Thursday in Tokyo

日本語

At the conclusion of my journey backwards in time, I patronized the Bagus netcafe near my hotel to formally pen my memories. I fell in love with this style of cafe following my visit to the i-café in Sapporo.  They are a cross between a comic book library, cafe and internet spot.  For a nominal fee, you can drink all the espresso you want, use an incredible computer, and peruse their 1000’s of manga comic books.

With its dark lights and lack of clocks, Bagus was similar to a casino, and I quickly lost track of time.  Before I was fully aware, it was past 4AM, and while I still hadn’t finished my blog post, I decided it was time for bed.

For my lodging that evening, I chose to pay a little more for the experience of a the Shinjuku Kuyakusyomae Capsule Hotel. A capsule hotel constitutes a tube where you pay a small fee to sleep. If you want a visual, consider the human fields in the Matrix, or this photo:

Capsule Hotel, photo by Chris 73.

Capsule Hotel, photo by Chris 73.

Would’ve snapped my own shot, but my cell phone battery was dead, and I was not about to pay their fee to recharge my mobile.

An Irishman at Sunset.jpg

An Irishman at Sunset

Aside from their energy stinginess, the place was excellent.  Only problem with sleeping in the capsule was my bad pillow.  Beyond that, I had an excellent five hours of sleep.  Woke up to use their free mini-onsen, with two hot pools, one cold one and several showers.

Checked out and headed to my Thursday night lodging: the Khaosan Tokyo Ninja.

Was sad to leave my pleasant capsule, but instantly got over it when I met the super genki staff at the Ninja.  I was shocked to discover the woman at the front desk had visited Hamatonbetsu.

Continuing the small world parody, who happened to be staying in my 8 person room, but Bryan the Irish Asahikawa ALT.

Following a delicious curry soba lunch near the hostel, I spent a little too long finishing my post and then we headed to the Imperial Palace.

Imperial Palace Tokyo Map, photo by Chris 73.

Imperial Palace Tokyo Map, photo by Chris 73.

Was an absolutely gorgeous day in Tokyo, and we made the most of the sunlight we were given after 15:00 JST.  Wandered aimlessly through the Palace grounds and gardens, ending up at the Yasukuni Shrine.

We observed some Japanese people doing something with waterand a ladle, and walked up to try.  Before we even had a chance to screw up, a kind Japanese woman instructed us on the proper technique:

Piano Snack.jpg

Live New Year's Concert @ Piano

1 – Wet your left hand.
2 – Wet your right hand.
3 – Gurgle the water.
4 – Put back the ladle.

Then headed into the heart of the Shrine grounds.  I walked up to do the traditional yen donation and prayer, only to mess up by flicking my coin over the donation box.

Then broke off from Brian and headed to meet up with my father’s former boss, Sakamoto-San.

Over advice and stories about Tokyo and abroad, he treated me to a sukiyaki dinner at Rangetsu (Orlando location home page, yes they have an Orlando location) in Ginza followed by a stop at a snack, “Piano.”

Place was unlike any snack I’ve ever been.  Pure class in decor, topped only by the fact that in addition to Karaoke, they had live classical music played by a professional pianist and dual violin trio.  Sadly I destroyed the class by singing – on my own for the first time – a full rendition of “mikon, mikon” by the Japanese heavy metal group, “Sex Machineguns.”

Me and Sakamoto-San with the Piano Staff.jpg

Good man to my right: Sakamoto-San

Closed the night out learning Japanese from the Ninja staff.

Ai-San - Ninja Staff.jpg

Ai-San, Ninja staff.

Écrit près Charles Jeffrey Danoff | http://twitter.com/danoff

Editor’s Notes:

  • Realize I have missed a lot of comments lately, let me say I hear you and I wish to get back to you very, very soon.  Thanks as always.
  • Want to also thank Chris 73 for his two photos I used in this post, his work on Wikipedia is excellent.
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3 Comments

  1. Grandma
    Posted Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at 01:08 | Permalink

    Charlie: Enjoyed the blog! What a great idea: a capsule hotel. You have had an exciting week in Tokyo. I am happy for you. Love ya!

  2. Posted Friday, January 9th, 2009 at 14:29 | Permalink

    HEAVY METAL!!!!!!!

  3. Mom
    Posted Friday, January 9th, 2009 at 14:29 | Permalink

    Hi Honey-
    Loved this! We used to visit Yasukuni Shrine. It is a lovely shrine. So fun that you had dinner with Sakamoto-san!
    Wish I could hear that Karaoke!!
    Love, Mom


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