ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘arakawaoki’

Sorry for the delay

Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

Blimey! Its been so long since I made an entry, everyday i wake up i feel all ‘out of it’, not sure why, i think i am oversleeping a bit too much!!!

Anyway, it seems justin has filled in the most block parts of the day (good boy!) so i will just fill in the blanks… btw, excuse my bad typing, the spacebar on the laptop broke, so we bought an external usb keyboard… but japanese… so the keys in different places!!! lol… :)

We seem to have been doing quite a lot in the evenings, but the days are always spent in bed sleeping (i guess cause of the tiredness factor from staying out all night…)

Making decisions seems to cause quite a few conflicts at times, as we both want to do different things, and i think this holiday is really testing our friendship, but it seems to be holding up, hurrah! Justin seems to be quite unhappy i dont; like japanese food… sorry japanese people, but your food sux!! All the types I do like, are apparently ‘western’ anyway, so don’t count…. don’t get me wrong, i would love to like it (its so cheap!) but its just nasty… cooked in, ummm, soya bean (i think misu) which reakes and is very offputting :)

Ok, hmmmm… where left off… well i think i had just bought the canon iXY 500, but the photos were so white it was unbelievable… just not good quality at all so i was determined to change it. Luckily the sales people seem pretty nice, and managed to swap it for a Casio Exlim exz40 (not out in uk yet) - good camera if you dont mind shed loads of noise :( wanted to take it back… but its so small and cute that i will keep it.. only £200 so no big loss… it will do until a better model is released (nothing else any good either) when i will get chiakiy to send it over :)

Thursday night we met Seiko for first time in Roppongi… she speaks so little english it was really, really awkward, but luckily after the drink had set in from Gas Panic (see j;s post) we started to get on a lot better… still not so good english, but can talk the language of smiles :)

Which incidently reminds me, since i have been here, i have had to dumb down my english (cut out a lot of words that are pointless) that i am worried i will not get it back when i get home!! lol… all the people we are meeting are female, so i am copying them… i sound like a frickin japanese chick! lol… when me and justin speak, so start with we talk slow, until we realise we are both english hahahahahahahahaha….

Erm anyway, yeah, so Thurday night was to celebrate justins start of birthday, so Gas Panic and then a club called the Lexington Queen… depending on the entry price, you either got 2/3/5 or 6 free drinks. There was only a 500 yen difference between 3 and 5 (currently 190 yen to the pound) so we went for the 5 drinks…. quite why i dunno as we were blatted after just the 2… lol… very good fun night, all range of music inc 2 or 3 trance tracks,. yay!

Oh, that reminds me… cost… Quite why everyone say Japan most expensive place ion the world i dont understand… its cheap as chips :) I guess somethings must cost a lot, but so far, most of my money going on Arcardes!!! Clubs cheaper than UK, drinks cheaper than London Central prices (Gas panic was only £2 per drink!), food cheaper, mcdonaldcheaper ;) transport cheaper…. i love this place… You can have a bonza night out for so little… then the trains start a 5:30 (hell yeah!) so you can get home cheap after a night out, then get some food (read whole meal) in the local noodle bar for about £2!!!!

Hehe, I’m jumping about here… really can’t remember what order… its now 2/3am or something and i am parched! lol…. erm…. oh yeah, dont buy porn mags from the convenience stores. Japanese law prohibits showing of genitalia, so porn mag = naked woman all fuzzed out.. lol… it would be more attractive if she were dressed :) - if you want ‘proper’ stuff, head to shibuya or shinjuku… i can’t confirm this, but word on the street says there is no censorship in the more seedy shops…..

Shibuya is a wicked place… massive tv screens on highrise buildings and many many lights (admittedly daytime it doesn’t look so good, but at night its awesome… very very pretty) - its the #teencapital# of tokyo (or one of them, the other one is apparently harajuku) and many can be seen wandering the streets with their millions of shopping bags. You get the dodgy looking ‘Ganguru Girls’ here too… they look like sh*t, with really really tanned brown faces and really bright makeup… i don’t understand… :( the kogal’s (just lots of brightmakeup, short skirts, loose socks etc…)
however are a lot more appealing to the eye…. ;)

Right, so now we are up to Friday… i have a feeling i was asleep all day until late… but knwoing justin we probably went shopping at some point… i have managed to aquire about 10 Kanji t-shirts, so am quite happy, but there is a shop in Harajuku with some Kanji Style jeans!!! Well gow you always wanted to get me in jeans, maybe now you will… if they can get my size in i will buy there :)

Ahhhh… which reminds me… kanji clothing… so hard to come across… The japanese love english charatcers, so everything in flipping english… grrr… its funny though, justin bought a tshirt which makes heck all sense… it does go on about having sex with little children though?!?!!? and mudmud! wtf!!

Harajuku is our local walking distance shopping place.. its quite nice, big screens again and right next to Yoyogi park, which is very beautiful and houses a japanese temple (well its not going to be american now is it?!?! haha) There is a place called ‘KiddyWorld’ there… just a huge 5 floor toyshop.. but its awesome! any money i have left over at the end of this holiday will be spent there.. they have a lifesize (human size) Doromon (sp?) which costs over £200!!!! I have bought a fwe things so far, but will definately return…

Friday night for Justins birthday, we went out to Chiakiys house in Arakawoki (in Ibaraki) where her mother took us to a traditional japanese restaurant. Was very nice (see i do like some of the food!) but i dont want to imagine the cost… Chiakiys mother has been so kind to us this holiday, i am trying to think of something really nice to do for her… maybe something in Kyoto, or take her out or something… Afterwards, we went to a 24hour karaoke bar (so different to how i imagines, you get your own room rather than sing to otherr people, good in a way, but it would be nice to have an audience) - so if you see the photos, its me and j, Chiakiy (the non japanese looking girl ;)), Michiko (Micha) Chaikiys best friend and Tdu (works at Burtons, (snow board shop) with Chiakiy)

That ended at about 5:30 or something, when we had to go get the train back to Tokyo, to sleep ready for the big saturday night out in Shibuya… Unfortuntely, we also had to get up a 3pm to go get Chiakiy from the station, so it wasn’t all bed of roses… Didn’t do too badly though and was up by 2 to pick her up… didn’t show until 3:30… doh!

Chiakiy had not been Tokyo before, so we figured it would be a good time to go for a bit of a sightsee.. Decided on Tokyo Central as it sounded important… but not really anything there… Did walk to the Imperial Park though, there should be some photos… very beautiful and some cool trees which you dont get here.. Walked around it for a bit then followed the road to Ginza, the most expensive part of tokyo. Kinda same thing, big buildings lots of lights, but very nice all the same. Bought the new GunsnRoses cd from HMV for only £9 (see, japan cheeeeep!) though was pissed when the sales guy took the Kanji bit out to put in another one… grrrrrrrrrr….

For night out, decided on Club Pure in Shibuya as it was only 2500 yen (£13) with all you can drink… wicked idea, wicked club.. worked very well. We had been warned off the place, but inside it was so nice, loads of sofas, films on big screens for if you get tired (with english subtitles, oh yes!) and of course the free drink policy… ya ta!

That finished at about 5am, when we went to the arcades and then to a noodle bar to get some breakfast (noodles with fried beef… yummy!) then home to bed.

Sunday was really boring as it just rained all day, and did absolutely nothing… so no photos… nothing to write…

Today, hurrah! I can’t believe it, i’ve only been writing 45 minutes and i am up to now… yip!

Woke up so late, but didn’t want to get up… Justin left to go (suprise suprise) harajuku, went and met him later on at about 5pm… soooo sleeeppy!

Decided to meet up with Seiko again, which is cool… its good to have friends here :) to go and play pool. Went to some pool hall, which charged per hour not per game.. Cool, except Chiakiy and Seiko never played before, so we didn;t excatly get the most for our money. Especially when only after 2 hours and 1 drink each the bill came to over £35!!!! feck! Not worth it, stupid place! Should have gone bowling like i wanted to! ha! Which reminds me, Chiakiy and Sekio now becoming friends. This is good as C not know anyone in Tokyo, but S say she can come and stay at her house :) awww… teamtokyo bring people together! nice one !

Chiakiy had to go home for work tomorrow, so took her back to station and went out for some dinner .., lovely, chicken curry with burger, sausage, prawns and scrambled eggs for only £4!! :) i LOVE japanese food, hahaha, i’m sure justin will have something to say about that…

Now then, just back home writing this, when i should be sleeping as we need to be up early tomorrow to catch the BulletTrain to Kyoto… gonna be about £150 return, so only gonna make the trip once. But staying over 1 or maybe 2 nights to get the most out of the place. Credit cards can be useful after all (even if the fricking payments take one month to process!!!!)

re the Sakurs house rules… seems everyone just says ‘f*ck it’ so its not as strict and crap as we thought it would be.. MSN and ICQ work (though I have so far had anough will power not to log on) and the FTP to put the pictures up works great…

One shocking thing.. we think our 1 meg broadband is fast (or 2 meg if you really push it) here in Japan you get for 4500 yen (22ish pounds) 100meg broadband.. yes… thats right, you did read that correctly.. i will try and scan in the advert to prove it… would love it at home, though the upstream is not so good, but then i guess you can#t have everything….!!!

People are really nice and friendly, no trouble seen yet (unless you count the 60 person fight / double mafia murder outside gas panic… but that was Yakuza related, so doesn’t really count) - Chiakiy even dropped her purse in an arcade, abd someone came running out to give it back… i wonder in england if the same thing would have happened.

A lot of the people in our block are here for a year teaching english. It seems like such a simple thing to do, maybe I would like to do it when I finish Uni…. i will see… but definately something i will think about… Everyone have so much fun and you only work 4 hours a day, not bad considering you get to take home about £1000 a month… :)

Phew… well now I am knackered, if i think of anything more, i will write,,, but probably not for a few days unless we net cafe in Kyoto or something. I need to pack my clothes now, though Justin is sparko, so will need to get it done in the morning.

Bai Bai! :)


Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Posted by Justin

Woke up at 8am to get breakfast, had japanese bread with eggs and ham. Had to carry our heavy suitcases to Ibariki station and figure out how to get the train to Shinjoku station, tokyo to pick up out apartment keys.

We really needed to find a weekly subway pass so travelled from our Yoyogi station back to Shinjuko (1 stop). Only day passes were avaliable from 700yen to 1500. I think weekly ones are strangely available abroad (cheers for that Joseph, shame i was too lazy to get one from the uk)

Did some shopping and decided to go to akihabara - electronic city (the mass equivalent to Tottenham court road) It was around 7pm when we touched down - lights everywhere with a night sky. Hyped me up so much, i went crazy.

Ben was looking for his ixy 500. In the end, got it for 50,000 yen with a 256mb memory card which is pretty good,
This country has definately started the ‘WHITE’ revolution. So many appliances are in ‘concreate white’ The PSX looks very tempting - but for 500quid… i don’t think so. I saw my old toshiba m30 laptop. It’s called a different name over here… different branding- much higher spec and also in ‘concreate white’!

Found some of those so called book shops. I dunno who’s going to read this so i’ll just say… lots of variety, millions haha,
funny how there are so many bussinessmen reading comics, the storyline’s can’t be that good surely. Some of there material was quite shocking to us… haha i’ll move on.

Got a call from Miko and Seiko, will try and meet up with them soon. Everyone seems to be so busy on the weekdays.

Wasted loads of money on the arcades again, but it’s all good fun!

We’ve arrived in Japan … woooo!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

well we made it!! its been an eventful two days to say the least, but we are very happy and have certainly been made to feel very welcome :)

we stayed up the night before we left, figuring we would try and beat the jetlag syndrome, so by the time the first flight came we were sooo tired!! it was uneventful enough, and we landed in malapansa airport in milan on time.

it was only after we had got off plane, we realised our first mistake. as we were now in milan,we needed euros to spend! eek!! we of course didn’;t haveany, only yen and pounds so we had tofind a cash machine….. except milan airport doesn’t have any!!!! how crazy is that??? so we were stuck in the airport for two hours and sooooo thirsty and not happy to say the least..we were saved about an hour later however when we found out one place in the whole airport that would accept visa… phew!

Onto the next plane, the 12 hour big one. well firstly we were incredibly lucky.. we got the door seats! ie, we had the door in front of us, so infinite leg room! hurrah! also, we had funky tv’s in the arms of our seats that were rotatable so you could lie down and still watch them!! this kept us occupied for the rest of the flight! :)

After touching down and getting baggage,we then had to find Chiakiy. Although I had seen a few photos before, they weren’t very clear,so i was a bit worried i would not recognise her!! so when we got out and saw her, wetried to casually see if she had recognised us… she did though so it was all ok :)

She took us to her car (with her friend) where we met her mother (a very nice, friendly person :)) and we were whisked away into japan… woo hoo!

Chiakiy is really good fun and really nice. i am glad i met her, she is going to help us out and about and seems to have loads of friends which will be veryuseful!! :) She lives in Ibaraki which is just north of tokyo, and seems to be quite a quiet place. little roads and things, until you drive out a bit to the shops.

First we were taken to a japanese buddha shrine garden thing. We’re not quite sure what you would call this place, but it was very beautiful all the same! It has a massive (read MASSIVE!) Buddha statue, which is in the Guiness Book of records as the largest statue in the world (about 1400 metres i think, though it may have been feet! lol) (Edit: It was actually Ushiku Amida)

There were many bells hanging, which it seems to be good luck to hit. As well as what looked like a huge bbq, which produced smoke you had to wave on your body where pain was, it would then make you feel better. I put it on all of me just to make sure :)

Behind the statue was a petting zoo, with a monkey show (see pix) which was quite entertaining. Also a cage with Prairie Dogs, which i had never seen before so a nice change :) Just in front of it was a pond filled with Coi Carp which all swam to the surface and were trying to grab food, we were touching them and then they would swim away when Chiakiy would scream :) lol

After this, her mother wanted to take us out to a traditional japanese lunch, so we were driven to a noodle bar. we had to sit on the floor on tatami(sp) mats and cusions, which was ok at first but did hurt a bit after a while! :) i’m not quite sure what i had, but in envolved prawns and noodles :)

We were originally going to spend the first night at chiakiys friend house, but unforutaly this was not possible, so instead we went to check into the Hotel Plaza Arakawa-Oki. But Chiakiys mother insisted on paying and would not hear otherwise. We will get her a big present to say thank you at some point!!!! it was about £70!!!

After putting our bags in the room, we went back to Chiakiys to get her friends car and then to go the shops fora bit! I wanted to see how much my digital camera would cost, but unfortunately they did not have it :( The supermarket type place was crazy though, it sold everything and allso bright colours!!! amazing and so cool…. i want to live here :) lol.. after this we went to a Vodafone store and Justin bought mobile… lol

OK, so we done a lot now… so we went back to Chiakiys house where her mnother made us some food. We were still eating this when her friend rang for us togoout. So we went to a cheap type restaurant down the road (but still very nice!!) there we met another 2 of her friends so we sat and (tried!) to talk for a bit before going to a games arcade…

WWWWOOOOOWWW!! japanese arcades are so much better than uk. for a start, they havea lot more bemani games, so i was able to playddr :) and a bongo simulator!!!! thatwas great fun, i wish they had it over in uk :( :( we also played bingo and on the slots for a bit, before going to a photome sticker booth thing to get a picture taken of all of us (will photo it and put in gallery :))- we stayed until about 12 or so, when we got tired (plus chiakiy has work early) so left to go back.

We got a lift back to Chiakiys, then she walked us to the hotel (She went back on her moped….) it was business style one and very nice. it even had a traditional japanese bath (ie loads of people in it), but i didn’t like the idea of a bath with a load of naked blokes so wasn’t going to try it!!!

This morning we were up by 8:40 to go for breakfast, which unfortunately i did not like, but justin did so that was ok before finished packing and going to station to get train to tokyo…

Heck I’m so tired!! Will finish this tomorrow, lol yes i know, always one day out :)