Tokyo Day 4 – Shinjuku

Clouds in Shinjuku

[DATE: 2013/10/15]
So, it’s been 5 months since I went to Tokyo, so some of the details may be a little fuzzy.

Breakfast in Shinjuku

If I recall correctly, I woke up at ~08:00 because the damn cleaners were going nuts outside. I was like,

Oh shit, not again. Damn those diligent Japanese cleaners

I got up and sprinted over to Shinjuku via the metro. The clouds had rolled in and it began to drizzle. Not a good sign. My plan in Shinjuku was to be outside for a majority of the day, so I wasn’t too happy to see the weather turn south.

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I stepped into a cafe and ordered myself some breakfast, which was a ham sandwich, and then head towards the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices (TMGO).

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices

The rain began to pick up as I made my way over to the TMGO. There was already a line of people waiting to go up to the observation deck, but it didn’t seem all that bad. A steady stream of Japanese salarymen and women were going through the building’s entrance, but visitors had to wait outside; luckily, the entrance is underneath the main lobby level, so I didn’t have to worry about getting soaked while waiting in line.

A white, middle-aged couple lined up behind me and began speaking in American English—no accent that I could discern. I struck up a conversation with them and apparently they’re actually from Saudi Arabia, which I would’ve never guessed. I swear, these two were actually CIA agents or something, because they wouldn’t tell me what they did or why they were in Saudi Arabia.

Anyways, I made it through security to the elevators, which were hosted by two polite Japanese women. They beckon us into the elevator, crammed it full of tourists, pushed one of only two buttons on the elevator panel, and wished us a good time. The doors closed and the elevator rocketed to the 45th floor in less than 30 seconds. I swear, I felt like I was standing on a fuckin rocket, because I got light-headed and my ears popped. Japanese elevators must be a hella faster than American elevators because we got to the 45th floor so fast that I was seeing stars.

Alright, now we’re on the 45th floor. Let’s take lots of pictures.

Those were my thoughts. Have some pictures.

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Back to the Show | Lunch

After I took a bajazillion pictures, I got in line to head down the building. By now, it was around 12:00 so I figured it was time for lunch. After conferring with my Tokyo guidebook, I decided on a famous ramen place named “Nagi.” Apparently, they get pretty packed, but they have another, little-known, branch in Nishi-Shinjuku.

I made my way over and walked up the treacherous stairs to the ramen restaurant and sat down at an available stool. The restaurant was manned by two chefs: an older woman and a young man. The older woman said to me (in Japanese),

Please purchase a ticket for a meal

to which I responded with my usual:

Sumimasen. Nihongo ga hanasemasen (I’m sorry. I don’t speak Japanese)

to which she replied with (in perfect English):

Oh, OK. Yeah, come with me real quick. You just have to buy a ticket from this vending machine over here

Whoa. Why didn’t you say that before??

The vending machine had over 60 different listings of ramen, so the older woman recommended me a few of them.

The restaurant, itself, was super-small; no larger than 600 square feet. No joke. There was only the kitchen, the bar seats, and two very small tables on the far side of the restaurant, next to the entrance. The place only had the capacity to seat 15 people at most.

Anyways, I purchased my ticket and handed it over to the lady. After 5 minutes, the lady served me the best fucking ramen I’ve ever had in my life.

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The dish looked a bit different than I imagined it. I had to dip the hot noodles into the broth and then eat it. After I finished eating the noodles, the chef poured boiling hot water into the broth and I drank it like soup. Pretty awesome dish. After that, I thanked the chef for the meal and made my way outside.

Love Hotels

To my relief, the rain had settled down a bit so I decided to take a tour of Shinjuku.

Apparently, the red-light district is in Shinjuku because I wandered into it. There were “gentleman’s clubs,” love hotels, and “relaxation parlors” in Shinjuku.

Speaking of love hotels, Shinjuku has dozens of them. I was tempted to go into one just for the hell of it, but I thought the better of it and decided to keep walking. I figured a couple with a proper tryst to attend to was in more need of a discrete hotel room than myself.

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After I wandered a bit more, I fell into an electronics store and perused the merchandise until I got too tired to even stand.

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The rain began to pick up again due to some typhoon that was on its way, so I made my way back to the hotel and crashed for the rest of the evening.

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More on my adventure in Tokyo next time.

Stay tuned for Medaka Box Abnormal (1) later this week.

~ja-ne

-helios


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