Continued from Tokyo Day 3.
Had to wake up earlier today to head to Tsukiji fish market…well, early as in 9am.
We had to find a new entrance into Shinjuku station today because instead of the JR train, we are getting on the subway. Notice that there are two subway maps. Yup, there are two separate subway systems here in Tokyo…you know, just to add to the confusion.
Subway gets us from Shinjuku straight to Tsukiji fish market. There’s a policeman(left of photo in blue) passing out maps to all tourists stating where we are allowed and not allowed inside the fish market.
Even a green path for us to not stray from. The frantic and rush here is immediately noticeable. It’s a working fish market and the men(always men it seems) driving around the little transport vehicles would run over us if it’ll get them to their destinations faster. In that aspect, very un-Japan like.
This is the inner market. It was a little difficult to walk around, even though it’s past the morning busy time already. I can see why they don’t allow tourists in here when it’s busy, we really do get in the way.
Photo doesn’t quite show it, but we really felt like we kept on getting in people’s way here. I probably took this photo because it’s one of the fewer moments when I actually have time to stand in the middle of the walkway and take a photo. We need to get out of here and head to the outer market where tourists are more welcome.
Odd to think that this is the biggest wholesale fish market in the world. This is also where they hold the tuna auction, but it starts at 4am and is only open to I believe somewhere around 120 tourists a day. Screw waking up early and waiting in line.
There are lots of sushi restaurants here, and some have long lines. This is Sushi Zanmai, and it’s actually a chain, but regardless, everyone queues up to a long line here at the Tsukiji location. We plan on eating at one of their locations tomorrow.
We didn’t want to wait in any line, and there were so many places all serving similar dishes with similar prices. Without any way of knowing which place is the best(actually, we did have a recommendation, but that restaurant gets lines that are over 2 hours long), we decided to eat based on atmosphere. One of these stalls down this quiet alley will do.
It’s a one person show here at this stall, just like most stalls here. She’s the chef, cashier, dish washer, etc. As she was making our dishes, we saw her taking ingredients straight out of styrofoam boxes like the ones we just saw at the wholesale market. From fish market straight into our mouths.
We mainly came to Ginza for one thing, and one thing only, to shop at the flagship Uniqlo store here. It’s the biggest one in the world, and it’s 12 stories tall. Since Tokyo is our last stop for our trip, this is where we’ll do our shopping.
It was quite nice, not too many shoppers here at this hour. It’s around lunch time still, so that may be why. There was a family of really obnoxious Chinese tourists in here though. I seem to always pick on the Chinese(but hey, I am in Japan where blatant discrimination is socially acceptable)…Their kids were Out Of Control. There were only two boys of around 7 years old involved, but they were so obnoxious that it felt like the equivalent irritation and decibel of 30 kids, all screaming because their favorite toys were set ablaze in front of them. I blame the parents.
Yes, there really are 12 stories of shopping to do here. The Chinese kids were so annoying that we decided to head straight to the top floor and work our way down to minimize the times that we would run into them.
Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the first things that RL noticed in Asia was that so many models on ads are of Westerners and not Asians. I guess it’s probably as unusual as seeing a lot of Asian models in American ads. Even though Uniqlo is a Japanese brand, with cuts of clothes(in this store at least) cut for Asians, the great majority of their models here are still Westerners.
Back in Shinjuku, of course, we took a different exit out of the station than any other time we’ve exited before. Anyhow, this building is Shinjuku City Hall, which is located almost right across from our hotel, inside the red light district, opposite from adult establishments, and a cross dressing club. Nice.
After a few hours of blogging and chilling in our hotel, we are ready to head out for dinner. Tokyo is very expensive, the most expensive city we’ve visited on this trip, but there are still deals to be had. For dinner tonight, we are heading to a rooftop beer garden with $20 all you can drink beer for 2 hours!!!! The weather forecast says small chance of rain…we’ll just cross our fingers.
We had a really tough time communicating here. The manager here spoke no English, and he had to call on another waiter who could speak some English to help us. There was an English menu online, but here absolutely nothing was in English. It became apparent to us that we are one of the very few non-Japanese to set foot in here.
All you can drink beer, and all you can drink mixed drinks and wine for $20 each. Seriously, how can you go wrong!!! Again, the menu was all in Japanese, so we had a tough time figuring out what the mixed drinks were. It took gathering little bits of English from several different waiters to piece together what some of the items were.
The food ordering was easy, they had pictures of everything…with one surprise. The plate on the left had fried shrimp, and fried chicken, that part we suspected. Except, the chicken was of fried chicken cartilage. I guess we’ll try something new and different. Not sure I would order it again though.
Literally living out of a box. Shinjuku isn’t immaculately clean like other parts of Japan. There’s definitely some trash on the ground, and there’s a small homeless population that lives under bridges.
In order to get this toy, you use the weak ass claw and try to knock off the little green tab with the string that holds this stuffed animal up…The fact that we are trying to win this thing is indicative of our lack of sobriety. How the fuck are we going to transport this giant stuffed animal home if we win it?
Drunk and time for bad decisions. It was not accidentally won in 2 tries like the giant stuffed animal won yesterday. It was won in something more like 20 tries…but damnit, we won it!!!! It’s ours!!!! AAAHHH YEAH!!!!!!!
OMG!!! These girls were having a hard time winning, and after a while, an employee came over and reset their stuffed animal to give them a better shot!!! WHAT!!!!! Cheating!!!!! They did win almost immediately after that though. I guess this is how Taito Station keeps people coming back, because they know that if they struggle for long enough, someone will throw them a bone.
This being the entertainment district, did not take us long to find a pachinko parlor. Don’t think photos are allowed inside, so we sneaked this one in real fast. Looks basically like slots crossed with a pinball machine.
As quickly as we entered the first pachinko parlor, we left after talking to the staff. Apparently, this one is for real gambler where it costs more to play. We are looking for the penny slot equivalent of pachinko, which conveniently, is right across the alleyway.
And, we are done. We put in $10 each into our machines, and turned the knob that spit out metal marbles into this pinball machine like thing. No idea what’s happening, all we know is that the marbles kept on disappearing and soon we were all out…Kids, don’t get drunk and play pachinko for the first time in your life.
We tried and tried and tried, but it was stuck in a position of no hope….then a bone was thrown our way. An employee came by and reset the prize for us to a position where we had a slight chance of winning. Nope, it got knocked back to a permanent stuck position. FUCK!!!!!! But no worries, a few minutes later, another employee came by and reset it for us, yet again. We are too drunk to have honor, we’ll accept whatever help we can get to win.
A few more drunken tries later, SUCCESS!!!!! I know we didn’t win this one fair and square, but damn if it isn’t our most prized winning from a claw crane machine!!! LOL!!!! We both think getting this is the funniest thing ever.
So, the beers here are expensive, $10 each. The bar stools are filled with all Westerners. Seriously, why are there no tourists at the all you can drink beer garden other than us? I found it so odd that none of these tourists knew/wanted to hang out where the locals hang out at, especially for $20 all you can drink!
Kids…this is what happens when you start out your night at an all you can drink beer garden. We got drunk, we threw money away trying to win prizes of questionable value, but damn if this isn’t the best fun fucking night we had in Tokyo!!
To be continued at Tokyo Day 5.