Saturday, 3 January 2009


Over Christmas, I hopped across the East Sea to Japan. Japan is good.

Mt Fuji there. Not as close to Tokyo as cartoons would have you believe.

We never left Tokyo, and in a sense it was was obviously quite similar to Seoul, but here's the difference: everywhere you went, things were just a bit more exciting. Crazier, in a good way. And more expensive. Freaking expensive.

Before I applied for this job I had an interview for a position in Japan. Didn't get it. The interview was a farce. Anyway, the monthly wage I was quoted was however many yen 1000 English pounds buys you. I spent half that in four days in Tokyo. OK, I was on holiday and was using that as an excuse for some exorbitance, but it still makes you think how I'd have lived on that wage. I get the equivalent of the yen wage I was offered in won here in Seoul, which allows me to live like a king - and still I've bought a laptop and had two holidays in the last six months. I'm going start saving money this year.

First night in Japan was strange. We'd booked one night's accommodation in a hostel in Asakusabashi, which is nothing like Tokyo should be. It was suburban. There were no lights, few people, not much going on. Bars were non-existant. The next day, which was Christmas, we went elsewhere.

Shinjuku, actually. Shinjuku is much more like the Tokyo you see on TV and futuristic anime. Lights, people, pornography: everywhere. Christmas lunch, incidentally, was fish and chips, and, later, a salmon pizza. Neither were pleasant. Aside from the food aspect, it didn't feel especially like Christmas. Sure there were Japanese dressed up like Annual Gift Man and, y'know, some tinsel here and there, but it was 18 degrees, and I went to an arcade. Plus, people were taking the decorations down at 9pm.

Christmas Lunch

Then we spent another night at a hostel followed by a night in a place called Kimi Raikkonen. I mean Kimi Ryokan. Both were in Ikebukuro, which was good, too. Cut a long story short, I'm going back one day. When I have shitloads of money.

As promised, I'm going to give the blog some much needed photography.

Rainbow Bridge

We got on something like DLR to get to here. Nicer than London Docks.

The view from halfway up Tokyo Tower, which, incidentally, is the same as the Eiffel Tower, just a bit bigger and red.

Shibuya Crossing, the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world or something. You've probably seen it on Lost in Translation.

Day 1: I slept in a pine coffin.

Tokyo Tower. Told you it was just like the Eiffel Tower and red.

Condomania. It sold phophylactics and other phallus-oriented stuff. This was in a mall, in the same building as a two kids' theme parks. Oh, Japan.

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