Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 11 - Tokyo nightlife, for a few hours

Our two day whirlwind tour of Kyoto was over, after an uneventful morning at the hotel (as in not blowing out the power again) we grabbed our bags and went to Kyoto Station to get the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. We needed a little breakfast to start our day.

Oh my goodness! Could it really be time to partake in the legendary McHotDog Japanese breakfast meal?

Yes it was! I wonder what wonders awaited under that wrapping.

Oh. Well then. Breakfast of Champions?

Mustard, ketchup, and relish underneath.

I had a conversation a few days later about the McHotDog with some Japanese collegues.

"We had the McHotDog a few days ago"
"Oh yes! That is the new breakfast at McDonalds."
"It was strange for us to have a hot dog for breakfast, is that normal here?"
"Yes, of course"
"Back at home we have them for lunch or maybe dinner"
"Oh really, that is strange"

Perhaps there was some jet lag involved when someone introduced the hot dog to either our country or theirs, 12 hour difference in both time and hot dogs.

With a few hours to kill before our train we explored the station some more.

The station goes up, and keeps going up for 10 floors. It's a monster.

And once you get to the top you can come back down again through a huge department store. On the bottom floor of the department store, as is standard with these Japanese institutions, you will find a complete food market.

One of our favorite bits was this all tempura station. Everything fried in that wonderful Japanese invention of tempura batter. I'm convinced that you could put a shoe in that stuff and it would taste good once it's cooked up.

But it was time to go. We found our way out of the stores and made our way to the gate. Once through the ticket machines we stopped for some more food.

Train station ramen. It hit the spot.

It was time to go, our 1 PM Nozomi Shinkansen to Tokyo was about to arrive and it was time for us to head back.

Mt. Fuji finally decided to come out in all of it's glory.

Malt liquor and rice balls, Nozomi meal of champions.

Tokyo Station. I think we go straight.

When we made it back to Ueno we stopped at a Freshness Burger for a quick bite to eat. I had a standard cheeseburger, which was just OK. I noticed after I had gotten the food that they had something called a Freshness Burger, which is something I will try next time I am in Japan. Someday...

This is the point in the story where things get a little dull. For the next few hours we sat around reading, doing laundry, and resting. Our dirty clothes pile had become a mountain, we had hardly done nothing since the moment we got to Japan, and by now the feet were destroyed.

But as I just said, that only lasted for a few hours.

It was Shibuya time! At night too. Coming out of the station we did the touristy thing and found Hachiko. We had to do it. From there we went out for a few hours, the subways stop at midnight and the cabs cost $75 bucks, so we had to get back sooner than later. Shibuya at night is amazing. seeing it must be like how some people feel the first time they see Times Square at night for the first time, except by now I no longer care about Times Square. Shibuya at night is something everyone must see when in Japan. With all of the neon, huge TV screens, moving images across the sides of buildings, its everything you'll ever need for that quintessential Tokyo neon experience. Anyway, time for food and drinks.

We stopped at Alcatraz ER, the medical themed resturant. The lobby was pretty creepy. Dark music, an ominious voice warning you about entering, the mummy corpse thing above, blood on the walls, the mood was being set for one hell of a creepy meal. We pushed the button and entered, and that's where the mood changed. Once you are inside you are treated to non stop disco music mixed in with Madonna and Michael Jacksoon. All of a sudden the mood goes from creepy to kooky. It was a bit of a let down.

You are then taken to your cell. Each table is behind bars and you are attended to by a nurse.

The drinks are fun and the food isn't bad. We had something called Russian Roulette Poppers. Five come out on a tray. One is ultra spicy. The catch is that they don't tell you which one it is. Oh what a surprise that is.

With that finished we headed across the street..

To the Christon Cafe. "The most premier restaurant in 100 years. Restaurant with the image of a church"
Unlike Alcatraz which promised one thing and gave you instead a strange 70s music trip, the Christon Cafe was laid back and the music was jazzy. The whole place is decked out in gothic Christian imagery.

We sat in a red lined booth, Jesus watched over us as we ate from one end of the table. The food was quite good, we had a shrimp pizza and garlic toast, drinks were a Blue Velvet (made with beer) and a sangria.

From there we headed out back to the streets, stopped at another Sega arcade, played more UFO catcher machines, and got on one of the last trains to Ueno.

When we hit the bed we fell asleep. Another packed day was ahead of us.

Day 12

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