Tokyo, Part I: the Second Edition

I managed to lose an entire post as I was prepping to download the accompanying photos. Consequently, I’m too frustrated to write everything from scratch again and will just use photos as filler.

Long story short: I arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday night and Randy was sure a sight for sore eyes. After 4 days alone in a foreign country with nobody to talk to, seeing Randy definitely brightened up my day. Instead of joining his co-workers for dinner, we set off on our own and ate at an “italian” place in nearby Minato-ku. The Japanese idea of Italian food is vastly different than hours. The all-Japanese menu and non-English speaking waiter had no clue what chicken picatta, shrimp scampi, lasagna or ravioli even were. I settled on what the waiter called grilled chicken pomodoro (I think). It consisted of fatty dark meat chicken with mustard on top and a few bread crumbs (it wasn’t coated). these strips of chicken were over a bead of iceberg lettuce.

Italian?

On Thursday, Randy and I went to Ueno (location of a large park, museums, a zoo and a shrine and pagoda). We skipped the museums and explored the shrine, pagoda and neighboring Ameyo-Yokocho bargain shopping district. As with much of urban Japan, the city is butt-ugly. Horrible architecture, plain and simple. But the Japanese make up for it in lighting. At night, all of these nasty/dirty looking places (which are quite safe, by the way) become spectacularly flashy neon stages. It’s amazing.

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It was in the Ameyo-Yokocho area that we found, and purchased, Drinkable Oxygen. Yes, you can but a bottle of liquid oxygen. Even better, it was DIET Drinkable Oxygen! Who knew air was so fattening?

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We then walked to Akihabara -the electronics district of Tokyo. This reminded me of the tacky fluoresecent-illuminated streets of New York City where you can buy cameras and TV’s. Except this is NYC times ten. It’s overwhelming and glitzy (tacky) and mobbed with people. It’s also where Randy and I took our photos next to Hello Kitty.

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Last night we joined Randy’s colleagues for dinner in the bawdy Roppongi entertainment district (more neon). They selected a Chinese Restaurant with giant penises, asses and vaginas mounted to the ceiling beams (don’t know why). On a dare, one person in the group ordered fried scorpions for our table. However, out of a party of 8, only 4 people were willing to eat the scorpions. Believe it or not, I was one of them! Yep, i went all Fear Factor on your ass and ate a whole scorpion. It tasted like a big rock of salt…and the tail was painfully sharp as I crunched into it.

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Ironically, despite it being me who ate the scorpion, it’s Randy who woke up today with a belly ache…poor guy. I guess the food might be getting to him. I’m not sure how this well affect our explorations today. But on the agenda are Shinjuku and the Imperial Palace gardens. Wish us luck!

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4 Comments

  1. Comment by Lise on December 7, 2006 8:33 pm

    Too funny!!!! I’m just laughing my ass off.

  2. Comment by Lise on December 7, 2006 9:11 pm

    Oh, and Karl I sent you and email with some of the (my!) going’s on here but I’m not sure you’re checking your HLS email so the main things is I took the liberty of RSVPing for you for the big FA party on Tuesday – they were being total Nazi’s about it needing to be done NOW or you couldn’t go. So I guess if you don’t they’ll dock your pay for the food (it’s a “plated lunch). I choose the opposite entre from mine so you can choose whichever one you want (because they both suck ass).

  3. Comment by Chris on December 8, 2006 1:19 am

    Upset stomachs always disrupt our “explorations”, too.

    Uh huh.

  4. Comment by Planet Tokyo on October 9, 2007 5:13 pm

    Hmmm. Japanese Italian food. Only slightly less scary than Japanese Mexican food (think Gin Margaritas).

    The scorpion apparently acts as an ant-acid.

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