Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 6 - Last Day in Tokyo

Whoops, sorry about missing post deadline, blogerinos.... Yesterday (Day 7) was very hectic, and didn't have access to Internet for most of the day, so I'm playing catchup. Anyway, here's a recap of Day 6 (Wednesday):

We wanted to go to a movie in Tokyo, to see how the experience differs. There was a nearby mega theatre in our neighbourhood, so we went that afternoon to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was in English with Japanese subtitles, so we were safe.

A few things stuck out about the experience. I didn't think that the theatre was particularly nicer (although Carey would disagree because she thinks that the Japanese do everything better), but the design was noticably different... it seemed classier, not all glitz and neon and metal. Understated wood accents, etc. Who knows if they're all like this, though... but it was considered a megaplex. Of course it went up, instead of outwards; 9 screens spanning 4 floors in a tower.

They also have a gift shop which is filled with merch like t-shirts and gloss showbooks for the various currently-playing movies.

The tickets themselves are a lot more expensive (1800 Yen, or about 25 bucks), and there's assigned seating, like at a concert. You pick your seats at the service counter, when you buy your tickets. Also, the concession food is less expensive than at home (most combos about $6-7), but there's fewer options (no candy!), with some weird ones, like fried edamame nuggets... which I tried and thought they were kinda gross. And I'll eat anything, so you know they must be an acquired taste.

Of course, you take your tray with you back to the lobby when you're done... like most things in Japan, there's a certain DIY component.

They give you cute plastic trays for your snacks, which is handy and cool. They actually hook into the arm rests on your seat, which makes sense.

Carey wants you to note the labels for the assigned seats.

There was a weird thing we noticed during the movie. There was a love scene between the main characters, and they were in a darkened bedroom, naked. Now, we think there was some clever blocking and lighting done to avoid actually showing any genitalia (it was an American movie), but there was pixelation censor boxes from mid-stomach to mid-thigh for the whole scene - even when there was no way there could be anything actually showing! Very weird... especially considering what we had seen the few times we walked around Kabukicho. I mean, we could leave the theatre that had the censored crotches, walk two blocks from this movie theatre and see a strip show, go to a relaxation room and watch naughty DVDs, buy a whole whack of naughty toys and super-high tech self-love equipment or check into a theme room Love Hotel, then walk down to the lobby to talk to a Nigerian pimp and see about having some company for the night... all with no pixelation. Heck, even the manga/anime shops have hentai sections (naughty comics) in full view and none of those are pixelated either! Just seemed very arbitrary. Japan has an incredibly strange relationship to sex. I think it goes hand-in-hand with their over-developed sense of retraint (some would call it repression).

When the movie is done, the lights don't come back on until the entire credits have rolled, and no one moves. Everyone sits in the dark in silence, watching the credits go by. Once the last credit has rolled, they turn on the lights, and an attendent comes out and tells the audience to don't forget your belongings and to bring all your waste to the appropriate receptacles in the lobby. A fun experience.

After the movie and a quick bite at an Italian place (funny thing - the Western food that seems most popular so far here is spaghetti; it's everywhere!)... we went back for some more UFO Catcher! We tried some new strategies after researching on the internet, but in the end it's just good old fashioned perserverance and the logical tactics... Carey must be a natural at this, because she upped her game and won one of the biggest plushy prizes in the store! I wanted to get a video of her winning it, but as soon as the camera came out, I got shot down by the attendents (they make X signs with their fingers to say "Not allowed!")... they must not want her good strategies to get out onto the Internet. Carey said there's a UFO Catcher arcade in her city, but she never went in before. Eeeeep, I'm started to get scared, she gets this crazed look in her eye when she talks about it. I wonder if I'll be planning an intervention sometime in her future.

Carey, how are we supposed to pack this for the train to Fukuoka!!!??

So after some arcade, we got ready for one last night out in Tokyo. We started at the 270, which I guess I would consider to be a Japanese version of a Western casual college bar/restaurant. It was the same place we went with Aaron on the first night in Tokyo, so it was a good bookend to the week. Everything on the menu is 270 yen. More weird appetizers, more hoppy, more umeshu (plum wine). I did octopus and wasabi, which was literally just that... not even cooked! Forgot to take a pic, but it wasn't much to look at, to be honest... picture a small bowl of wet-looking tripe or chopped up white fish. Regardless, it was good and I actually ate it all while Carey looked on in disgust... but I like squid, so no bigs.

Hoppy... happy.... hoppy... happy.... heheheheheehehehehehe!

After the 270, there was an electro club I wanted to try that I saw on the Internet, but once we got to it, it was closed. Weird, even the monthly schedule on the door said it was supposed to be open. Ah wells, we walked around Kabukicho more, avoiding the pimps and door callers in front of the gentlemen clubs, and sighed resignedly and went to the gaijin bar at the Golden Gai. Met a younger Aussie couple on their first night in Tokyo, and a cool and hilarious older Japanese Sado teacher (tea ceremony!!! You'd never think it to look at him). Carey made friends with the waitress with her limited Phillipino... so if you ever want to 180 a cranky-looking Phillipino server and get better service, know how to say "thank you" and "noodles" and you'll get smiles and prompt drinks. We knew we had enough when an incredibly douchey American guy saddled up near us and started spewing bullshit. He kept talking about how awesome he was because he ran websites for a living, and was talking about all the money he was making while just standing there on his iPad. "I own 86 websites!" *shiver* Baka gajin!

We stayed longer than we meant to, and went back to the hotel to have a short sleep before the next day.... which was Shinkensen (Bullet train) to Fukuoka! Tokyo was a lot of fun... but I'm ready to leave. Very busy, very crowded, always noisy. After 7 days, I'm ready to have a little less tourist stuff, and more relaxing times at izakayas and onsen baths.

Today's vendy isn't the whole vendy... but the branding at the bottom. "BOSS"... one of the more common soft drink/coffee vendy companies I see... but look who it is! Tommy Lee Jones is the BOSS!