everything in japan is ridiculously expensive. it’s nuts. surprisingly though, if you dig around, there are actually quite a few sushi places to be found that are really cheap. even cheaper than the united states. these places do the conveyor belt sushi, so you just pull your sushi off of a conveyor belt that runs along the bar, or you can yell out what kind of sushi you want to the chef and he’ll make it for you fresh. the sushi at these places usually costs around a dollar for 2 pieces of nigiri. so cheap! it makes it too easy to totally pig out on sushi, and the last time i went to one, i actually ate 11 plates of nigiri. dayum! so good though…
since the sushi is so cheap, this gave me the opportunity to order some stuff that i usually wouldnt order in the states. i decided to give another chance to trying uni, which is sea urchin. i had tried it once before and totally hated it, but i thought maybe now i’d be able to handle it. nope. this stuff is so insanely disgusting. other than uni though, most of the stuff i’ve tried was pretty good. i’ve grown rather fond of raw shrimp which i had never liked before. one thing that we tried at a different restaurant, which i thought was kinda crazy, was raw chicken. raw chicken! i never knew that was even safe. but it tasted hella good. maybe i should start eating everything raw from now on?
the sleepy japanese
it still really shocks me just how many japanese i see sleeping everywhere. it’s constant! everytime i get on the subway or any train, whether it’s day or night, there will be some people asleep on it. and when it is late, or really early, almost everyone will be asleep. i’ll see rows and rows of japanese people, heads drooped down, totally passed out. i also regularly see people asleep in their cars, asleep on benches, asleep leaning against walls, asleep waiting for the subway, etc etc. i’m actually really impressed w/ their abilities to fall asleep anywhere anytime, no matter how uncomfortable. and yet somehow, they manage to wake up instantly whenever they reach their stop and get off the train. it’s actually really sad, a lot fo these people are totally passed out just cause they are so overworked. i’ve read that the younger generation of japanese right now is called the fatherless generation… because their fathers are so busy, often working 60-80 hours per week, that they have no time to spend w/ their family or really do anything at all. what a life.
the bathing ape
there is this clothing brand here called the bathjing ape. it was started by this guy who is this kind of marketing genius, who has managed to keep prices for his stuff super high by using various techniques. his stores are hard to find, they have no signage, and they only sell you one shirt of any design. you cant buy more if you tried. because of all this, his stuff seems all crazy exclusive, and so people are just dying to have it. at first i thgought all this was super interesting and was hoping to find this store and get a shirt. but dude, its so crazy expensive!! 75$ for a tshirt! and not all that exciting of one at that! 300$ for sneakers?! its totally ridiculous. apparently just recently, he opened a store in NYC. but the store is by appointment only and you can only get an appointment if you’re a somebody. dude, f* that! the more i think about it, the more this bathing ape stuff seems hella whack. ever since that, everytime i see someone here wearing the clothes, instead of thinking “wow, that’s hella cool”, i just think “dude, he paid like 80$ for a tshirt. sucker!!”
there is this bar/club here called the gaspanic. it’s actually just one of many bars of its kind. basically its a bar where foreigners go to try to hit on japanese girls and japanese girls go there to find a white guy. the place is such a crazy meatmarket, and so incredibly lame. everyone there just seems so cheezy. when i was in the bathroom, this guy turns to me “yo dude, you finding any bitches?!”. huh? who the fuck says that kind of crap? i tell him that no, i’m actually here w/ my girlfriend, to which he responds “so? i have a girlfriend too, and i dont care, i come here every night to get bitches”. ummm… yeah. nice.
there’s no tipping in japan! none! no, really! its so crazy, cause we’ve been to a lot of countries where tipping is not the norm. most locals wont tip, but the waiters usually still kind of hope to get a little something from tourists. if you leave a tip, they’ll take it. in japan, they wont. even if you insist, they absolutely refuse to take tips. even when we got a pizza delivered to our apt, the guy refused a tip!
we went out clubbing at this club called yellow one night. we decided we would just go for it, not worry about the last train and stay out till morning. the place was pretty cool. large dancefloor downstairs with a nice bar and a small loungy area upstairs. drinks were 7$, which, considering you dont tip the bartenders, is actually pretty reasonable. one thing that i thought was kind of crazy was that there were beer vending machines inside the club. i guess if you didnt want to wait in line, you could just grab beer from the machine. they even had miller lite which was funny… but it was 7$ a can! ouch!
at the club these guys called Optimo played from scotland. dude, they were so awesome!! they played electronica but mixed in all sorts of other random stuff like talking heads and other cool bands. it was kind of like Ztrip, but unlike ztrip who focuses mainly on hip-hoppish stuff and turntablism, these guys focus more on hard hitting dance music. the music was awesome and we danced for hours and hours. it was really cool to go out clubbing and listen to great music again. eventually at 5amish we left and then had to sit in front of the station and wait till it opened to go home.
the next day, we slept until late afternoon, and then we went out at night again, this time to a small hip-hop club called Wedge. this place was pretty cool and really chill. lots of friendly people. it was crazy though that this place was so small and yet it still cost 30$ to get in for a tiny little club. its so expensive to go out here!! at least drinks were only 5$. dude, people here are really hardcore about their drinking. i keep seeing hella people *totally* absolutely wasted. like drunk to the point of not really being able to walk. i keep seeing people passed out at tables, or falling over, or stumbling around. man, people really know how to party here! once again we stayed out till 6am. our sleep schedule was totally screwed for several days after though.
this girl yoko that we met at the club
i have this thing about plastic food. i dont know why, but i find it totally revolting. i totally hate it. well, japan has plastic food *everywhere*. almost every restaurant has little plastic models of its foods out front so you can know what they serve. where do they get this stuff? ok, yeah, there’s stores that sell the conventional stuff like plastic bowls of rice, or plastic sushi, but if you are some really random restaurant selling some food thats not very common, where do you get the model? does a sculptor come in and make it for you? do you pour weird stuff on your food to make a mould of it? how is it done? anyways, after being in japan for a whole month, i’ve gotten used to the plastic food. it doest really gross me out anymore.
when we were in hiroshima, caryn and i were given instructions on how to make paper cranes. one night we were bored in our apt, so we tried making them. it was so hard! well, i think that was cause the instructions sucked. but after struggling with them for a while, we finally succeeded!
clothing for pets
walking around tokyo, we keep seeing people who dress up their pet dogs. all these dogs are wearing little sweaters, scarves, etc. of course, this isn’t really anything new, i’ve seen this in the states a lot, maybe just not on such a large scale. but what i did find to be really crazy was: flashy clothing for… crabs. yes, crabs. in several different toy stores you could buy little hermit crabs to keep as pets. along w/ the crabs, you could buy different colored shells for your crabs. some of these crabs had all sorts of crazy designs, soccer balls, basket balls, little logos etc. you could be sure that you crab was the hippest little hermit crab on the block!