Trip Start Feb 17, 2008
Trip End Aug 17, 2008

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Where I stayed
Capsule Inn Akihabara

Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Thursday, May 29, 2008

We had to see all those cities people love and thats the reason we had to do Tokyo.  Its one of those cities on our must-visit list! Why is it a must do you ask?  Fashion, business, people and culture all intertwine in a volatile mix in this metropolis.  Its not just a city, but rather its own world.

Tokyo is a city that never sleeps.  Although the trains stop around 12:30, the bars are still hopping, nourishing hordes of Japanese men wearing the Tokyo uniform - the business suit.  We saw many of them struggling onto the first train of the morning around 5 am to get home and change clothes before heading to work with a hangover!  Speaking of suits, men in Tokyo wear their suits 7 days a week.  It amazed us at first, as we couldn't believe how expensive a wardrobe must be here, until we started looking closer at the suits, and realized that many of them were low quality - you can see a light shining through them.  Men in Japan don't need to buy jeans, shorts, t shirts - they wear suits all week long!

The fashion in Tokyo is excellent, similar to Kyoto.  We went to well know Harajuku to see the crowds of oddly dressed Japanese teens, even snapping a few pictures as you can see.  Goth, 1800s, get it all here.  Everywhere you turn there is another boutique to shop at, or another mall.  In Tokyo, our tried and true method of saving money on meals failed - here they only discount food 10% or so at the end of the night!  Still we are really going to miss the quality of Japanese food, particularly the sushi.

Did you know that Japan one-upped the French.  France has its Eiffel tower.  So Tokyo decided to build the Tokyo tower, which is 9 meters taller than the Eiffel tower with a very similar design!  Sacre Bleu!

We have to tell you about our accommodations in Tokyo.  We have been doing our best to save money, which meant staying at the Tokyo Backpackers in Ikekuburu.  Lets just say that this place is worth of cent of the $15 US that we paid each (about $15 cheaper than the next closest option).  It stank worse than any place we have ever stayed.  Oh and we figured out they don't wash their sheets!  So nasty!  But we did treat ourselves to a Tokyo experience on our final night.  We booked into a pod hotel in Akihibara.  For those of you that don't know, a pod hotel is a place where Japanese business men go to sleep when they cant make it home.  You get a pod with a TV, alarm clock, one of dozens in the room.  If you are claustrophobic, or over 6 foot tall, it might not be for you, but we had lots of fun! 

As a side note, Akihibara is where a crazy Japanese man killed 7 people with a knife in a crazed rampage last week - I guess someone is looking out for us.  Thanks for the prayers.

One of the craziest parts of our Tokyo experience was Sumo.  Yes, big men in diapers pushing each other around. You might think that sumo wrestlers are fat.  Well they are far from it - underneath that belly fat there is pure steel!  This is a uniquely Japanese sport.  The fans go crazy for this - we even saw granny groupies near us howling for their favorite wrestlers' attention!  We got to see history in the making - the tournament was won by the first ever European champion, Kotooshu.  It was a historic match, and we have the whole match on video for you to see!  If you ever go to Tokyo, you must try to go to a sumo tournament - they are 15 days long, and are held 6 times a year, 3 in Tokyo and 3 in other locations.

Leaving Japan, we think that Japan is an amazing place to sit down and enjoy the views as it is a world wind experience.  This is Francis' favorite country so far on the trip, and we both can't wait for a chance to come back.  Just make sure you get a Japan Rail pass and it lots of Sushi as even the worst Sushi is still amazing!
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