Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hello Japan! (part 5 - Tokyo miscellany)

OK, let me resume the vacation picture series. Although I did not have my actual phone with me then (its screen was smashed and could only repaired during the Singapore leg of my vacation), I was so glad to have a standby smartphone with me. I hate using Apple products but the standby phone enabled me to snap up pictures as and when I liked and only with these pictures can my vacation story be complete. Many of these pictures were simply random shots of things that caught my attention and here they are.

Notice the four rows of handles for standing passengers on the metro? I can only imagine how crowded it gets during peak hours. It would be a sight though—seeing passengers being pushed into the carriages by station staff.

Two of the most famous cartoon cats in Japan. Since Doraemon has been chosen to be the Olympics mascot, I gather that Hello Kitty is still not as popular in comparison.

Daiso floor guide in Harajuku.With a whopping four floors, this mega store dwarfs all others.

Green tea mouthwash anyone? Only in Japan.

It seems Kinokuniya sells much more than books in Japan.

My two encounters with the majestic Mount Fuji. From Mori Tower at dusk and on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto. I missed out on getting closer by not visiting Lake Kawaguchiko (one of the five lakes at the base of the mountain).

This is the ornament seen everywhere during the New Year period. I wonder what it exactly symbolises.

Pachinko madness in Japan. Very noisy and smoky inside, I seriously wonder how can people stay glued to their seats in such an environment for extended periods of time. This game must be really addictive!

I am surprised there is a rule against street-smoking because cigarette vending machines are everywhere. It is like not allowing someone to wank off to his favourite porn! Well at least there are many smoking booths around. And then there is this chuckle-inducing sign seen on the door of a smoking booth on the bullet train platform.

Ah... the soothing water-spraying toilet that cleans and massages. This is the thing I miss the most about Japan.

This was one of the rare times I encountered a gym. Yet the Japanese manages to stay so lean (I only saw one obese local man during the two-week trip). The world should learn from whatever they are doing to achieve this feat.

The smallest hotel room (in Higashi-Shinjuku) I ever stayed in—11m² of  pigeon-hole goodness. But it has everything you need so I cannot complain. With such a high premium on land in central Tokyo, this is the only way to go.

On the last day of my Japan trip I noticed this in the hotel room. I told myself I gotta get myself some of this erectricity!

It is a huge thing when trains don't run on schedule because trains are usually very punctual. "Person on tracks" was the reason—it must be an accident.

When I saw lots of men in women-only carriages, I realised this only applied during peak periods.

Although I know the Japanese drink a lot, I was still shocked to see how cheap alcohol is over there. AUD$12 for a bottle of gin?! And whiskey in gigantic PET bottles! These bottles were on the racks of every convenience stores.

"Adult" magazines and photocopiers aside, I was seriously impressed when I saw a public toilet in a 7-11.

To discourage disorderly behaviour in public, there is this peculiar policy in a lot of clubs in Japan. I was fooled on my first clubbing night but quickly realised it was an unenforceable rule. I ignored that ever since.

When I asked what the best gay dance party was for New Year's Eve, I was told this. And there I went. With this flyer, I managed to shave a third off the cover charge.

My first-ever countdown gay party. I was groped many times but was thankful that the group of really hunky local guys pulled me into their circle to gyrate and rub bodies with.

Random miscellany. Why do people want to know the elevation above sea level at train station exits? And with such low crime rates in Japan, I wonder how long have those "Wanted" notices stayed on the board.

More random miscellany. I didn't know QB House (ten-minute barber shop) came from Japan. Now I know.

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