One of those weekends....
Random shit happens everywhere in the world, but this was so very very Japanese.
Things started out when I finally made it down to Yokohama. Met in Shibuya first for some beers from whatever convini store was most... convienient. Also got a beer from the cool robot vending machine in whatever that hotel right next to the station is. Mags and her texas friends were there. She made us do print club. I got my nipple into the equation for the second time, so it was all for the best I guess.
Andy has a great little sports bar near his place. Replace "Andy" with "Everyone in fucking Japan but me". Got some compliments on my tattoo fom a local, who then pulled up his shirt to show a full backpiece. I guess there were some famous local soccer players in there too, cause the bar girls got all giddy when they left. Saw Andy's place. It's tiny with empty bottles of wine everywhere.
Sunday Andy gave the tour. Once again, the main attraction of this area is shopping. Branda (female) was outnumbered by me and Andy (male), so we just saw the biggest department store in Japan from a distance.
Lunch was at the Raumen Museum.
Basically, you pay to get in, and then choose a recreation of a famous ramen shop to eat at. We picked one with the description "Capturing the natives who are most particular about raumen." I'm pretty damn particular about my noodles, so it worked out well.
If you can read this sign, it poses a few questions. Who was the first Japanese to eat ramen? How is menma made? And so on. You want the answers? Too bad, this was the only English in the whole place.
Afterwards Andy took us by the Doll Museum. Thanks Andy!
We rode a roller coaster called Vanish. I didn't fit in the shoulder restraints. After seeing the waterfront and Chinatown, we headed to meet a few friends in Ikebukuro for dinner at Lockup, a restaraunt where they lock you in cages. Guys in jail stripes serve the food and girls with plastic miniskirts and lazer guns seat you. Then at one point they had a fight with monsters. Thank you Japan. The food was about the worst Izakaya stuff I've had, but I guess you go there for the atmosphere. They had one set of dishes called "Heaven or Hell?" where you get like 6 takoyakis and 1 of them is really spicy. So you and your friends are all supposed to eat 1 at the same time. I got a funky cocktail where you mix all sorts of crap together with a pipet. It tasted like snocone syrup.
On Monday I was feeling a little blue. Sunday night I gave Chris, the new teacher at my school, a quick tour of the stuff around the Kawagoe city center. And I realized... Kawagoe is pretty damn boring. Pachinko parlors, snack bars, and the urban expanse. Every friend of mine in Japan has a local hangout but me. Pout pout pout. So to get happy, I went for a ride. I rode to the mountains in the distance. No route, just looking for quiet, curvy roads. I found em. I got pretty lost too.
So then at one point, I see these huge white things on a mountaintop in the distance. I get closer and closer, and there are 3 ginormous buddas on the top of a mountain. And no one around. I made it a goal to get to em, and there was actually a little road that went up the mountain. It was like a 60 degree grade, kinda freaky on the bike. There were all sorts of shrines on the way as well. So here I am, on the top of a mountain with some 100 foot tall gleaming white buddas and no one around me for miles. Amazing. I hope after we blow ourselves up and our planet is discovered by some alien race 20,000 years from now, they find this shit first.
Count me in on the boycott of Roppongi. No more Grace. No more Vanilla!
Oooo, the 3 Buddhas area looks spectacular...you do have a great hangout-for contemplating. :)
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