Thursday was the last day of school and I wasted no time in jumping a train with my friends Mike and Ed and heading for Tokyo.
(We realised later that we should almost definitely have wasted some time and left about ten hours later)
We took the marine liner to Okayama and took the Shinkansen from there. It was my first time on a Shinkansen, so I was pretty excited. And, as Mike commented as the train pulled into the station, “That is one sexy train.”
Like I said, we should perhaps have left the following morning–the tickets were bought in a panic and I just bought them to leave around the same time the night bus would have left–but this landed us in Tokyo around midnight in the cold, with no place to stay and bags on our backs.
We inquired at a hotel but couldn’t afford it, so on the advice of Mike’s friend, we checked ourselves into an internet cafe.
Yes, we went to an internet cafe so we could have somewhere warm to put our bags down and take a nap. It was pretty reasonable for six hours of sleeping, and it included free soft drinks and miso soup, but I couldn’t stop laughing when I went into my ‘room’ (a computer desk with cubicle walls and a curtain).
I didn’t think I would be able to sleep at all, but once I had pulled a teeshirt over my head to block out the light and the cigarette smoke, and rolled my scarf into a pillow, I actually had a few decent hours of sleep. I guess all those years of napping in classes taught me something.
We got up early the next morning, in varying moods, and I brushed my teeth in the bathroom and helped myself to a coffee before checking out of our acommodation and hitting the streets.
We checked into our adorable little hostel–all tatami mats and delicious soft futons–before going for a big walk around Asakusa. It’s a beautiful part of town, with a big amazing temple, and because of the time of year, the whole area was awesomely decorated!
We needed a wee nap after the previous night’s adventures, so we crashed for a little while, then headed to Roppongi for dinner and drinks. We managed to find a really super Chinese Restaurant called Chinese Cafe Eight, with some really….umm… unusual decor. I found it amusing, and the food was absolutely superb.
We then headed to Jumanji for 1000 yen nomihodai. It was a strange little bar which went from low level seedy to vaguely bogan over the course of the night, but we had a drink and a bit of a boogie and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The next morning we had breakfast burgers (delish!) before heading to Ueno for a walk in the park and a look at the Tokyo Museum. We had a stroll around Ueno in the markets, then went to Shibuya to have a laugh at all the people doing last minute Christmas shopping. The malls were totally insane!
That night we spiffied up and headed to Shinjuku to go to Womb, one of the top nightclubs in the world (as voted by djmag). Once there, Ed (our brave leader for the night) discovered that we were in the wrong part of town. We were aiming for ShiBUYA not ShiNJUKU. We had some dinner, then headed to the correct neighbourhood.
Womb was mysteriously hidden in a residential type street, so it took us walking in circles for a while to find it. We paid our enormous entry fee, and set to partying. It was an awesome club–the music, atmosphere and decor were all just right–and we danced until 6am.
I was also subject to one of the most amusing pick up lines I’ve ever heard. I got talking to an American guy on the dance floor, and after a while he asked if he could buy me a drink. I was enjoying his company so I agreed and we headed upstairs to the bar. He bought me a drink and we talked for a while about my job here, his trip in Japan, etc etc.
After a while he leaned in and said “This is going to sound really forward, so I’m just going to say it. I’m only in Japan for a little while and I really want to get the full experience. Can I buy you a few more drinks and take you to a love hotel?”
I choked a little by laughing on my drink, but I’m very well brought-up so I just thanked him politely for the offer and declined.
What a way to start Christmas!