Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Day 5 (築地市場/浅草/池袋)

Today we got up early and took the subway to Tsukiji-Shijoh or the Tokyo Fish Market. Check out the picture below to see just how crowded public transportation in Japan can get. Visiting the fish market early in the morning and seeing all of the vendors, fisherman, and dock workers is a recommended tourist attraction in any Tokyo city guide. This is my second time to Tsukiji and I can say that it hasn’t changed a bit – it is still scary as heck. Delivery guys zoom around on one-man forklifts and you have to constantly be on guard so you don’t get hit. Look to the left and some 60 year old guy is stabbing live eels with a knife; look to the right and they are cutting the frozen pink flesh of a giant tuna with a table saw.

We quickly worked our way to one of the many sushi joints in Tsukiji and had lunch. This is also something to do while in the fish market because the sushi is among the freshest in the world. The restaurant was no bigger than the sushi bar more than 10 customers would have overloaded the tiny place. The first thing the chefs asked me was if any of us spoke Japanese; they were overjoyed that I wasn’t speaking in English.

After Tsukiji, we headed to Asakusa and met up with Wei-san again. It was forecasted that Tokyo would have a thunder storm and heavy rain today. It began to rain when we arrived in Asakusa. There were lots of gaikokujin tourists in this area; they came to see Kaminarimon no doubt (see pics below). We walked through the shopping area and then visited the Kaminari Shrine. After that the four of us ate tendon or tempura over rice – it was good.

We finished our day with a quick trip to Ikebukuro. This area is pretty hip with lots of gaming places and shopping areas. We went to the Sunshine City Complex home of the 60 floor building. You can take the free elevator ride up to the top like we did. The elevator was quite possibly the fastest in the world. I can’t verify this but it ascended the 60 floors of the building in 35 seconds. While climbing, the inside of the elevator had a light show where whales and dolphins were projected onto the walls – it was cool. We didn’t bother with the viewing deck on the 60th floor because it was so foggy.

The rest of Sunshine City is a giant mall with tons of shops. We went to “Nanjya Town.” As far as I can tell, Nanjya is a cartoon ninja cat character in Japan. Nanjya Town is billed as a theme park but really, “the weirdest place you’ll ever visit” is a better title. There are so-called “museums” in Nanjya Town such as the Cream Puff Museum, the Gyoza Museum, and Ice Cream Town. You can sample cream puffs, gyoza, and ice cream in these museums for a price. We had to pay to get into Nanjya Town and then pay for all the food once inside. We ate gyoza and I had a cream puff later. Both were pretty good. Roger’s gyoza with mayonnaise on top were the best. There were also lots of attractions in Nanjya Town. There was a makeshift forest with tons of massage stalls and other health attractions like pressure point stalls and palm reading stations. There was also a haunted house. Nanjya Town was pretty crowded with Japanese people so it must be a popular hangout – even though it is beyond weird.

We came back to the hotel. Sunkus was sold out of natto rolls – I almost broke town in tears. Had to settle for musubi.

Tomorrow morning mom and I wake up early to fly to Hakodate in Hokkaido. I’ll be in Hokkaido for the next week. I hope to be able to update each day while in Hokkaido – let’s hope for internet access.

See you in Hokkaido where it is currently a couple degrees above freezing. BRRRRRRR!



Anonymous said...

Stop going to porn shops.

Futanari World said...

No no! Keep going! Japanese porn is AWESOME!