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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Things to do in Tokyo

13 June, 22oo hours.

XC- The best travel buddy. Patient enough to watch you shop, kind enough to not be calculative. Gung-ho enough to not whine and complain. Fun enough to be game. Just don't ask her to count. Not forgetting 2 other good friends, DC and WB who came to send/pick me up. The pleasure of having such good friends to rely on.
Tokyo is a bustling city. Never once we saw the streets dead or the trains empty. As early as 8am, the streets will be filled. Even on a Sunday. The children go for their baseball practice, the adults do their shopping.
And the Japanese love their pork. I mistakenly ordered pork liver once. Yucks! But surprisingly, i still manage to force down 3 peices down my throat. Japanese cuisine is just too delicious. You don't have to pay much to get good food. They are that perfectionist.
Ikkeburro..the place my mum suggested us to stay. Little did she know it's actually a "seedy" area. But in Japan, you feel really safe. Everyone is so law-abiding. They queue up to get into the trains, they get off and push their bicycles in tunnels.

The above picture shows a "social club". Girls go in for free and communicate with male members over their mobile. They then decide to meet in the club and then decide if the first impression is good enough to go out onto the streets and perhaps more.

Social club membership is free for females, 1000 Yen (SGD 15) for males. To enter the club is another $15 for men.
The culture of Japan simply baffles me. Countless lingerie shops (with very sexy and nice sets at very affordable prices) and shops selling a variety of toys to enhance your sex lives are readily accessible to the common folk. So why do places like these suggests that the Japanese men are just not getting enough at home?
The above signage is advertising a place equivalent to getting dodgy massages. This is "cleaner", you don't get special service necessarily. You just come, lay your head down on the lap of a voluptous lady and get your ear dug. 980 Yen (14 SGD).
What i do know is that their living quarters are tiny. Just like Hong Kong. Unless you live further away from the city. So they have places called the "Men's Ultimate Relaxation Place", an outlet for men to have their privacy to wank. Pay SGD 4.50 for a small room with reclining loungers and flat screen plasmas to watch porn or sports for 60 minutes. Rental of DVD is free and they have a wide selection of porn DVDs and a wide range of sports channels. Men, so predictable. Only 2 on their mind.
I love eating Yoshinoya back here. Its almost the same as getting the authentic one in Tokyo.
Look at the amount of stuff we bought! We filled the ENTIRE room. We both had a headache trying to pack. Was very tempted to spread out into the corridor. Our place was THAT small.
Most of my photos, my eyes look really bad. That's because we sleep late and wake up early. I like my holidays action-packed. But my boyfriend taught me the true meaning of holidays...relaxation. No wonder he love beach resorts. But Tokyo...simply too much to shop! I mean...DO!
This is the first holiday i didn't feel fat after all the gluttony. Their cusine is simple but packed with taste. Even their ice-cream feels healthier with flavours like black sesame and green tea! I hardly had meat, because i was cheapo. I went for their toufu or vegetable based meals which usually costs about SGD 6 and its the cheapest.
The most fattening thing i think i've eaten for the entire trip was the banana chocolate custard crepe which costs SGD 8!
The Japanese girls are all very pretty and fashionable AND slim! I have only seen 2 fat girls and zero fat boys in my 7 days. Everything in Tokyo is 15 minutes walk.I was so envious of their gorgeous locks that i asked my hotel if these girls get it permed at a salon or they DIY. She told me alot of them DIY every morning (they're so merticulous in their vanity!), but she suggested a salon in town to me.
Alas, the cheap (SGD 60 for a perm) and good place she recommended was fully booked! And it was our last night in Tokyo already. Thankfully XC suggested to go next door where we got ourselves prett-ied. I got my digital perm and cut for SGD 130. And i'm loving it! My hair is thick and soft (not frizzy and dry like how i had mine done in Singapore), the curls were big and wavy (not tight and auntie-ish like how i had mine done in Singapore). I also like the price! (Singapore made me spend $200 for an unsatisfactory job)
Initially, i was hesitant about doing it. With what little English my hair dresser could understand, we managed to achieve the end goal.
WARNING:If you do not have the stomach for disgusting images, i suggest you skip this part. I brought my friends to Meguro Parasite Museum. It's the only parasite museum in the world and displays probably about 160 kinds of parasites. Sadly, all explainations were in Japanese so we could only see visuals and make up stories ourselves.
This was a very cute mouse which was probably too greedy.
A man's face eaten away by a parasite. Scary, no? This usually happens in third-world countries where hygiene is very poor. My heart goes out to these places, i feel sad for them. The tape worm that could live inside you is 8.8 metres long. We viewed it up close, it doesn't have eyes or nose. It looks like a tape, literally.
And you say you want big boobs?
WARNING: The next image can be REALLY DISTURBING.

A severed turtle head.
The museum was small but packed with so many parasites it made my head itch. From what i could understand with the Chinese characters and visuals, parasites can live in animals and humans. Humans contract it from poor living conditions or from eating an animal that was infected with a parasite. The parasite can be SO small within the flesh of a fish, you can hardly see it. Therefore be careful of what raw fish you are eating and the exotic insects you consume. Another rule to safely adhere to is, throughly cook your food. Above 160 degrees.
I LOVE their pizzas! It's even better than the thin crust Italian ones. This is Super duper thin crust. Like on a wafer biscuit!
The much talked about toilets. I was just telling XC, i will definitely not try it because i can't bear to sit on a public toilet bare. But i succumb out of curiousity.
First i warmed the seat with a press of the button, then i pressed the other buttons to shoot water up my bagina and ass and you could even rotate the water jets.
I seriously got a shock when i hit the button! Then, pleasure sinks in.....ahhhhh
You don't find them everywhere though. Usually only in the bigger departmental stores. They also have this thing that plays waterfall and bird noises to mute your real toilet sounds.
Japanese, always so polite!I came here, having someone in mind. Thailand produces the best ads, in my opinion. The Ang Mohs always do the artsy glamour, high defination ads. But the Thais give the raw truth.
The best viral online campaign however is from the Japanese, this 0.2mm condom product. They conducted a reality search for a long distance couple and then filmed them doing a marathon run to reach each other. All these happens live on the internet. Internet viewers than participate in encouraging this couple in reaching each other.Only at the end, then will everyone know the product and the tagline.
The tagline of the campaign was: Even Love Needs a Distance. 0.2MM. Use a condom.
The couple won a luxurious hotel stay, media publicity and 20 000 Yen (SGD 303). That's even cheaper than getting models man.In Tokyo, to get cheaper food, you must be willing to stand and eat. You also must know how to buy food coupons from vending machines. My morning Bento set. Very very yummy, even though there's no meat. We ate by the roadside, in front of the 100 Yen ( SGD 1.50) shop. Pathetic not? As advised by online forums, there's no need to bring tissues to Tokyo as you get them on the street. I didn't get them until towards the end of the trip. I was still fearing my tissues will run out! In a day, i collected 7 packets at one location. The locals shun these tissue packs (with advertisements) like how you shun flyer distributors. I think the tissue thing will definitely work with Singaporeans.
The best part of the trip, was Oedo Onsen. The nearest train stop is Teleport Station with free shuttle, otherwise 15 minutes walk (which we did). We did what the locals would do after a day's work.
Soak in the hot springs.
It was described like a "theme park". You have foot baths, sand baths, stone baths,game stalls, food stalls, massages and treatments of that sort found within. It opens from 11am-5am. Yes, overnight.
Remember to go after 6pm, you get 1000 Yen discount. Total cost of entry: SGD 30.Outdoor foot bath area.
I raised my eyebrow when i was this sign outside one of the doors. " The following facilities are not available. 1) Drink liquor 2) Pregnancy 3) Wear Wig"
I went huuuuuuuh???!! You've facilities to make one pregnant?
I gingerly slided the door open to find out, only to see someone getting a head massage. I then understood they meant people who are drunk, pregnant or wearing wigs cannot have a head massage (coupled with their herb concoction).
Next came the hot springs. This is paradise for nudists and exhibitionists. Too bad it's gender seperated. But i was in heaven, i like oogling at women. I saw all shapes and sizes, big and small, mostly bushy. All Japanese with a sprinkle of Caucasians. And then i realised that even if a girl is flat chested, she still look good actually. With that slim waist and proportionate hip. Perhaps big boobs are overrated. Nice to have, but not necessary. Like how having a good looking partner is a bonus but not a necessity. First, you scrub yourself squeaky clean by sitting on the stool and given shampoo, soap, cleanser and toothbrush!
Then you can either submerge yourself in a individual tubs or common pools. They've both indoor and outdoor. I prefered the outdoor one. Because it's hot and cool. You got to slowly ease yourself in though as it is really hot. So hot, i felt my fingers and toes go numb. I didn't stay long because it was too hot. But i lost 0.5kg just from soaking 10 mins.

Wearing nothing beneath.

It's a rule to keep gangsters out.

They even have hot springs for dogs! The Japanese are so particular about image that even their dogs are perfectly groomed and wearing cute outfits.

Samurai leaves.

Their media station reminds me of Futurama.
Odaiba, an area of futuristic buildings.
This is one holiday that i came back with aching shoulders. Carried dozens of shopping bags everyday!
Don't know who told me it's very humid in Tokyo now. Bullshit!! It was so chilly that all my summer clothing that i brought was useless. And so i learn, not to trust black and white season charts. It could be their summer now, and its supposedly humid. But always bring jackets and enough warm clothes. It's also not true that credit cards are not accepted in most areas. But its better to bring cash because the nice buys are mostly at the street stalls (Bugis area like) and its easier to control your spending.
Their cinema still looked old-school.
Shibuya. The acclaimed "messy crossing". Singapore should adapt this, where we can cross diagonally. Saves alot of time for both vehicles and humans.
Everything was SO PRETTY there. You can hardly resist not buying everything. Their packagings are really really nice but wasteful.
We chanced upon their opera house in Ginza.
Where people dress to the nines (like the girl in kimono and dramatic hair) to attend.

Giant tantecles! Surprisingly, Japan is the only country i will eat street food due to the known fact that the country and people are particular about hygiene.
My $37 special bowl of Sashimi. I don't like Sea Urchin, no matter how expensive it is.
We woke up specially early for this, only to find it closed! Tsujiki market..where sushi chefs auction for million dollar tunas.
Look at the numerous knives for Sashimi.
We got so tired of walking everywhere, we took a cab. The starting price was $10.

You get scared just looking at the train maps. It is MASSIVE. They have 4 train operators and 9 lines. With a little patience and alot of questions, you will eventually get where you are. Bonus if you can read Chinese characters.
They have so much variety in everything.
So vain that they have all sorts of beauty enhances. Slim Mouth guard, Nose Pincher, Slim face roll, Breast Rolls etc. Don't know if they really work though, they cost about SGD 20 each. Perhaps they do seeing how the Jap women look. But then it could be genetics.
They are really into costumes too! You can find ALL sorts of costumes. Not necessary only for role play. However, the role play ones are really cheap compared to Singapore. The others costs about SGD 100 or so, which is still cheap comparing to Singapore when you rent one for Halloween. Plus they have REALLY funky ones!
Kabukicho district at Shinjuku. The "red light district".
Pachinko! The Japanese's favourite past-time. Men of all ages, in suits and not play this game where they drop the silver ball in. It's equivalent to playing the Jackpot. You wonder why they are not at work but gambling in the morning and afternoon, even night.
You see these shops littered along the street. They are shops where you go in and only see computers and rows of photos of girls on the walls. Apparantly, you make reservations with your girl of choice via these shops and then proceed to meet them at stated place for your special service. We guessed it from the apple looking like a bagina and then verifying with the Malaysian staff at our hotel.
My friend was so chicken, didn't dare to go in. I would, if i am a man. But ok, they are probably operated by the Yakuzas, so don't play play. Men in black suits (ah beng style) will stand along the street, like pimps.
Used panties for sale!! I dared my friend to sniff, but again he didn't. Not cheap leh...SGD 15. You can buy brand new SETS (bra and panty) for SGD 15, which i did. I think i own a gazillion lingerie.
Their sex stores have an even wider variety and cheaper than Australia and America, can you believe it?
Diet finger cream.

Primary school uniform.
Japanese are obssessed with green tea! Everything green tea. From ice cream to Coke to Yakult to chocolates.
Ueno. Old Tokyo and tidbit street. Our fruit stick was SO unbelievably sweet that i realised i just paid $1.50 for one pineapple and my friend $3 for one slice of honey melon.
Ramen ramen.
No wonder they stay slim. Eating while standing most of the time!
The girls at Tobu, a departmental store. I wonder if their sales girls ever get thirsty. Before you step into the shop, they are already greeting and talking non-stop (God knows what!)
Gotemba, the mother of all factory outlets. It was a 1.5 hour train ride. Sit until backside pain. I'm not sure if i can say its worth it or not though. But it has major brands there. All the high-end brands with discounts of 20-70%. But because of the extremely high-end label, after 70%, it can still cost a thousand. Definitely not for common folk like me.
But perhaps it would be more worthwhile if we could see Mt Fuji, which we were supposed to see if the sky was clear. Its right at the spot of the ferris wheel.
My first damage done. I was K.O (ed) here. After many fakes (usually from my brother when he goes Batam), i finally got my first real one (ok, my uncle bought my first real one for my 19th birthday).
It feels good being capable of buying your own wants, and not relying on men.
So thankful i didn't swipe my card for this. I'm so bad at maths that i thought this costs $100 at Armani (after a 70% discount). I double checked before taking it to the cashier and realised i missed another ZERO!!

Eggplant risotto. Again....Ooishi!
There's no age restrictions on smoking i suppose?
Black pig sandwich. The pig is black, literally. The taste and smell is heavier than the normal pink pigs i think. It's like carrot cake. You want white or black?
The only shrine we went to. I initially planned to go to the Imperial Gardens and Meji Shrine. But after visiting one shrine, we decided all shrines are boring. Besides, it kept raining that we had no choice but to hide in shopping malls. Hahaa!
They had some sort of procession going on at the Hie Shrine.
Their prayers on papers.
I think you walk through this for blessing. Oops...i just thought it was a photo opportunity.

Our regular breakfast place.

We slept on tatamis and our back ached. unhealthy young people!
Ikkeburro Grand House Chang Tee. About SGD 70 a night for two. Very minimalist, very small but a resonable budget stay. Besides, the staff there are really friendly and helpful and can speak English and Mandarin. My first meal and it was a good one to start with! $12 only for toufu chicken thick broth and rice with scallops. It's a basement restuarant at Harajuku.
Harajuku was our first stop as we arrived on a Sunday and the Cosplay people only come on a Sunday. But we were too occupied with shopping (stopping at the first store was a mistake) that we never did make it to the street where they gather (which was at the end of the shopping street).

Massive crowd. But the crowds are bearable because 1) it was not humid so no sticky bodies 2) no jostling and pushing unlike in Singapore 3) there's still enough personal space despite the narrow street.

Typical horrow movie scene.
JAL is fantastic! Their breakfast was not the usual omelette that i always have on flights. Their toilets are surprisingly big for economy class too!

But no..don't expected pretty Japanese girls to be serving you. I think only SQ have a stringent pick on their air stewardess. They understand that sex sells. Hahaha!

All their display are hilarious (and scary). Couple of times i thought my eyes were playing tricks as i saw platters in the display panel vibrating.

Their pet shops actually smell nice. and SO CUTE!

I was ecstatic to find Krispy Kreme! You pay for a coffee and get a free donut.But er, that costs $4. Ok, cheaper than Starbucks.

Hyper-active cat.

1 comment:

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