Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FINALLY... Trip to Tokyo August 2011

12-17th August (last year - don't even start) – A trip to Tokyo with Julian!

Tokyo. Travelled with Julian, another Kiwi who I instantly bonded with a year ago. We have a drink at 9am before getting on the plane because it’s good luck and “we’re on holiday!” We get carried away with our drink, and are met at the bar by a frantic looking air hostess who tells us we are late (easy to find, we’re the only two foreigners in the airport) and then sprints in front of us for our flight. Cue us tipsily running down the gate to find the plane is only half boarded. Late puh-leez. Spend rest of flight muttering darkly about how many sandwiches we could have bought in the 9.5 seconds it took to board the rest of the plane.

Tokyo was UNBELIEVABLY HOT. So unbelievable. We were sweating within 5 seconds. We go through thousands of trains and transfers and then stop at a café for food because we are starting to get grumpy from lack of. (Okay this is perhaps just me.)

Upon arriving at the hostel (Khaosan, I recommend it) the VERY FIRST thing I did as an ambassador of NZ was to try get into a toilet, find the door “stuck” and shove it open, to find a (now) broken lock and a terrified Japanese girl.

Having arrived on a Friday night we go out to Roppongi – an area of Tokyo that most Japanese people avoid because it’s so full of foreigners. Ignorant me assumed foreigner = travellers. Was actually all Nigerians standing outside clubs trying to convince people to go in. I don’t know about you but if I have to be convinced to go into a dark room, chances are I’m not going to go. I feel like these places would do so much better if they were just more chilled and let the people come to them. Just sayin’.

Had dinner at an English pub, which was AMAZING. We had been googling this restaurant from Miyazaki, and the first question they asked was if we wanted baked beans with our homemade pies. Jesus wept. We had a few drinks and got talking to the bar waitress who had tattoos and we (I) ended up telling her to just run away with us. In front of her boss. NZ +1

Carried on, and went to a JURASSIC PARK themed club! There were dinosaur heads on the walls and a bunch of jungle greenery under the glass floor. Also big dioramas behind the walls like we were in a museum. We met up with Jono and Emma there, had some drinks, and made friends with a bunch of people. Went dancing, pretty chill night but quite fun! We ran for the last train and had great fun getting home in the fluorescent lights and heat like it was the middle of the day. 


Summer sonic. Got there about 2ish, watched some bands, ate some food, had some drinks. Sat down on the ground in the crowd during The Strokes because it was so hot and I had danced too much. Two Americans without shirts sprint from the crowd and party-boy me. It seems you cannot escape the party-boying, even in Japan.

Met Julian, got more alcohol and had HALF a caffeine tablet, and proceeded to go NUTS. Ran up the front of the Korn moshpit by myself, accidentally got caught in a mosh circle. Lasting bruises. Managed to sidle round to the side and get super close because Japanese people are so polite they just let you through instead of elbowing you back/trampling you down. Caught a guitar pick! When the set finished 3 small Japanese girls whose heads I had been sweating/hollering over turned around and said, “good shout!” They were up to my armpits. I feel for them.

After that we got more drinks and I was waiting for Julian somewhere when a couple foreigners without shirts rock up and start talking to me. Turns out they are from NZ and Australia, and play for a Tokyo rugby team. One of them swoops from an immense height and hugs me. It is Hugh Mcmeniman. I die.

After the concert Summer Sonic turns into a rave which goes all night. I manage to dance and hold out for about 3 more hours, but can no longer do anymore. I end up crashing in the city with our new friends, in a multimillion dollar penthouse apartment about 30 stories up. There is a bidet in the toilet and a wee motion sensor that lights up your path along the floor as you walk. Collecting outrageous experiences, one day at a time.


Sonic started again at 10am, we got there at 6pm. This is entirely my fault. I run into the problem that literally every foreigner does in Tokyo, which is that the JR train line and the subway are two completely different things with different stations. It takes me about 5 hours to get back to our hostel, after walking, catching wrong trains, unintentionally exploring Akihabara (the manga/cartoon girl central area), and weeping in the street. I finally arrive, shower, and head straight back out with Julian.

The second night felt super short, because we had missed the day, but we had a few drinks and the Red Hot Chillis were lovely and nice on my broken body. (My knee had swollen up from the night before.)  But I had a knee brace so all was well! We also managed to get surprisingly close to the stage! Again probably something to do with the height difference. We took the train home somewhat early, due to everywhere to eat/drink being PACKED, where an old man called me “Jiyu” in Japanese, which as far as I understand it means big ball of freedom. I can’t remember why, I think I was just sleeping while holding onto the train strap.

So sore. We didn’t move until lunch, and then went and got medical massages. The guy was like, “oh my god” when he felt my body. Unfortunately not in the “dayummmn!” sense.

Got sky cocktails on the way back in a swanky bar on the top floor and a bartender with a pristine white cloth over his arm (life dream), next to a building owned by Asahi which is LITERALLY shaped/coloured like a giant beer mug. Then went to the backpackers bar for a quiet one before a quiet night. Quiet one turns into rowdy few, then me running to the hostel to put on clubbing clothes and us running to the midnight train to Shibuya with 3 english guys. (The big famous crossing.) One of them was so drunk he was telling me he was Harry Potter but didn’t tell anyone because the fame was too embarrassing. We went to one small club, and out of all of Shibuya it didn’t even occur to us to try find another club, even though this one was tiny and only had me and like 3 people dancing. Whatever, this was 3 more people than Miyazaki.
At one point in the night, I turned around and our friends were talking to Panic! At the Disco. Like, the band. They’re surprisingly short/young? They just looked like lost little children, leaning against the wall looking at everyone, and left after about 5min. But they were there! I was too shy to say hello. They would know that all I wanted out of them was a photo to put on Facebook and show everyone, even though I don’t know their music and hadn’t gone to see them at Summer Sonic. So I didn’t, but they looked like total sweethearts!

Anyway, came out of the club, it was daylight. The same Harry Potter English friend who I was talking to the train was SO DRUNK. Probably one of the funniest drunks I’ve ever met. I want to go to England. He was rambling on about “the motherland” and telling passed out Japanese people about it, and they were turning away like he was crazy. It was so funny. At one point in the station he just stopped talking, looked at me, and screamed “OH MY GOD YOU’RE SNAPE YOUUU’RE SNAPE” and started running. The trains weren’t going yet so we got mcdonalds, where he proceeded to knock his mates fries and drink on the floor, then steal my own, then his friends. He ordered a burger but it never came, I think he was so drunk he lost it. I’m not even kidding.

Finally got him on a train, and he threw all his coins on the floor because he had spent all his money at the club (like 250pounds) and was like “TAKE IT ALL JAPAN!” haha. Then he started running out of the train at every station and running back in before the doors closed. This was extra funny because he had NO MONEY and wouldn’t have been able to get to the hostel if he didn’t make it.

Anyway, hostel, passed out.

On our last day we went shopping but I felt so sick that I had to go home early, which happened to coincide with Tokyo rush hour. You haven’t had a hot flush until you’ve had it on a train in summer with 50 million other people.

Food, DVD, sleep. A grandmotherly end to a wonderfully action packed holiday. Not mentioned in this blog are all the amazing foods we ate, and Julians inexhaustible patience. They really just go without saying at this point. 


  1. Hi, this is Saeko. Hope you remember;)

    So, WERE you actually in Tokyo last summer?
    And you ARE in Japan now? I mean, i thought you had already gone back to NZ! That's why i wasn't sure if i should contact you....
    Anyway, I'm so sorry that i couldn't see you when you visited Tokyo. But you seem to have had a good(in many ways) time , which is great:)

    I'm living in Tokyo, at least for next 2 years.
    So, I'll be very happy to meet you if you come to Tokyo again.
    Best wishes,

  2. Hello Saeko! Nice to hear from you! Yes I'm still in Japan but I will be leaving in two months :) If I come to Tokyo, I would like to see you! I have loved my time in Japan :)

    Hope you are well!


  3. Cool! I'm so glad to hear that you've loved your time here (*^_^*)
    I read the newest article about the VERY interesting zen experience you had. Sitting(seiza style, i suppose) for 3 hours! I had one-hour-sitting before(during my Kyudo club activity) and I know what happen to your legs... well, maybe i know PART of it...
    Anyway, you did something that most people never even try. Great\(^o^)/
    So, enjoy your time in Japan and hope to see you if we can (^^)v

  4. Thank you! Yes it was sooo hard but I'm so glad I did it! :)


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