I am nomad. Hear me roar.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Sights, Sounds, Shopping and Sake

As I woke up this morning, I started by wondering briefly when I had hit my head. The details of the night before flit back into my mind at a glacial pace. Sake. Taking a moment to thank Bacchus that sake does not have the same memory erasing quality that Tequila has for me, I review yesterdays events.

It started out fairly subdued, after Disneyland I wasn't feeling terribly energetic so I chose some sights where I was free to dawdle at my own pace. I went to Shinjuku, to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building viewing decks on level 45. Spotted some market stalls from the top and made a bee-line for them on the way out. The TMG building is quite beautiful architecturally speaking, it has two towers and strong clean lines, and the design is reminiscent of the Chrysler, and Empire State buildings in New York, but has uniqueness to it too. Like the architect was using these buildings as inspiration, got bored, chopped the top off and then stabbed the model with cocktail umbrellas.

I also found an electronics store and purchased a new camera, due to my old one becoming a sacrifice to the travel god. She is very elegant, metallic champagne in colour. The gentleman who sold her to me was very helpful, didn't speak a word of English, but prattled on regardless whilst he demonstrated the features. I think it was a bargain but with the language barrier I cannot be sure, regardless I am happy.

I left Shinjuku, and returned to Ueno. The other day when I had planned to go to the Tokyo National Museum, I was distracted by the park and shrines nearby, and didn't find it til right before closing time, so yesterday I went to the museum. It was holding an exhibition on the development of Buddha statues which was fascinating.

After a full day of sights and museums, I stumble back to the hostel dragging my feet, only to be stopped on the way by a passing stranger. She asked me if I was staying nearby, as she worked for a backpacker bar that was holding a free yakisoba event, and roughly stuffs a card with a map in my hand.

Later on, after a nanna nap and charging my new camera, with flickering thoughts of the movie Hostel, I enter the bar. It is a tiny, nook of a thing, but it is cosy. The bartenders and most of the travellers that come in are french. To make the currency simpler the bar runs on a system of tokens, with a vending machine just inside the door. I order a beer, which sets me back 4 crazy coins, and park on a stool at the counter.

Shortly after I arrive, 3 guys enter, advising they are journalists from a Japanese magazine doing an article on the bar and the hostel it is affiliated with. They offer the whole bar, which is quite crowded now, a round of drinks in exchange for our permission to be photographed. The crowd agrees and the photographer makes his rounds. There seemed to be quite a few shots where I feature towards the middle, the photographer kept telling me how 'cute' I was, so there is a good chance I might end up in the magazine. I may have a modelling career in Japan open to me yet, one never knows these things. Don't worry I won't hold my breath.

The night wore on, I gained drinking buddies in a London lad and Finnish guy, the sake flowed, as we chatted on til just before curfew, when we all turn into pumpkins, or at the very least get locked out of our hostels. With our last couple of crazy coins exchanged for a round of Jager shots, a toast to our first real Saturday night in Japan, and a chorus of 'Kampai' it is then off to bed.

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