7.03.2014

Den-effing-tsu.

YELL FOR JAPAN and, JAPAN TO THE WORLD.

Two days of Japanese music festival to commemorate and celebrate the final days of Tokyo's National Olympic Stadium before it gets demolished and rebuild for Tokyo Olympics 2020 (it was ready in 1963 or -4).

The invitation came along with us (my editor and I of Animonstar Magazine in Indonesia) being smacked for 3 days in the heart of Tokyo. So much things to do, what can I really do? Too overwhelming to have been given an amazing direct return flights, a lucky room that's abuzz in Time Out Japan edition that it's only for hotel residents with room numbers -01 at the end to get the full panoramic view of Tokyo through Shibuya. If you've seen it on my Instagram, that very Shibuya scramble basically justifies the amazement upon my check-in:





This was possible because of the swift response and mailing of visa requirement letters, and who knew it was from Den-effing-tsu behind the JAPANNIGHT project - which without doubt, we'll only receive the best from the rest in terms of service. It was my dream/one of those places I wished to intern!

Being really glum on that particular Monday, and post-travel that left me in such disappointing mood (I was extremely in the down side of everything, which I'm telling you after the break), I finally am able to literally scream and yell out that it was a great trip - I can now focus on the happiest and laughable things I did within the 3 nights I was there.

Here's the lowdown on the first day...






Excuse me for the rambling. I guess by just receiving the pictures from Carine-chan who took her awesome pink coloured Pentax (only in Japan, man) for Day 3 at Shinjuku Gyoen visiting and all, for the anime pilgrimage project for SOAS-SOAS (previously introduced, check out my previous post) and everything else for my last day in Japan with the most pictures bring back the memories and wanting me to write about it before I forget.

WE arrived about 4PM after a rainy takeoff, 11 hours before. The airport had people holding a sign "JAPANNIGHT" image. Anna of Exploring the Orient, SOAS society chum and also the "Korean Englishwoman" blogged about our humble arrival and where our 11-hour faces meets the guest... she's the lucky duck that came along with me :D

Boy, were we proud that both of our Japanese skillzzz were pretty decent to ask and understand the answers!
 

On board LHR - HND, somewhere in the Scandinavian area, these ice lands intrigued me. Who lives here, how to live, what a fascinating place I must visit one day!

The Tokyo subway virgin with the subway sensei ready to hurdle




We both arrived from London, which was getting cooler again from 25 to 21 degrees, and the first thing that I felt was that... 36 degrees. It was 26 degrees, but it felt like .The air was stagnant. There wasn't any fresh oxygen. OOOOOOOOOKAY. I clearly have brought the wrong wardrobe or planned the wrong one. My outfits are now in shamblessssssssss they're very important for me ------------------------------ >








From my editor's instagram: The first night we arrived, the
view from our hotel room, it's bloody Ichi Maru Kyu!
Long story short, there wasn't any point of stripping off - I have to get through downtown with the subway clothes on (Ha. Any gaijin would have felt mortified against a fully-clad kimono'd lady in this heat). On the ride, it was my very first time to ride Tokyo's subway down and just enjoyed the view and also people on board looking at us two tourists speaking English. Thank you.

In another train which we moved, still hurdling with our luggages, a very gracious elder lady in her kimono was sitting on the side, where we placed our luggages and clenching ourselves for balance. When we headed out, she was so nice to have said "Enjoy your stay here" in English. I FELT LIKE THE WHOLE TOKYO WAS WELCOMING ME - WHY JAPAN WHY ARE YOU SO NICE. Everything of this trip has been nice.Awesomeness (OSMness).

Hotel - arrived, found the reception, JAPANNIGHT table. We've made it to the hotel after being a difficult person on the elevator and lift and waited for the next lift... the 5th floor seemed so difficult when we didn't know there was a direct lift to the hotel. Again, they were nice because we were their guests but everything was done for us, we picked up our keys at the table and all set in for me to go to Room 1201 and open the door...






*fling those doors open, flop your bags on the bed and ta-daaaah* LIKE A BOSS.



So the 30m2 room they've booked for me isn't as small as I thought with 2 queen-size beds and a decent-sized bathtub for the loo - with the panoramic view, I was simply amazed that I. have. arrived.



The amazing view from my crazy lucky hotel room! I would've gotten a different single room without the panoramic view if it wasn't that I went to JAPANNIGHT with the 2 of us, with my editor in chief from Indonesia. Lucky~~

The first night was already planned for me to meet Hana-san~ My editor Lily came along, and it went better than I thought it would be! Hana suggested to meet around 8pm and she works about 2 stops from Shibuya. We roamed around and thought "what to eat, what to eat" and we WERE in the heart of town. Lily previously said eating in Matsuya was good stuff, cheap stuff but still Japanese, and Hana was like "Eh, really, is that OK... ?". We were all cool about it because food is food, who the hell says no to it? But realised afterwards to understand the culture of Japan once again, eating in Matsuya for example has this strong 'odour' (too much Iwabuchi) of 'salarymen'. So having guests around and bringing them to somewhat a place that is not as nice to sit or chat or bring is something probably hazukashii for a Japanese as a host - although in no way Hana is our host - she's just a friend but lives in Tokyo and is a Japanese. She also remarked which I thought was gigglingly hilarious (is that even a legit word?!) "Uuu~ Rice-chan," eyeing me top to bottom, "you're so cool, so stylish!" and I was like, lady, where have you been you were my flatmate! I guess you saw me too much at home being in PJs and comfort of dad's old tees instead of me going out. Thank you for the compliment, I was very happy.   し(*・∀・)/♡\(・∀・*) ///

Guess - Lily, me and Hana, which of us is not Japanese?
Twas a good thing to have walked aroundabout the bright lights of Shibuya (left) and finding a lot of offers along the way, with lots of young men offering the menu and for us to politely decline or let Hana read it up... 

After showing off my 1950-60s Japanese cinema skills to point out
"AH! Sochi wa Ishihara Yujiro ne Hana-san!?"

and she was like "How did you know! Even I'm not sure about him he's an old star!"

and I was like "We're all experts in this now with the Nagisa's and Akira's wwww~ DIE."

Who knew my skills and essay writing completely about Yujiro became useful *NOT* to point out some retro poster (seen below).
At the end, we ended up in Hanbey Izakaya (http://www.hanbey.com/) - my experience there is definitely recommended to go for anyone who has a big hole in their pocket after getting lost in Tokyo with a taxi and stranded at the heart of Dougenzaka. It's ridiculously cheap with a retro affair inside - fun place to be anyhow regardless of how normal and nothing so spectacular the food tastes! If you're hungry, then every dish would taste just GOOD. But it's good!

Plus, for the ladies, we get free dessert - just for the ladies. Vanilla ice cream. This night is getting better. I was so full after being so famished.

Food was all sorts and tried everything and ate everything and who knew simple cabbage dish was umai~ (delicious). Only washoku (Japanese food) can do such things simply, efficiently, with magnanimous flavour our tongues are so spoilt with. The place, like I said, was just fun to be in, the atmosphere and bubbling pot of youths and working men, as seen below...


Ohai there, Yujiro and some Titanic looking. My essay has made me knowledgeable about you fellow Otaru-ian and somehow know you when Hana doesn't!

And the menu. Very cheap!!!!!!!!!


Teru teru bozu mushrooms!

I can eat anything. A 2/5 standard tasting okonomi because it wasn't that piping hot and you're not in Osaka and it just serves various dishes of Japan.

I wanted to say is that Kitahara Mie?! To show off again but of course the kanji isn't her name. She looks similar though.


The best part - busting the TOKYO expense with super cheap outcome with all the food we've eaten! Way recommended.

I can now properly introduce Aiji - not the executive committee of JAPANNIGHT but as a musician in his own right (definitely must listen to his stuff I've intro'd here). I finally meet him for the first time ever and to say my gratitude by visiting him to his office after dinner. Jetlag, wasn't sleepy, rather tired, but wanting to go out to check out about town!!! And so, we went.

Our first ever formal photo together looking... you know. At 1AM.
           From our humble beginnings as Twitter pals, I across the Atlantic and Pacific to finally get to meet the man who had remembered what I do for a living (I eat air, only this comes in to my stomach pocket). His office was at Yoyogi Garden which was a stop or two away if I recalled correctly and instead of walking, Hana-san advised us to take the tube at this late hour (it was about 11.30PM or close to midnight).

I mean, I thought Tokyo was safe, but OK, just to be safe we followed her advice and went all confused in the train and change and everything.

Upon arrival, thank goodness for free Wi-Fi around the station so I could get it and called Aiji on LINE for free or else~~~
Good stuff that free Wi-Fi is being implemented everywhere. Very helpful and without having to understand a single Japanese, I think I managed to get it without having to sign up as well. OSMness.

Now I wonder how Aiji liked the two tea leaves packet I chose which has beautiful colours with morning star blues in it for the earl grey, typical English. Let me ask him now..............................................

Took pictures, talked, updated, talked, oh not forgetting to properly introduce ourselves, then took pictures for the magazine's future interview like one offshot below, and Aiji in the studio and then his producer/owner of the place popped by to share some CDs samples. Sweet! One band was also London-based or recorded here and the other was a unique amalgamation of monks and their chants into some dubstep/trance/electro beats. Oooooh-kay, I'm not surprised here because has Japanese ever not done pretty much first in the most eccentric fusions or products?


Yosha, the Rice classic 3-finger smile and peace signs to not show our eye bags!



Spotted, a real drawing! That producer is a true OP fan


So about 2AM, where initially Aiji planned to go home and cab, and drop us off at Shibuya, he indeed got a call from THE Den-effin-tsu (still stoked, yeah) and said, "this is gonna take long again, looks like my night ain't over" and led us the diagonal straight street that leads us back to the heart of the Shibuya scramble. Hey, walking is so easy and thank goodness we had the time to check out every konbini for Pocky and all-that-jazz hunting, including the Don Quixote store that closes at 4:30AM! Real important activity, you haven't gone to Japan if you didn't do this. I was very relieved I did this because in the next 2 days I practically didn't have the time or ENERGY to scour and see more stuff, even to go back to Don. On our way back then...


Found a cute store/shop/can't remember what is this
Caramel shop. Everything here is made and moulded from caramel
Arrive! Shibuya, 3AM...

One more thing before we went back to our hotel...

Jetlagged. So, walking down from Yoyogi where Aiji's office is at, my editor went back to Shibuya and became tourists at 3AM. Why not? When else?


All the excitement and zzzzzzzzzzzzzz puts us to sleep at 4AMish, but for me to toss a while and see the glowing light from our curtains say that about 5AM, well, the sun is up, and I was about to get ready to SLEEP.




A few hours later... like a few. 5?
Compare, So in the morning...

So my day ended at about 5AM, and woke up roughly 8AM-ish... skipped breakfast because we didn't feel like it and went off to the department store... And I wasn't even sleepy. I was pretty much awake:



Officially, day 2 in TO the KYO! I'll tweet and Tumblr it out once I sorted out what happened on the 2nd day (Harajuku and the concert, the major bits) and over with through Instagram.

PS. Sankyu for keeping up with this post till the end with poor command of Enggrish. Talking and typing gibberish these days.

2 comments:

Taipei Style said...

So cool! What an amazing experience! I love Tokyo!!

TaipeiStyle
Gemma

Anisacrament said...

KYAAA IRIIIIII seru bangeeetttt