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Tokyo-Nerd and Freak Town

Yesterday, i left the hostel early as per usual. I had a walking tour scheduled for 01:30 pm-but was anxious to explore Tokyo. The first thing I wanted to do was change my room for part of my stay from a 4 bed dorm to a 8 bed dorm, which saves $6.00 per night. I just want the cheapest room possible. The girl at the front desk told me it could be done-but she said it was a complex transaction since I did part of the booking online, and extended my stay with the front desk while I was here, involving refunds and recharging, which I couldn't understand. I said I would talk to the manager when he got in, which was later.

So I left the hostel, and took the train to the starting point for the tour, which was in a part of town called Akihabara. This was a fortunate starting point, because although there was over 3 hours to the start of the tour, there we're lots of camera stores I could explore. I walked around the area, looking at various camera stores.

The area also had casinos, dealing with a game called Pachinko, one had a line that wrapped around an entire building an down the block-which was exclusively guys. The folks admitting them into the parlor we're women in short skirts.

Otherwise, the people on the streets we're freaky. There we're a lot of white folks wandering around, including a couple where the guy had a all-black cowboy outfit and the woman a gothic long dress. A lot of stores we're selling anime, which seems like high-tech cartoons. It seemed like thousands of stores we're selling this anime stuff. A lot of these stores had dozens of boxes in front of them, which you would put money in for a little character in a round container, much the same as the gumball machines the supermarket had when I was little (and maybe still does)-except there we're many many of these boxes, and they we're for adults. I found a little character with a cat with a pineapple top, which I sort of liked but didn't buy.


I had two lunches, of salmon pizza (I was hungry), and then ramen noodles, which wasn't that great at a raman place. Then I went on the free walking tour.

There we're about 30 people on the tour, and the guide was most interesting and informative. I learned that before the 1800's Tokyo was called Edo, and the entire country of Japan was led by Samurais, who reported to the Emperor, and the Samurais, who led different parts of Japan, we're required to come to Edo, bring gifts to the Emperor, and spend their money. I also learned that there was an isolationist policy until the mid 1800's-when the US came with a modern new ship, and that is when trade opened up, and the Samurais culture was voted against in favor of a democracy, and samurais we're ordered to stop carrying their swords.

I learned about the religious in Japan-mainly Buddhism and Shinto, which is indigenous to Japan. Shinto is centered on the natural world. Most Japanese aren't religious, but go to the Shinto temple during life, and for funerals, go to the Buddhist temple. In front of the Shinto temple, a group was doing Tai-chi. I learned about bathouses, and tatoos forbidden because they usually indicted someone was in prison. (although it wasn't always enforced).

I learned that Japan is slowly dying off. The birthrate is largely 1.46 per adult is below 2, which would be required to keep up it's population. The population would half by 2060, it was predicted. Also, because the Japanese (A) go to school within Japan, and (B) only travel to Hawaii and Paris, and always in large groups, their English is by and large terrible or nonexistent, and because of this, they are falling behind in the world. I wanted to know more about why Korean and Chinese kids greeted me in pretty coherent English, and these people could barely speak it. When I asked, a large Russian woman on the tour snapped at me repeating the tour guides answers, and I snapped back at her, and she accused me of being rude.

I felt bad about bad vibes, and snapping at that lady, and I walked alone to the starting point of the tour, and had sushi off a conveyor belt sushi place for dinner, which came to $12.00. Another thing the guide explained is that sushi restaurants vary in price and quality-from $10-$12 to over $300 for dinner. I ate at the cheapest one, in fact one he used as an example, and it was good.

I then went back to the hostel, returning about 7:30. I straightened out with the manager moving to a less expensive room,and receiving a refund for some of the money already paid. I talked to some others in hostel, including a Swedish guy who was also alone, and a group of folks from Canada and the US. One was 24 and mentioned he liked my energy, which I don't hear often. It was his last night, so I had some rum (I Believe) and beers, and got to bed around 1:00 am.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:52 Archived in Japan

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