Tokyo Day 4

Continued from Tokyo Day 3.

Had to wake up earlier today to head to Tsukiji fish market…well, early as in 9am.

Cool, cloud cover. The weather feels nicer today without the sun beaming down on us. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

Fascinating even without all the signs being lit up at night.

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.

Saw this really odd ad inside the subway train. Had to look up the dude…what an odd new agey artist.

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.

The market opens at 3am and most of the activities are over by early morning. It’s almost noon, so we are not expecting a lot of activities.

The wholesale area. Tourists are only allowed in here after 9am.

Almost everything is already boxed up and sold by the time we got here.

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.

One of the few stalls that still has their seafood on display.

Not too much time to compose my photos for a nonblurry shot. It seems like unless we keep on moving, we are always getting in someone’s 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.

Look at the size of the eyes on those fish!

Tuna carcasses.

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.

The odd vehicles(painted yellow) that everyone drives around here. Have not seen these anywhere else in Japan, wonder why these became the vehicle of choice here.

Got out of the inner market and we felt relief. We did not feel welcome inside the inner market.

This is the outer market, kind of the polar opposite of the inner market, a tourist trap.

Anyone care for some fresh wasabi?

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.

But seriously, how can you go wrong here?

In our little sushi stall(seats maybe 8), there’s even a tiny sink right in the corner next to us! Hah.

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.

I mean seriously, how can you go wrong? I just love the vibrant colors!

Tentacle porn.

Our chef even offered to take a photo for us without us asking!

Needless to say the sushi rice bowl was delicious, and not so pricey. $14 for mine and $13 for RL’s bowl. Yum!!

Necessity, or else we’ll die, like not having oxygen.

After lunch, we’ll take a stroll to nearby Ginza, the ritzy shopping area of Tokyo. There are many ritzy shopping areas, but this one supposedly takes the cake.

Kabuki theater.

Ginza. I only know because I always see this building whenever I google Ginza.

May be blasphemous to say, but Ginza didn’t feel much different from other high end places.

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.

Floor 12, looking down at some of the most expensive real estate in Tokyo.

Not all floors were like this. Most are more subdued and normal.

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.

Soul Snacks, heh. After Uniqlo, we’ve had enough for the day time. Time to head back to our hotel.

Next to Ginza is Yurakucho, where there are rows of restaurants built right beneath the elevated arches of the rail tracks.

Beer garden!!

OK, reached our station, time to head back.

Honestly, after a while this map isn’t that intimidating anymore.

While on the train, we get this notice…I hope someone didn’t jump.

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.

Get in my belly…minus the poison please.

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.

Taito Station!!! I think we may have to visit it again after dinner.

The rooftop we are headed to is straight ahead. It’s located on the roof of a mall, like so many other beer gardens here.

All them smokers in their designated smoking area on the sidewalk. You are only allowed to smoke in the designated area and no where else on the sidewalk.

This looks like heaven. This place only opens in the warmer spring and summer months, then closes in September when the weather gets cold.

Got here early at before 6pm(opens at 5pm), still pretty empty.

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.

Our table card indicating when our two hours is over…I think.

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.

We figured out part of the mixed drinks menu contains sake mixers.

This plate was the best!! Round rings are squid. And the chicken on this dish was just, chicken.

Not really mad, just making a face.

Pretty cool that we get to sit on the roof top and watch the city get dark and light up. We are having a great time here. But how can we not, $20 all you can drink!! Must drink faster!

It’s starting to get busier.

A few tables over, there was a birthday party. They are taking full advantage of the all you can drink option here. Everyone was falling over drunk.

Having a great time here!! Out of this giant place we are still the only obvious foreigners. I don’t get it, why do tourists not come here, it’s badass and an authentic local experience.

Time for the birthday party to leave.

Drunk hugs and kisses.

OK, we are drunk now and our drinking time is up. We made our money’s worth and some more, cool. In our drunken state, we decided that perhaps we’ll make a night of tonight.

Visit to the restroom before leaving(so I don’t end up pissing on the street) led us to this pet store next to it with beetles!!

Giant beetles! This one was the biggest beetle I’ve ever seen!!! It’s like the size of an iPhone!

In RL’s drunken state, she buys a Japanese dog toy for our dog.

RL is really excited about giving our dog the souvenir that she got for him….the souvenir that he’ll destroy in about 6 minutes.

Ah, typical Japanese salaryman. Weeknight, stumbling drunk.

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.

We are drunk, and looking for fun.

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!!!!!!!

Shit….what have we done? We need to transport this back home with us!…Oh well, we’ll worry about that tomorrow after we sober up. For now WooHooooo!!!!!!

So….we left the Taito Station…only to head right back into it. RL was determined to win something else…

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.

Won fair and square! Since our hotel is very nearby, we decided to drop off our winnings then go out and try to play some Pachinko.

What have we done….Kids, don’t drink and play claw crane.

Our crack den.

What what!! Robot restaurant!

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.

The employees are very nice and handed this to us. So…this is how it’s supposed to work. Too bad we are too drunk to comprehend.

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.

After throwing our money away at pachinko, we decided that a better use of our money would be, yup, you guessed it, TAITO STATION!!!!! We are full blown addicts now.

Oh no, the Taito Station we were just at wouldn’t do, we decided to walk to the one farther away. There was one specific item that we had in mind to win.

Found. What started out as a joke about the curvy girl dolls in the Taito Station somehow transformed into something we must bring back home to the US as a quintessential Japanese souvenir.

Shit…it’s stuck!!!

A full blown addict taking her hit…

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.

On the walk home, passed by this Irish pub. A celebratory drink for winning the curvy doll, yes please.

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!

Still drunk, now singing and dancing.

Comes to a screeching halt. Just noticed that I was taking photos of her singing and dancing.

Time to head home.

This is the busy street where we saw the guy pissing in the corner last night.

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!!

Tonight, we pass out surrounded by our prized possessions….tomorrow, we realize our drunken mistakes and figure out how to transport all this extra stuff back home.

To be continued at Tokyo Day 5.

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