Tokyo Round 2
Trip Start Mar 10, 2009
39Trip End Nov 09, 2009
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Where I stayed
Anne Hostel Asakusabashi
We took a morning bus back from Mt. Fuji, the main reason being that we were hoping to make it back in time to try and get tickets to the Tokyo Giants - Hanshin Tigers game. We checked into our hostel, Anne Hostel in Asakusabashi, and were off to the stadium!
After buying two standing room only tickets for $10 each, birnie and I made it into the stadium and got ourselves a beer
Well based on where we thought were our ticket locations, we ended up in the Hanshin Tigers section out in left field. Everyone, and i do mean everyone, was in full Hanshin get-up except for birnie and I. The Giants stormed out of the gates to a 4-0 lead, but Hanshin responded in the next couple of innings, which gave birnie and i hope that we had chosen the proper team to be our new favorite team. GO HANSHIN!!! The beers were flowing, the crowd was crazy, birnie and I were attempting to sing japanese chants, we were giving high fives to everyone around us and it was an unreal experience.
Japanese baseball games are very similar to European and South American soccer matches. People never sit, are always screaming some choreographed cheer, and it is friggin' mayhem. What an awesome experience. See the video clips showing some of the chants. Classic. We went crazy for most of the afternoon, only leaving our seats......wait a minute, did I say seats.........well, we had purchased standing tickets, but found a couple of seats that even if they were someone elses seats, they rightful seat owners were probably too polite to ask these gaijin to move. Gotta love how nice the japanese people are. Where was I.....oh yeah, we only left our seats to occasionally piss. That was due largely to the japanese beer girls that run up and down flight after flight of stairs carrying a keg of beer on their back. So sweet! I am now a huge proponent of Japanese style baseball. Chant, drink, chant some more, drink a lot more, high five, sing, chant and drink more.
We were rewarded with an extra innings game, that apparently is capped at 12 innings, after which the game is called a tie. Well, Tokyo and Hanshin tied, and birnie and I tied one on
We searched high and low for a bar called Heartland, recommended as a decent bar to mingle and not have to pay a cover charge and we eventually found it way off of the beaten path. It was pretty dead, so we started chatting up the bartenders and waitresses. Low and behold, after a bunch of laughs, a couple of drinks and discussions of Angelina Jolie in Changling, birnie and I had a date with a couple of local tour guides for tuesday night. Two of the bartender/waitresses wanted to show us around the Roppongi area, and we were happy to oblige.
We wrapped up the evening and headed back to the hostel to get some sleep. Monday morning, we arose to free breakfast in the hostel, toast, tea and boiled eggs, and decided to walk around Akihabara to see the electronics area of Tokyo. We headed into a giant, 10 floor electronics store and I went wandering to check out camera memory card and flash drive prices. Hmmm....well, the reason I decided I needed a giant flash drive or second giant memory card for my camera was because Mr. Birnie cannot be trusted.......In Mt. Fuji (see Fuji-san blog entry), birnie decided that he was proficient enough in japanese to try and safely eject his flash drive on which all of our pictures to that point had been stored. Did I mention that when trying to blog, upload pics, surf the web etc..
Getting back to my story, I was now shopping for my own flash drive to have dual sources to store our priceless photos on. Anyway, mission successful, I bought a 16G flash drive and we were off to grab some lunch.
After lunch I headed back to the hostel to work on the blog and transfer pics to my new card for a bit, and birnie continued to walk around the electronics district.
Later in the afternoon I made the suggestion that we head back to Shibuya and have some Sushi and Sake for dinner. Birnie was in agreement and we headed out to feast again. he fat kid's gotta eat!!!
Check out the pics of the sushi......that stuff was killer. We tried some crazy stuff, and enjoyed the traditional sushi until we were once again filled to the brim. We wandered around Shibuya after dinner, hit up a cool little jazz bar, dammit, I forget the name but it was something like Moulin Rouge......nope, wait a minute, it was themed after the musical Chicago, now I remember. Really cool place, but what started out to be a busy place, quickly emptied soon after we entered........(not sure if it was because of us or simply because it was a Monday night), so we only stayed for a couple of drinks
We walked around for a little longer, people watching in Shibuya is very interesting.....and decided to head back to the hostel to get some much needed sleep since we were getting up at 0350am to see the hustle and bustle of the Tsukiji fish Market.
Up at zero dark thirty really sucked. It also sucked that we had to pay for the cab fare to get to the fish market since the public transportation didn't start til 0530am. But, it was well worth it. The fish market is a must see in Tokyo. It is crazy how much is going on at 4am and even crazier watching the pace of the people at the market. Auctioning fish, packing trucks, cutting off little pieces of each giant tuna and eating it raw as a means of quality assurance.......fun place to be. Check out the photos of the craziness. We wandered around the market for a good three hours just soaking it up.
People tell you it is the best place to get the freshest sushi, but after a couple of hours watching this spectacle, both my and birnie's stomach were a little off and as good as sushi is........we both passed on trying it. I was a little bit sick of fish by this point.
We headed back to the hostel to take a morning nap and woke back up to a rainy day. We wanted to check out Ueno park, so we grabbed our raincoats and braved the stormy day
We got back to Heartland around 8pm and the bar was absolutely packed. What do you know, there was a pink slip party going on. If you are wondering what a pink slip party is, you would be correct in your initial assumption.
Apparently in Japan, when a company has a layoff, they hire out a bar, have all you can eat and drink, and when the employees arrive at the door, they are given a glow in the dark wrist band.......you know, like the ones you get at a cheesy carnival.......yup that's the one. Well if you get a blue wrist band, you still have a job. A red wrist band means you are fired on the spot. Funny how these employees arrive at a bar to get shit-faced, and have no idea whether or not they will be celebrating or drowning their sorrows.
But it's cool, because there are also people in the bar wearing green wrist bands, and they are recruiters for other companies. So the green wrist banders search for the red wristbanders and by the end of the night, most of the people that lost their jobs have a new one. Crazy, but pretty effective.
We chatted up a couple of people that had the red wristbands and for the most part, they were having fun and had no worries about getting another job by the end of the evening.
So Macha and Mai wrapped up at the bar around 10pm and we headed out to a little jazz bar called My Scotch
The girls were hungry around 130am or so, and we headed to an expat bar around the corner that had some good pizza, fries and salads. The place was crowded as hell but with our girls leading the way, we were ushered right to a table in the center of the bar. We ordered some food, some more booze and started talking a little bit with some of the other gaijin. A cool little bar whose name I also can't remember, actually, I'm not even sure I ever knew what the name of the joint was to begin with. Anyway, we drank til about 330 or 4am and it was time to head home.
We walked out with Macha and Mai and birnie and I grabbed yet another expensive cab. We bid the girls farewell and were headed back to the hostel. No big deal, birnie and I were loaded, it would be 430am before we made it home and we needed to be on a train to the airport at 7am for our flight to Beijing...........GOOD TIMES!!
I'm pretty sure birnie's alarm went off right after I got under the covers, and we both bounced up, still drunk, and like two Bulls in a China Shop, started packing our stuff up. Already late, we caught our train and were off to the airport..
NEXT STOP...........CHINA BABY!!!
Hope everyone had enjoyed some of the Japan stories/pics. I will be finishing a quick entry for Nara next so stay tuned.
Makely and Birnie