Good morning! That’s right, it’s morning in Japan and most of you reading my blog are probably getting off work for the evening.
Before I started typing this I went to the vending machine down the hall from my room and bought a small canned coffee called “Georgia Black.” At least I *think* it’s coffee. It tastes like coffee, but I’ve learned that this doesn’t mean it IS coffee in Japan.
Anyway, next to the coffee I saw something else canned in the vending machine that I promise to buy and try and tell you all about before I leave: Florida Orange Juice.
I shit you not.
They have canned “Florida Orange Juice” in the vending machine in my hotel in Tokyo.
I’m a little bit scared.
Back on topic, though, let’s talk about TOKYO TOWER!
We took the Subway across town and I experience my first (and truly stereotypical) Japanese subway ride. You know those pictures were there are dozens of people crammed into the train car with ZERO respect for personal space? This was the real deal. I had some dude in a suit on one side and a Japanese woman against me on the other. If that happened in New York City, I would assume the man would be trying to pick my pocket and that the woman was about to scream “rape” at any moment.
Again… “alternate dimension.” Totally a different world.
After traversing the the rail system we popped out in the vicinity of Tokyo Tower. Walking towards it we passed a temple in the middle of the city. Check it out:
Pretty amazing, right?
Behind it was a series of statues where a woman and some small children were walking nearby on what appeared to be a school field trip.
Here’s one of them up close:
Like I said: amazing. Tokyo reminds me of New York City in this respect. It’s a metropolis of buildings that permeates modern society, but every once and a while you pass an older building (which in NYC is usually a church or temple) that creates a stark, but welcome, contrast to the scenery.
We continued past the temple and finally came upon an image commonly seen (and often destroyed) in popular anime…
It’s an impressive structure, especially considering the number of times they have had to rebuild it from being destroyed by huge rubber suited monsters and giant mechs.
All kidding aside, Tokyo Tower is an awe inspiring building. We our bought tickets and rode the elevator to the upper level to avail ourselves to an elevated view of city. I’ll post all of the photos when I get home, but for now check this out:
That is the view of Tokyo Sky Tree – Tokyo’s newest tower. It is allegedly the tallest tower in the world, but it doesn’t open to the public until May 2012. I wonder how long until some Sentai Team runs a zip line from the two towers in an action packed escape from evil villians.
Here’s another amazing sight from the top of the tower:
Shocking as it is, Japan is populated by Japanese women. Everyone is so polite everywhere you go and this lovely young lady agreed to have her photo taken with me while waiting for the elevator.
(Insert “Tom Croom wears shorts EVERYONE IN THE WORLD” joke here.)
I’m glad I got to check Tokyo Tower off the list of inspiring buildings I’ve gotten to visit in the world.
After leaving the tower, we caught a cab back to the hotel so we could change clothes and head to Tokyo Anime International Fair which was taking place at another AMAZING building in Tokyo. Before I talk about that, though, let’s check out some cute Japanese subway ads for an Easter event at Tokyo Disneyland:
I totally dig how Japan sees American culture sometimes.
After more adventures on the railways of Japan, we arrived at another iconic structure: Tokyo Big Sight.
I chose this photo in particular because it features Marc (from Anime Expo) and I in suits. This will become important later in this post.
Tokyo Big Sight is a spectacle. Someone pointed out to me the major difference between Japanese and the American cities: architecture. The buildings vary so much here that their diversity helps define a personality to this city. New York City and Miami are both on the water and make for amazing skyline views, but Tokyo presents intriguing vistas on a building to building basis. Each is almost a work of art in its own right.
Tokyo Big Sight is no exception.
We spent the afternoon and early evening doing business at the fair (hence the suits) and I even got to see what my name looks like in Japanese.
Afterwards, we traveled across town to fulfill my need for American food and my favorite consistent tourist attraction in the world: the Hard Rock Cafe.
The HRC Tokyo is located in a district called Roppongi. When we got there, the cab dropped Marc and I down the road from the restaurant so we had to walk a bit.
And oh… what a walk that was.
Suddenly, Marc and I were bombarded by English speaking Nigerian men directing us toward their respective clubs and establishments promising adventures and sights that we would never forget.
What sort of sights?
One of the places was called “Big Tits.” No. I’m not kidding. There was a sign out front featuring a white bra with some enticing cleave with fancy professional script next to it with two words: “Big” and “Tits.”
(I would have taken a picture of the sign, but if I had stopped I would have gotten swarmed by these men even worse.)
Marc realized the cause for our predicament after a few moments: we were still in suits. We were American business men in suits walking down the red light district in an Asian country looking like pure money.
My God, we were a stereotype.
We began replying to the men that we were on our way to “meet our wives for dinner” and flashed our respective rings while doing so.
Right before creating that answer, though, we experienced the single greatest quote of the trip so far. (We plan on making t-shirts.)
A man kept following us desperate for our business to enter his establishment by saying “Come in! You’ll have a great time!” Then he dropped this bomb:
“Happy Hour! Happy Hour! Happy Ending!”
I can’t make this stuff up. Seriously.
Can anything say “AMERICA” more than a Hard Rock Cafe right next to a Tony Roma’s? I think not.
Inside, we were treated to hamburgers (which were a welcome reminder of home) and the STRANGEST tasting celery. Ever. We also scoped some great Engrish. Did you know that “Facebook” and “Page” are one word?
Did I mention the fact that the Japanese really really seem to be in love with American culture? Here’s a restaurant full of them doing the YMCA while drinking near me at the bar:
They were TOTALLY committed and into it. It was awesome.
Unfortunately, this tale ends on a sad note this morning. While walking from train to train my cell phone had a run in with gravity.
If I don’t answer if you try to call me, I’m not ignoring you. Odds are I just can’t. That said, I wonder if they have cell phones in Japan?
That’s all for now. Next post may show up later today or tomorrow depending on where in the world you’re reading this from.
Now I’m going to take a shower and head out to Akihabara.