Let's Get The Basics Out Of The Way First Tokyo (東京) is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and ilocated on the eastern side of the biggest of Japan's 3,000 islands, Honshu. Home to 36.9 million people, it is not only the most populous city in the world but also the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, as well as the home of the Japanese Imperial Family. This great city is comprised of 23 special wards, each of which governs itself. One of those wards is Shibuya, the inspiration and namesake of my original site, Shibuya…
The first time I set foot on Japanese soil I was 22 years old. I had gone over two full years without smoking any cigarettes, which I did off-and-on for a short period after turning 18 -- only while drunk though (as if that makes it any better). In Tokyo it was all different. Given their attitude on drinking, it only figures that cigarette smoking would go hand-in-hand. Let me tell you, I was shocked by what I saw. Not only did it seem like nearly everyone smoked cigarettes, but you were allowed to smoke pretty much anywhere except clothing…
This "Cool" Bar Puts A Shiver Of Satisfaction In Your Spine Have you heard of the Ice Hotel in Sweden, or any of the subsequent ones that have opened in nearly two dozen other countries? Well this is the same idea, only located in Roppongi, the infamous tourist district in the Minato ward of Tokyo. It is a warehouse kept at -5° C because the entire interior is made of ice sculptures. The bar, the chairs and tables, the artwork, even the cups, all of which are handcarved and actually imported from the Ice Hotel in Sweden. You are even…
Tokyo Clubs Far Surpass All Forms Of American Nightlife Wow. That's all I can say. You cannot even begin to imagine what the clubs are like in Tokyo. They are absolutely incredible, like nothing we have over here in the west! It figures that as much as the residents of Tokyo love to drink, they should have some damn cool places to do it. For starters, the biggest difference is the sheer size of the clubs there. Every single one is designed to span several floors, usually with different themes and different styles of music for each. Rather than have…
At first glance the sheer magnitude of Tokyo's sprawling railway and subway system can be a little intimidating — and by a little I mean a lot. However, have no fear, it is a lot easier than you would initially expect, even if you do not speak a word of Japanese. Huge maps and signs adorn the walls over the machines where you purchase your tickets, one bank of machines is in Japanese and another in English. By knowing where you want to go and finding it on the map, it is easy to see which color line(s) to take…
After experiencing fresh, truly authentic Japanese food, you will never be able go back to eating the bastardized version of it at most restaurants outside of Japan. I am really going to miss the food here more than anything. It does not even compare to the sushi back home, way different and so much better. The majority of the sushi you find in America is presented in customized into a variety of different sushi rolls, which of course are further garnished with Americanized additions like guacamole and cream cheese. In all actuality I was very surprised to not seen a…
You Don't Have To Like Fashion To Love Harajuku! In this wild district absolutely"anything goes" fashion-wise! Harajuku is located in the northern portion of Shibuya ward and even though I don't care for fashion or shopping, this is still is one of my favorite districts in all of Tokyo. Two things I appreciate most while traveling are uniqueness and art. If you had to describe Harajuku in any two words except for the obligatory 'fashion' and 'shopping,' well it would undoubtedly be those. The district, its' spirit, and of course its' original and indescribable street fashion is why the area…
Alcohol consumption is a popular social activity in a variety countries all over this world, however few cities take it to the level that the residents of Tokyo do. From hard liquor sold around-the-clock in corner stores to clubs whose closing time is not until "the last person leaves," this mega-metropolis has a decidedly care-free attitude toward drinking. Just as the local citizens love their cigarettes, it should come as no surprise that they also love their fermented beverages -- more so than any other country I have seen in this corner of the world. Take China, for example: drinking…
This is not a joke. I was playing a little I Spy with one of my classes and this is how they manage to play it not feeling any discomfort or awkwardness. It actually describes just how people are in this country. Really, really blunt and direct (when it comes to others), not thinking about emotional consequences. Although at the same time, half of the time it doesn't make any sense when they say something. Because A. their English is average, B. they just are totally not direct at all. This is a world with al lot of contradictions. Once…
I’M gambling with God. Dicing with Dharma. Betting on Buddha. This adventure unravels in the Taiwanese capital ofTaipei, in Long ShanTemple. And I’m essentially playing Taiwanese two-up but it’s not money I’m chasing, it’s love. Of all the temples inTaiwan, it’s here that people flock to seek answers to their lives. Want love? Money? Health? Success? Come to the Department of Deities. I’m lured into the temple by the peaceful hum of devout Buddhists. Around me, people are playing some sort of interesting game involving two blocks of wood. And just when I think it’s all lost in translation, out…
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