Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tokyo Toy Show 2010

Well, it was free, so I figured I'd head on down to Tokyo Big Sight for the International Toy Show.


All in all, not a lot standing out. Everything seemed to be Toy Story or Naruto or and other branded franchise. But, as usual, just check out the overall scene, and you're bound to find something interesting.




Nice! True story: I was meant to inherit an old Beetle when I turned 16. My parents had it stored at a friend's house. One day, they checked up on it, and there was a chainsaw and bra in the backseat. I never saw that car again.


Instead, after a year of slanging ice cream cones at Baskin Robins, I bought this sweet car. When I sold it, a couple weeks before moving to Japan, it was in pretty bad shape, and I still have nightmares a couple times year about the owner coming back and forcing me to refund his cash.



These kids were having a nation wide battle, and if you were around at 1:30pm on Sunday, you could catch the final.


Hooray! Dude on the left dominated.


If you can name the toy she is photographing, you get mad respect...


... from this dude.




More adjectives!




I am drawn most to the analog, educational toys. This magnetic puzzle map of the world has more than enough imagery to inspire a young child.


These heavy metal blocks require tools to connect them. Way rad!



Their dance was hella complicated, but this little girl tried her best to get down. Dude on the right had no business dancing the duck song. And by "no business", I mean he is my hero.


This keychain can emit a high frequency signal that is only heard by people under a certain age.


Tamagochis are still being new and improved. Celebrate.



Ok, I need to get out of here.


At least it was free.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cat Cafe Nekobukuro


After years of recommending this place to people who want to do weird only in Japan crap, I finally made it to Nekobukuro.


The idea is that you pay six bucks (ten for a lovestruck couple) and come hang out with a bunch of friendly cats.


Most of the cats are sleeping.


That's about it as far as the concept goes.


The black cat totally did it with another cat, while children looked on in fear, the adults in disgust.


No coffee at this cafe though, so you probably won't spend more that 15 minutes there


Then you can leave, knowing that Japan is weird.


But you already knew that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Exotic Animal Shop in Tokyo

Out in the middle of nowhere, near Nerima, check out this crazy exotic animal pet store. I took a couple photos, but the guy working there asked me to stop. He was pretty cool, covered in tattoos, and we talked for 20 minutes about the differences in exotic animal ownership laws in our home countries. In America, you need permits to own many endangered species. My family took care of a desert tortoise, and we needed some paperwork. We also had an 18ft long python, a few different kinds of lizards, and a plethora of exotic insects; all of which we didn't need papers for. In Japan, it seems like you can get anything, no questions asked




There were a TON of other animals. Snakes, lemurs, bush babies, insects, the list goes on. And it was all very, very expensive. 4 or 5 Gs for most big snakes. No teacup pigs though.

How rad would it be to have that monkey swinging around my place.

By the way, the name is Dizzy Point, and the website is here.

Utsunomiya: Armpit of Tochigi or Rad Tourist Spot?



Ok, I'm about to talk shit about Utsunomiya, the major hub city 2 hours north of Tokyo (1 hour if you spring for the bullet train). But let me say forth write, I don't want to talk shit about this town. Funny thing about Utsunomiya, if you meet someone from Tochigi, follow up with "Are you from the city of Utsunomiya by any chance?" and relish in their happiness that you have heard of their hometown. For some reason everyone seems to be from there. By talking shit I might offend. Good thing no Japanese people read my blog!

By the way, this trip is from like 5 months ago, but I lost the pictures. Moving on...


Yep, it's the famous gyoza statue near the station. The reason I feel OK talking shit about this town is that they bring it upon themselves. There is so much hype about god damn dumplings. "You gotta travel hours away to eat the best gyoza in the land!" "Every cabbie in town has a favorite shop!" "Utsunomiya people have more stamina because of the garlic in Chinese dumplings!"


So you trek up here, wait in a two hour line,


And eat a ton of gyoza.


Yes, it's so awesome and delicious, but it's the only draw sung by the tourism board. And gyoza ain't no ramen, it ain't worth a full day trip. It's just a gimmick.


You can get this stuff anywhere!


On the other hand, the gyoza from this town is so famous in Japan. And now I have a nice ice breaker if I ever get a chance to bring up gyoza in casual conversation. Yes, a lot of people are unreasonably impressed that I have eaten gyoza from Utsunomiya, uni from the famous place in Hokkaido, cow tounge from Sendai, okonomiyaki from Hiroshima, etc.


It's just how I'm livin, eating food and what not.


I was actually here with a friend who was writing an article about things to do when travelling in Utsunomiya. We decided to hit up a local amusement park. It was hella sad! In a funny way!


Kitty corn dispensary.


Gunner Pooh-san.


The view, as told to me first hand, was of a giant hole in the lot next to the amusement park.


Ever wonder?


Mystery solved!


God damn fucking gyoza... in a crepe.



We were going to go to some big Buddha, but missed the last bus. Anyways...

The main city center is akin to every main city in Japan. Department stores, random temples, soaplands, and busy busy folks in suits. It might be a cool city to drink in; on the way out I found an Utsunomiya Cocktail Map.

So the verdict is highly favored on the "Armpit of Tochigi" side.

Then you bring in the ringer, the epic monkey izakaya, and I gotta say, Utsunomiya is a rad tourist spot. You should go there!