Collectively, the Japanese are fascinating and hilarious and brilliant. These are all qualities I look for in a good friend. So my goal when going to Tokyo was this: don’t make Japanese people hate me. This is potentially very tough as I have a one-year-old’s understanding of the language and the moment my plane landed, I essentially become a stereotypical tourist who’s snapping photos of inane shit like gas stations and street signs. At least twice a day, for the two weeks I was there, I totally deserved to have someone scream “Hey gaijin, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” But the 13 million of people living in Tokyo were too polite to do that. Thank you for being so patient with me Japan!
Here are some pics I took and some stuff I learned about Japan…
You can spend all day snapping photos of adorable Japanese logos and advertisements.
Snapping pics of engrish never gets boring either.
Yes, yes I do. Did you know it’s legal to drink in public in Japan?
Every sidewalk in Tokyo is designed to accommodate the blind. Think I saw one blind person while there.
Lots of stairwells are designed to accommodate bikes.
Here is a Police station. Apparently they’re only good for getting directions. Also, they have a bicycle pump.
Umbrella theft is a big problem. Probably due to police incompetence.
You can buy hot coffee in an aluminum bottle out of a vending machine.
Tommy Lee Jones is the spokesperson for one of these coffee beverages.
They still sell Zima.
When buying a Zima, rather than hand the money to the clerk, you place the money on a tray.
Apparently Japanese men like to feel up women on crowded subways cars. The solution: women only cars!
Apparently Japanese people have a lot of heart attacks because there are these adorable ads that explain how to work a defibrillator on every subway car.
Apparently Japanese people throw themselves in front of subways a lot because there are these barriers in a lot of train stations.
Japanese people might be molesting each other, having heart attacks and killing themselves because this is what a Tokyo subway map looks like.
They’re big fans of displaying signs that tell you not to do stuff that no sane person would ever consider doing. This is in front of the Imperial Palace, just in case you were thinking of pitching a tent and having a marshmallow roast.
And displaying signs that tell you how to get to places you’re probably not interested in seeing.
Here is the photo of the Japanese gas station. Immediately after I snapped this, it dawned on me that I was a stupid tourist. Look at that though… the pumps are floating in the air!
The height of Japanese fashion is the fox tail.
They take pooping very seriously. Here are the controls on the toilet in my hotel. Also, the seat was heated.
You can buy perverted toys from vending machines. So, of course I bought one.
I would have brought these home for everyone except they’re life-sized and Air Canada only allows you to check two bags.
On the left is a store called Mandarake. It’s a chain of nerd department stores. The first few floors have old Transformers and cosplay outfits. On the top floor there is a very creepy section that sells pillowcases with pictures of naked and uncomfortably young looking manga girls printed on them. I guess you’re supposed to buy one, stick a pillow in it and have sex with it, or something. On the right is a typical Japanese streetlamp. Every night they come alive and destroy parts of the city.
They take masturbation very seriously. You can buy these things in every department store. This ad appeared in a youth-oriented art/fashion/music magazine.
They take masturbation so seriously, the fleshlight companies do collaborations with other brands.
They have things called Cat Cafes where you can pay to hang out with cats.
Lots of cats!
Fancy designer cats.
Here is the bucket of cat toys that was issued to me.
Here is the cat I was specifically assigned. His name is Lord Tetsuo and he was quickly thrown in a cage for fighting another cat.
This kitten was so…
They have things called Maid Cafes where you can pay to hang out with adorable Japanese girls dressed in French Maid outfits. You can’t take pictures in Maid Cafes. This particular one was famous because the Backstreet Boys visited it.
A Maid will bring you an omelette with rice in it. Then they’ll draw whatever you want on it in ketchup.
For 500 yen, you can get a picture taken with the Maid of your choosing. Then they’ll draw on the picture for you.
They have things called Capsule Hotels where you pay to sleep in a pod.
Here was our pod room.
Here’s a pod.
From the inside.
Why not buy a fresh change of clothes in the morning?
They have things called theme restaurants. This one was a haunted jail-theme. Basically you pay money to be locked in a cell…
and served drinks in beakers…
Halfway through your first drink, the lights will go out and this guy will break into your cell and pretend murder you. Thankfully the warden was there to take this photo.
Oh look, a castle! In case you forgot, Japan got incinerated in WWII. Chances are your apartment is older than this castle.
They have their own football league.
They also have their own baseball league which you’re probably aware of. What you might not be aware of is it’s virtually impossible for people who don’t speak Japanese to buy tickets. But we prevailed.
We caught a game at the Nagoya Dome. Giants versus the Dragons in the first game of their playoff series. In Japan, they call the baseball playoffs “The Climax Series”.
Not only can you BYOB, they’ll open the can and pour it into a cup for you at one of these stations.
We were pretty much the only white people there. We sat in the visiting team’s section. Through the whole game our section sang songs, chanted and banged little plastic bats together. Pay me a dollar and tell you about how a lot of the people in our section busted out hand-puppets of whales and turtles.
Here’s a video of one of the chants. Bats on a ball!
The ballgame was the last thing we did in Japan. But I think I should end the photos with this one. This photo sums up Japan nicely. L-R: Hermes flagship store made out of glass, Sony building, Snoopy building.
Oh, one last one because I just realized that I only showed like 20 Japanese people in all of these photos. More than 20 people live in Japan.
Some of these photos were taken by Rawb Station and Steven Evans.