Picking up where I left off on this post.
We took the train from Akihabara back to Shinigawa Station because Rob had to change clothes before we headed off to the Tokyo Anime Fair.
During the brief layover at the hotel I decided to embark on a small and possibly dangerous adventure. You see, I noticed something VERY interesting for sale in the vending machine near my room at the Shinigawa Prince Hotel. Something that (against all better judgement and common sense) I just had to try.
They carried “Florida Orange Juice.”
This particular canned beverage was allegedly a “Prince Hotel Original.”
Armed with 150 yen, I took the plunge with expectable results. Imagine the worst instant orange juice (from concentrate) that you’ve ever had. Now make it slightly more sour and add more water.
Now imagine something worse.
It didn’t kill me, but it was interesting drinking “juice” from a fruit allegedly from my home state halfway across the planet.
After deciding against having my stomach pumped, I walked down to the lobby to meet Rob so we could head back out. It turned out that there was a wedding going on in our hotel. I got a quick photo of the bride:
That’s right: the wedding dress is pink. CUTE!
Instead of catching a train this time, Rob and I opted to save time and just grab a taxi cab in front of the hotel. Along the way, we spotted something very rare in the streets… an American car. The entire time we were in Japan, I only saw three cars from the United States: a Jeep, an El Camino (yes – an El Camino) and this:
Americans drive Japanese cars by the thousands in the U.S. Japanese drive American cars by the… few. That should speak VOLUMES about the quality of our automobiles.
After a short drive, we made it back to Tokyo Big Sight for T.A.F. 2012 and spent some time looking at the IMPORTANT STUFF before the Tokyo Anime Awards presentation party.
You know – important stuff. Like cute Japanese girls:
And zany costumed mascots:
And more cute Japanese girls:
And more zany costumed mascots:
And even MORE cute Japanese girls:
And even MORE za-…. OMGFG WHAT IS THAT?!?!?!?!?!!
After escaping with our lives, we checked out the kid’s play area. We were tempted to try and sneak onto the cool rides, but we didn’t want to be “those” Americans.
We also took a few minutes to walk down their “Artists Alley.” There we saw some amazingly creative up-and-coming talent showcasing everything from sculptures to animations to paintings and more. We even got stopped on the way out and surveyed about what we thought of all the artists. When asked, I picked this lovely lady as my favorite presentation that I saw there:
Yes – she is sitting on a ladder painting the inside of her booth. Epic. 🙂
After the convention closed, we walked to the other side of Tokyo Big Sight where the Tokyo Anime Awards were being hosted. We had been invited to the awards party (read: free food and booze) and it was a great networking opportunity. Many a business card were exchanged with new friends. I also got to swap convention and travel stories with the team from Crunchyroll. They’re a cool group of guys.
Here’s a photo of the awards stage. As expected, I couldn’t understand anything that was being said.
During the event, we were treated to a concert by a popular Japanese musical artist. Based on the little I could make out in conversations, this dude was allegedly huge in the Eighties. You know that phrase “I’m famous in Japan” that people kid about in America? I’m pretty sure is applies to this guy.
Trust me. This is worth at least a few seconds of your time to watch for a myriad of reasons…
AND there you have it.
At this point, we were exhausted. We headed back to our hotels and I actually passed out in my bed when my computer rang.
Note: If you recall, my phone had died in Japan. Thus, I left my laptop logged into Skype in my hotel room for people to call.
Marc called and let me know that he was on his way to our hotel with our new friend Tsuyoshi (whom we’d met through the event) to enjoy an evening of Karaoke. How the hell was I going to turn THAT down?
I got up, put myself back together, and headed to the elevator.
BUT FIRST… let’s talk about pizza. Before leaving for Japan, Shannon and I had a discussion about what sort of non-Japanese food would be offered in Tokyo. We knew that there are American fast food joints thanks to anime and the Internet, but did they have places that served Chinese food? Pizza? Things we are used to getting regularly in the states and aren’t necessarily American?
I asked around before leaving the States and everyone told me the same thing: yes, there are all kinds of food in Japan like that and (more importantly) Japanese pizza sucks.
When we were leaving the convention center earlier that evening (after the Tokyo Anime Awards) we passed a Domino’s pizza guy delivering to Tokyo Big Sight. Amused, I said out loud to the team, “Hey! Check it out. A Domino’s pizza guy in Japan.”
Tsuyoshi, who was with us at the time, turned very serious and looked at me. “In Japan, the pizza is terrible.” Thus the rumors were reinforced by a local. I became fascinated.
BACK TO KARAOKE:
We went to the Karoake bar at the bottom of my hotel. You pay by the hour and get seated in a small private room where you can order food and drinks and generally make a ass of yourself with your friends. It’s a BIG deal in Japan.
We ordered beer. Lots of it.
Then, I looked on the AWESOME Engrish menu for food…
Near the bottom of the menu (not pictured) I saw it. It was speaking to me… calling to me in Engrish… telling my brain that no – it couldn’t be that bad. I couldn’t resist it. I had to give in.
I ordered Japanese pizza.
RUMOR CONFIRMED: It was terrible. Seriously folks. Look at that thing.
Added note: they serve the pizza with a bottle of Tabasco sauce; I am assuming it is to help kill the taste; it didn’t work.
We spent the night (and into the morning) drinking and eating and singing and singing some more. My friends will tell you that my ability to sing is directly related to the amount of alcohol in my system. (In America, we learned this thanks to the series of Rock Band video games.) It goes something like this:
- SOBER: I sing off key.
- ONE BEER: Still off key, but I sound better to myself.
- TWO BEERS: I can suddenly sing well and on key.
- THREE BEERS: I think I’m Jon Bon Jovi.
- FOUR+ BEERS: I start slurring and singing made up lyrics that only I can understand.