Tuesday, June 06, 2006

live from manga cafe

...despite the fact that there are about 12 million people in a tightly cramped city (to say the least), tokyo is undoubtedly the quietest, most orderly and clean, most adorable city i have ever visited. i have yet to witness anyone, child to adult, who i could in any way classify as annoying or obnoxious. everyone goes completely out of their way to be polite to you, so much that you feel guilty leaving your bed unmade in the morning in a quality hotel. i have yet to see a stray cup or bottle on the street, all in a city with the greatest lack of trash cans i have ever witnessed. and finding adorable little japanese kids to take postcard quality pictures of has become so akin to shooting fish in a barrel i feel like a pedophile. i could reprise my comment about costa rican women with an exclamation point in reference to japanese women, but i don't really think anyone that reads this board would find such a statement in any way surprising or revealing. in short, there is absolutely no way i can do justice to the aural and visual experience that is tokyo (a start would be to say that it's like a combo of nyc's population density, vegas' lights, rome's winding, non-grid pattern, all with lot's of japanese people and some whities, and lot's of little subtleties) but a few of recent remembrances and some upcoming pictures might help...
1) my kimono, provided by my hotel, with, fittingly, HOTEL EXCELLENT printed on the back.
2)the astounding degree of politeness and ceremony with which EVERYTHING, from paying for a pack of candy at a drug store, to paying 60 bucks for dinner, is approached by the Japanese store clerks, waitresses etc we have encountered. it's to the point that you feel bad throwing away the bag they put your pocky sticks in because you feel like they put so much thought into folding the bag in a certain way and closing it with a small piece of tape.
3) the waitress who chased will and i down the street yesterday to insist that we accidentally left the japanese equivalent of a dollar on the table at the sweets emporium we visited, vehemently refusing to take the money when we insisted it was meant as gratuity, seemingly oblivious to the thought of such a thing.
4) the enormous testicles (intentionally) on the racoon statues in one of the shrines we found today.
5)the mario bros nintendo music that is an everpresent feature of the JR rail lines that run throughout the city, reinforcing the notion that you are a star in some sort of city wide arcade game
6)the chef's choice meal of 4 hour fresh sushi we had for breakfast this morning at the largest fish market in the world, at the smallest, most densely populated restaurant i've ever been in, which we waited for an hour before being admitted. i tried to get an order of sperm sac of cod but the chef said it was out of season.
7)the trio of trendy female tokyoites who, when i approached them for directions using a phrase straight from the phrase book, elected to walk us all the way to the destination. one of the many times in two days i really wished i spoke japanese. i probably would have proposed to one of them.
8)the minimalist, manmade, zen creek that ran down the sidewalk on the edge of the mall we visited yesterday. imagine a creek running down the sides of the halls at lenox.
9) japanese tv, which is everything you want it to be and more. the weather segment basically consists of some cute anchor talking about the weather while some little animated creature bounces around the map, reinforcing her points to the audience. last night i watched a news special, lasting upwards of ten minutes, completely focused on these 8 year olds dressed as ninjas throwing fake throwing stars at a wall.
10) sitting in the starbucks overlooking shibuya intersection (the walking dinosaur on the vidi-screen from lost in translation) , watching endless waves of 3 to 400 people cross the street in about 50 different directions every five minutes.
11) later sitting in the audience (and perhaps appearing on japanese tv) at, from what i could tell was, a japanese tv show for high school to college kids centering on a group of four japanese guys, sitting at a bar, which was basically a table, one of whom was wearing only a tight black leather speedo and a leather jacket. apparently the kids in the crowd think it is utterly and completely hilarious; the line of 6 16-17 year old girls on the front row were hanging on to every word spoken, frowning and smiling at every twist and turn. the weirdest part was our entry, in which we were led down a spiral staircase to what amounted to a reception desk, made to show our passports, and then given a ticket and token, the ticket to get in, and the token to put in an adjacent vending machine so that we could be filmed in the audience drinking the japanese root beer concoction that we received from the machine. i'm guessing they were sponsors. it was AMAZING.
12) chatting it up with a girl from Hokkaido last night. she drew a map of japan on a napkin to show me where Hokkaido was (like i didn't know). i then demonstrated my knowledge of Karate Kid II by drawing an arrow to the southern island and writing OKINAWA by the arrow. the best part came when i drew a map of the USA, highlighting GA, to which she excitedly said, "OHHHHHHHHHHH."
in Kuala Lumpor now. more later.

more to follow soon...pictures too


Blogger kenniebloggins said...

sounds pretty amazing.

6/07/2006 12:10 PM  
Blogger Pineapple Colonoscopy said...

I forgot about pocky, pocky is good. also i recall receiving more attention from females than at any time before or since when I was in Japan. Every where I went girls were acting like I was the Sauce and I just walked in shirtless. So that should bode well for you two.

6/08/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

hey knight, were the hookers better in japan or malaysia?

6/22/2006 4:16 PM  

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