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ABC night in Tokyo

ABC night in Tokyo

Just wrote up our recent night out with a friend – starting with A…

 

A is for Alex. We met Alex through the anime fair 2013 for which he was translating a session with Japanese voice actors for gaijin freshman like us.

 

 

B. Boredom antidote that is Tokyo. Even in further districts of Tokyo, like Kameido which is where we started our night out.

Tokyo, Japan

 

C. Cool and crazy. I saw turtles with wings.

Tokyo, Japan

 

D. Danger. Japan is regularly shaken by earthquakes and hit by tsunamis. Just a few days ago we had quite a shaking with a magnitude of 3 which swang our house back and forth. Creepy feeling. This monument here, monitors water levels of a nearby river.

Tokyo, Japan

 

E. Eldorado of retail is the Donki store which we visited again. With the cute blue penguin mascot overseeing his empire of girly cosmetics, groceries, fancy dress, electronics, brand goods, adult toys and everything my eyes had never seen before.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Alex has made it in Japan. He is not an English teacher like most gaijin but used to work at the Donki headquarters and is now in advertising. Having internalized the Donki inventory and repetitive J-pop store songs by heart, he is thrilled to revisit anytime, especially when asked  “Hey Alex, can I go in? Just for a minute, okay?”.

Tokyo, Japan

 

E. Everything is kawaii in Japan and a lot of it at the Donki. Even gross products come off somewhat nice.

Tokyo, Japan

 

F. Fit yourself a new pair of eyes.

Tokyo, Japan

 

G. Garish and bright and bedazzling. Mainly girly.

Tokyo, Japan

 

H. Hunger and thirst. Will be best cured at a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

I. Izakaya restaurants. The Japanese institution serving salary man and their friends. We had the best lounge with a view on the second tallest building in the world, Tokyo’s Skytree Tower.

Tokyo, Japan

 

J. Just amazing dining etiquette. Like three different salts for one dish. Oh, and don’t play with your chopsticks in your mouth. (Thanks for the reminder, Alex).

Tokyo, Japan

 

K. Kinda small entrance. Watch your head when entering some places. That goes for Japanese people, as well. Just saying.

Tokyo, Japan

 

L. Love Japanese food. Fish is a favourite.

Tokyo, Japan

 

M. Must open up to Japanese complementary starters. Even if some of it might be glibbery, fermented and slimy. Like the green okra-pepper veggie or pickled, bitter and black seaweed (at least I think that is what it was).

Tokyo, Japan

 

N. New age fun are these digital menus, through which you order meals and drinks.

Tokyo, Japan

 

O. Oh, is that cannabis? No, it is a decorative maple leaf!

Tokyo, Japan

 

If you see these signs and know how to read them… the zero tolerance to drugs policy is strict in Japan. Does not concern alcohol consumption.

Tokyo, Japan

 

P. Pants. My new warm under-pants for colder days. (Yes, I couldn’t resist buying something at the Donki).

Tokyo, Japan

 

Q. Quiz. How do three people share the last fried goodness? They don’t. Alex got it.

Tokyo, Japan

 

R. Rabbits. Not only cute creatures making booze more tolerable for girls like me, but they are a sign of the moon. Americans see the round of cheese when they look at the moon, well the Japanese see rabbit. Who is the lunatic?

Tokyo, Japan

 

S. Stamps. We came across a name-stamp-shop. Tiny pretty stamps are the official Japanese signature for all important documents. As vital as your personal ID in Japan. If you are a gaijin resident, you name stamp will be transcribed into Katakana (and if you have an L in your name, it will be changed to R). The old guy in the picture is the figurehead for Japanese name stamps. Alex lectured about the historic relevance of the white bearded man but… I forgot. However, in Japan, the signature is a stamp.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

T. Tonight we also picked up our Rilakkuma (the Japanese bear wearing bear suit. I know. You just gotta go with the idea). We had collected 30 conbini loyalty stickers and were rewarded with a Rilakkuma mug.

Tokyo, Japan

 

U. Utterly bedazzled by the Japanese conbini, we had more food. Cake and pizza are totally unnecessary comfort foods.

Tokyo, Japan

 

V. Very strange is this food Alex recommends. Can be eaten as bread sticks or mashed, when mixed with water.

Tokyo, Japan

 

W. Weddings. Are expensive and opulent in Japan. There is temple tradition or chapel grand style for grooms and brides. If you see a church in Japan, most probably it isn’t – it’s a wedding parlour. Weddings are expensive, not only for the hosts. Instead of bringing presents, the guests pay wedding money to the newly weds for which they get a meal, fun raffles and entertainment.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Opulence is the key. Book the dream agent.

Tokyo, Japan

 

X. X-tra money can be made at pachinko. Gambling parlours that are smoke infused, incredibly loud and just the last place where you would want to be.  But we found two pachinko coins on the street and hoped to try them out. It didn’t work.

Alex explained the basics of the game.

Tokyo, Japan

 

This is the Evangelion themed pachinko machine. For adults.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Y. Yes! We are out of pachinko, back in Kyodo, near our home, and in a bar – misleadingly called Milk Bar.

Milk Bar? How did we end up with booze?

Tokyo, Japan

 

That’s how.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

Z. Zebra. Well, the picture features deer, bunnies and other animals but I couldn’t think of something that would fit the letter. Anyway, as we were walking through the metro station to get to Kyodo, I took a picture of the cutest Odakyu Line poster ad ever.

Does cuteness determine what train you are going to take? Absolutely yes. In Japan.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Maybe the ABC of Japanese kawaii should be something to write about, too.

So long, have sweet dreams and a good night!❤

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