Japan.  What's changed in Tokyo?  Lots.  Tokyo is the city that is constantly rebuilding, and if you're not careful, it will all go and be replaced with something even weirder (apologies to Douglas Adams).

    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.

 Hanami.  Cherry Blossom Season.  Nicely timed. 
  Hentai Chikan Dragon
 These Robots are driven around during the day and night, advertising the Robot Restaurant in Kabukicho.  They are a part of the show.
 Another Cho-chin (paper Lantern) shot.  My obsession continues.
 A sneaky shot inside a Kabukicho Host club.  Alot of the clientelle are hostesses who have finished their shift.  The boys all look like they're from J-pop bands.
 More sleaze in Kabukicho.  Glitter girls!
 I'm happy to comply, but what the hell it is I'm not supposed to do!?!
  A Super Mario Bar in Shinjuku. 
  Evangelion Champagne, available in the Evangelion shop in Harajuku.  Are you fan enough?
  A quiet stroll in Harajuku...
  Mobile Suit Gundam, Odaiba
  Melt Banana in Super Deluxe, Roppongi
  WTF?!? in the Robot Restaurant, Kabukicho.  LOTS more to follow...
 Velvet Worm rocking on in Shin Okubo
 The Zombie Walk, Roppongi
 Tokyo is a 2020 Olympics Candidate city.  The opposition is small and polite.  But to the point.
  Secret shot
  A very leggy dragon.  Just, you know, on the street.  Because Japan.
  Akihabara Donkihote.  Home of the infamous Akiba48. who do a regular show on the 8th floor.
 Gacha Gacha Pon vending machines in Ahihabara.  'Gacha' is onomatopeic for the sound of cranking the handle to get the capsule toy, and the 'pon' is the sound of the capsule dropping into the chute.  There are vending machines for nearly everything in Japan.
'Itansha' in Akihabara.  I seriously just googled that term.  I have known of the term 'Itasha' for quite a few years now.  'Itasha' literally means 'painful car' and refers to cars that have been decorated with anime, manga or video games characters.  I saw this motorbike suffering the same fate, but only now when I googled 'Itasha' did I just find out that the term has morphed into 'Itansha' for motorbikes and 'Itachari' for bicycles. 

My images do not belong to the Public Domain. All material in this portfolio is owned and © copyrighted by Peter Pascoe (Doctor Pedro). Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from myself is prohibited by law. All rights reserved.

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