Bruiser in Japan
Hey folks. Just to announce Bruiser's safe arrival to, and imminent departure from, Japan.
It all started in Tokyo on Sunday night, where after a brief 4 hour ride on the bullet train and a 2 hour wait for Brian's delayed flight, we hooked up at Narita and then hit the town around central Tokyo. Unfortunately there's actually nothing that exciting in that area; mostly just office buildings. So we just got some beers and some chow at an izakaya (pub-restaurant acc. to Hiro) and downed some tequila before gettin' ready for a big Monday. And it was big.
Started out at the Imperial Palace, where we got a glimpse of the Empster himself, and his wife. Probably heading out to hit the slot machines.
Some Young Guy:
Then it was on to Yasukuni Shrine, which is quite interesting in that many Japanese who have died for their country are enshrined there. Including many deemed by the American post-WWII occupation (and often denied by nationalists as US insolence) to have been Class A War Criminals for their actions in Korea and China, etc. PM Koizumi sometimes visits the shrine, which gives his Asian neighbours opportunities to attack Japan's imperialism and arrogance. So it was interesting to make an offering and contemplate the whole affair in the inner shrine. No photos inside unfortunately.
Then we took the train to Shinjuku, got some lunch and checked out the red-lite district.
Next was Harajuku, the coolest place in Tokyo, where kids go to show off their ridiculously extravagant costumes and generally be fucking cool.
Then on the meet Dan and Tracey in Shibuya, home of the busiest intersection in the universe, even at 4 in the morning (as we were later to discover).
Wandered round to a few bars before those guys headed back to their inn about 12 and Bruiser and I hit the streets. We walked into a tiny dark alley and stumbled upon a little oden restaurant that seated 8 people and a fantastically drunk owner who was about 60 but sporting the fashion of a 15-year old. Disturbing. Having been to Yasukuni earlier, I was all beefed up on war and imperialism and argued for about an hour with a girl about WWII, war in general, and why Brian didn't speak Japanese, while her husband was teaching him how to say "My name is Brian". It was really quite a fun argument and although Brian thought she hated him, we stumbled out of the shit-hole and into a wine bar where they bought two bottles of $200 wine. It was fucking awesome but we spent another hour or so arguing before mellowing out and giving tourist tips on Australia, and finally left about 330.
Our inn didnt open until 5 so we hung out in a diner til 430, then took a taxi and loitered around before crashing to bed at 5.
Woken up by the fucking phone ringing at 1030, then 1040, telling us to get the fuck out. We stumbled nauseously onto the bullet train for Kyoto, fell asleep and missed the stop and ended up in Osaka. Retracked, met Kana at K's hostel (big recommendation if you ever go to Kyoto) and vegged out before heading to the Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji) and wandering along the Philosopher's Walk through a really quiet, idyllic part of outer Kyoto.
Then walked down to get the famed wild boar at Okariba, and some free bee larva and locusts!
Next to the floating world of Pontocho by the river, more drink and chat, then back to sleep.
Next day: the 1001 buddhas at Sanjusangendo, the holy water at Kiyomizu Temple, and old Nijo Castle. 800 yen all-you-can-eat vegetarian lunch, and back to Ako.
Wednesday night, so Minato's and then Rengaya. Start work the next day so I went home at 11, and the others stayed til past 1.
Thursday was shopping for Brian, work for me. He came down to basketball club in the afternoon and we shot around, then Yuka's farewell party (she's going to Oman) and then some drinks at Hyotan.
Friday was Hiroshima for Bruiser and Kana, and then we hit the town at night: kushi, yakitori, tataki and tempura at various dives around Ako. Somewhere along the way Kana's bike got stolen so we stopped off at the cop shop, where I became agitated at missing person notices.
Karaoke to finish the night.
Today was pretty tame. Morning service, Ako castle, kaiten sushi. Bri, Kana and Kaz are off to the Himeji beer garden tonight, and I've got basketball training, and a tournament tomorrow morning. Gonna drop Bri at Himeji station and hope he makes his plane to the US and then misses out on any hurricanes. Peace.