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You call this a festival?

Tokyo Travel Blog

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the easy to find dog statue
I was determined to finally do some touristy, site seeing type activities today.  I was given a map at the tourist office by a friendly bilingual Japanese, and I set off to Shibuya with grit and purpose.

The first thing on the map was directly in front of the train station.  A statue of a dog.  Easy enough to find, and quite unremarkable.  Unfortunately, this was the only thing on the map i was to find that day.  I walked around for several hours not finding anything on the map.  The map was just a cartoon drawing of Shibuya, which as i found out, is not much help.  Shibuya quickly turns into a suburban mess, with plain looking buildings and houses.

Shibuya near the train station, on the other hand, was wicked.
Shibuya
  Loads of shops, restaurants, bars, crazy crosswalks, lights, huge televisions embedded inside huge sky scrapers, and the young and trendy Japanese.  This is by far the best place to people watch, if that is your thing.

After my uneventful sight seeing tour, i decided to head towards Roppongi, to see what that was like during the day.  That seemed like an easy enough task, oh no, not even close.  I got lost INSIDE the train station.  At the height of my frustration i got to an area that looked familiar and was excited that i might be getting close to where i needed to be, but then i realized i just had walked outside.  The issue, as i learned later, was that the sign for the train line i needed is obscured by a larger sign, and can be difficult to see unless you know where to look.
Roppongi


After finally finding the correct train line and making it to Roppongi, i was disappointed.  It was nothing like the other night.  Roppongi by day is nothing like Roppongi at night.  Do not waste your time.

I was scheduled to meet Brett and Kim in Asakusa for the Sumida River Festival everyone kept talking about, so i headed back in that direction.  Because of the festival, our capsule hotel had a mandatory lock out until 9pm.  When i got back to Asakusa it was choatic.  There were people everywhere.  They had not had dinner because they were on the train for 2 hours due to my terrible metro directions...oops.  We found a sushi place near the tourist office.  Brett had a seared salmon that he said was the best sushi he has ever had.
the big and the small
  I have only eaten sushi a couple of times because of my distaste for seafood, but i have found tuna to be edible, as long as there is no seaweed involved.  I tried the tuna, and i didnt vomit which is a good start.  The only problem i had with the sushi, was that the fish was much larger than the rice, which i am sure most people would prefer.  Also, apparently the Japanese prefer fattier cuts of meat over the lean meat, so the sushi was rather chewy and took much mastication.

Once outside we bought some Chu-hi from the enthusiastic vendors and were immediately crushed in a massive river of people walking slowly in the direction of the river.  We had no idea why, but figured we woluld see where the river would take us.  As we later found out, the crowd was taking us to the bridge over the Sumida River.
"Odeon by Sex Panther"
  They had a system to get people to see the fireworks, that were being set off over the river in both directions.  In different shifts, parts of the crowd were allowed on the bridge, and were followed by "motivators", police with rope, to keep the shift moving.  In this fashion, everyone that wanted to, got to spend about 20 minutes crossing the bridge and viewing the fireworks to the right and to the left of the bridge.

After we crossed the bridge, we were stuck on the other side, with no idea how to get back.  We walked around for about an hour, and then got directions from some locals.  Eventually, we made it to a train station, and Kim and Brett made it back home, and i went one stop to Asakusa.  We heard the next day that there were approximately 900,000 people at the festival, crazy.

After i was allowed back into my hotel, I met 2 Russian girls.  Stefan and the girls drank Chu-hi in the street until 3am.
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the easy to find dog statue
the easy to find dog statue
Shibuya
Shibuya
Roppongi
Roppongi
the big and the small
the big and the small
Odeon by Sex Panther
"Odeon by Sex Panther"
tuna
tuna
tuna
tuna
i chewed for what seemed like hours
i chewed for what seemed like hours
setting up for the festival
setting up for the festival
Brett peeing in front of 900,000
Brett peeing in front of 900,000
a blurry picture of fireworks
a blurry picture of fireworks
the amazement
the amazement
the motivator
the "motivator"
Tokyo
photo by: maka77