Saturday, 5 April 2014

Tokyo Night Walk

I was bitten by the travel bug long before I ever got the chance to leave South Africa thanks to my Grandmother's stories, and books. I was convinced that the world out there was fascinating, amazing, wonderful and full of crazy weirdness that would make me feel thrilled to be alive! I became obsessed with books about Japan and fell in love with all the imagery I conjured up in my mind through those written words. My Granny, (thought not the biggest fan of Japan for British reasons...) told me that I would have to, one day, go there to fulfil the love I developed for it. And she was so right!

I finally got to travel after school, to America, to the UK, to Switzerland and Italy and Thailand and other parts of asia, but my very favourite country that I have had the pleasure of visiting thus far is Japan. I finally got there with Husband in 2010. We spent the holiday traveling, skiing, seeing the snow monkeys and visiting loads of Buhdist temples and traditional gardens.

But Tokyo at night was something special. Having never experienced anything quite like it before, it stood out in my mind as the highlight of the trip (ok, that and the snow monkeys)

After seeing an article on Twitter entitled 'Tokyo Night Walk' which brought back a flood of wonderful memories, I was inspired to make my own little photo-blog of my Tokyo Nights.

Having arrived after hours, the first thing we did was find someone to make us a late late dinner of sushi. This was easier said than done, and the only place we found was in the hotel. The chef was very obliging and treated us like royalty - after all, we were his only customers. We weren't able to order different kinds of sushi like we do here at home, but rather were told 'Oh, sushi? You want sushi? You get sushi.' - and boy did we get sushi! 

Not that we knew what half the stuff on the plate was. One or two pieces resembled recognisable items, but the rest was fear in a fishy form! Raw sea urchin anyone? Slimy lumpy something grey? An eel? We smiled and grinned through it all, but learnt our lesson: Don't eat sushi in Japan. Our chef was wonderful though. He gave me a tea mug as a gift to take home too because I loved it so much :)

I found a KAWAI (Japanese brand) baby grand piano in glass that played by itself! I have an upright KAWAI at home, but mine is a manual, not an automatic.

The city lights in down town Tokyo kept me mesmerised and even though I couldn't understand most of the signs, I enjoyed watching the colours light up and flash intermittently. If I was a bug or some kind of flying insect, lets face it, I'd be toast.

Hello Kitty, who I know to be the Ruler of Japan (general knowledge according to Gilmore Girls) had many shrines in her honour. And being part kitty myself, I had to stop and worship.

Some images appear on the walls or store windows as you pass them by, and follow you enticing you to shop! It was futuristically ghostly and I LOVED it.

They had vending machines for everything under the sun, and a few things you would never expect too! (I have heard horror stories of used ladies undies...) This was a cake and ice-cream street stand. Too bad I was full after the sushi debacle.

And there was plastic food lining tables outside many restaurant to show you what they offered inside. Plastic. But looked SO GOOD I could have eaten it all right there and then! The plastic food industry is booming in Japan, apparently, and to buy even the smallest piece for display is unbelievably pricy. I think we'll stick with real food after all. (though I strongly considered getting plastic banana's for our kitchen - a little Japanese art-du-fruitbowl)

Dessert was rather interesting too, ranging from this gluey green stuff (which was quite good as it turns out) to jellied teenager 'boobs'. WTF right?

After giving a few other delicacies a try (or not!) I found the food I loved the most: Ramen. Good old ramen. Pork broth ramen specifically. Mmmmmmm - just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

But we eventually embraced our western innards and found ourselves a Mc-Knock-off. Delish.

We also found the New York Bar, made famous by the movie 'Lost in Translation', and treated ourselves to duck-fried chips, drinks, live music and an incredible view. The city is truly spectacular from above!

I found a few words I did understand - all too well - Dior and Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Oh My!

There was a Japanese showing of our own movie 'Invictus' at one of their local movie houses - we never went to see it but I would have loved to watch it in translation. Sigh - what a missed opportunity.

I found a smokey side alley which of course I had to go down. Because it was a smoky side alley. (which is basically 'Come Hither' in kitty speak)

And some more Ramen joints. (This may or may not be a picture of a  ramen restaurant, but I like the piggy mascot

We found a night market where I bought my now favourite silk gown with pink cherry blossom all over it. Most of the stalls were filled to the brim with useless trinkets, cheap plastic nothings that lit up or sang or whirred - and had it not been for Husbands steely guidance and a time limit, I could have been there all night! 

Pity he didn't let me buy the Hello Kitty alarm clock. Sad :(

Japan, Tokyo, you and I shall meet again. I am sure of it! This romance is far from over.

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom