Japan – out of this world – Part 1

Japan - out of this world - Part 1

If there’s a place that truly has it all, Japan must in the TOP 3, certainly for Asiaphiles. It’s a cultural experience of enormous proportions and lives up to each and every standard. All you may expect from a trip abroad you’re bound to come across in Japan. Meet great people, party your soul out and loose your sanity over all the Asian stunners you cannot avoid, but spot everywhere.

The grass is always greener
on the other side

Finally I’m back with another ‘Yellow Article’ on how Asia messes with my very own head. This time I want to share some situations I ran into while in Japan, some blatantly normal, yet they still get me all mixed up. It may have something to do with the old ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’, when referring to the Asian Fetish while not being in Asia or Japan for that matter. While on one side engaging with thoughts or other elements of Japan makes me feel at peace, it drives me bonkers on the other. As you may expect this applies to me with practically anywhere I’ve been in Asia. In relation to this you may also want to give our article ‘When Asian Yellow Fever turns ugly’ a read. Sure, you can apply such a fetish to any place in the world that grabs you by the balls. But if it doesn’t cut it for you, knowing that you can wonder around downtown Tokyo while off your head as well as perfectly safe, tripping from bar to bar, meeting great people along the way, then I don’t know. There can’t be one Yellow Fever sufferer saying no to this prospect.

The grass is always greener on the other side

You’ll be surprised to hear that this is the 1st school girls shot on YFH.

Hold on, of course it’s not all about getting wasted 24/7, even though it plays a major part (or you’ve arrived at the wrong site altogether). No matter, if you’re infected with Asian Yellow Fever or free of any such contamination, the stories below even suit the non-alcoholics and people not prone to mental failure when coming across Japanese babes. In some way it shows that Japan has plenty to offer for every taste.

Having visited quite a few destinations in just over 2 1/2 weeks, let’s start with Tokyo as it’s the place you’ll most likely arrive at anyway. You’d be daft not to spend a few days there as it’s simply one of the best cities. Just the train trip into town alone will see you biting your nails waiting to get out and explode onto the damn street! And of course, have a quick beer or tin coffee from one of the countless vending machines in the street to keep you going. You got that right, no vandalism here then…

First Stop: Tokyo

This mega city will make your jaw drop. I can’t even remember how many districts there are, but it’s just endless with countless facets and the occasional thunderstorm of lights. There’s nothing quite like this place that I’ve seen or experienced before. Tokyo is undoubtedly fast paced, but retreat into one of their countless Izakayas (kind of their pubs) and time comes to a hold. Anywhere you stroll feels like adventure land with unlimited options to go mental.

Japanese Izakaya

Check out the countless Izakayas, stock up on booze and connect with the locals.

One thing you’ll encounter in Japan, especially in Tokyo, is that the action doesn’t just take place at street level. Restaurants and Clubs can also be found on different floors in high risers. Unless you know, you just wouldn’t figure that there is potentially a whole lot more going on above your head.

Head down to Shibuya and terrorise the dance floor at Club Asia. Last time they had half naked Jägermeister girls giving away shots for free. One piece of advise I can give you though before heading out is do a little research as to where you want to unleash your Yellow Fever riddled charms, as the choice is at best mind boggling. It’s sort of self-explanatory that Tokyo is not your 30 minutes in and out kind of trip and getting decent directions, while already out, can be a bit tricky.

Club Asia - Tokyo

Search for Club Asia and that’s what you get.

Roppongi – the Ibiza of Tokyo

One place where you won’t experience much trouble finding a fellow native tongue is in Roppongi, or more precisely the strip packed with clubs. It’s a melting pot for tourists, Japanese gold digger chicks and bar staff trying to rip you off. Got to admit, I didn’t do any research either and just went with the flow. What I saw there, was in a way shell shocking. If you’re looking for local joints, avoid Roppongi, unless you want to hear the sales pitch from Nigerian Bouncers at every club door and pay double to get inside in order to pay triple for a drink – or be asked for a drink by a Japanese airhead. Sure thing, next time I will have to give this one a shot too as it’s filth and a piss take in its purest form, the Ibiza of Tokyo. Anyone thinking Thai Red Light District is quite off here though… I LOVE FILTH, but there and then I was trapped in a weird Yellow Fever mindset expecting everything Japanese to be purity in itself and just didn’t feel like submitting to a joint full of dudes with the same intentions. If I was to unleash my Yellow Fever, then it would have to be in places where it may not seem so obvious.

Roppongi Nightlife

Roppongi – can you handle it?

Escaping Roppongi just fueled the urge to find some other place to hang out. Fast forward and after a good few hours wondering around town it had us ending up on Roppongi Hills, where you get a great panoramic view of Tokyo and can watch the masses of people going to work in the office block behind you. Of course you’ll look a bit like a twat lingering there in the early hours of the morning, but well, who cares? If you managed to find your way up there, you certainly won’t. Switching back to the night I can only encourage you to walk the streets with no worry in the world and unearth some underground joint. You got to keep your eyes open, some are really hard to spot. Compared to the Roppongi tourist trap, falling into a proper Japanese local, being the only foreigner, is the best that can happen. Engage in Guiness drinking contests and be surprised that some of them can even keep up with the boozing, at least for a while.

It’s indeed ridiculous in its nature, but situations like that make you feel a little like coming across as a celebrity. Your antics at the bar are the centre of attention, the dance floor is your playground and all of it comes down to just being yourself. Sure, we’ve heard of the Japanese way to occasionally brush off situations like this – be polite and smile, still thinking you’re a foreign lemon… Unless of course you aren’t a complete social disaster or a downright nonse, you shouldn’t be running into this kind of fakeness though.

This is the ultimate ego trip, one fundamental side effect of Asian Yellow Fever itself.

Second Stop: Osaka

Osaka wasn’t quite what I expected, but it’s not like it made it a spoiler. I guess as a naive first timer you’d expect to see a bunch of temples anywhere you turn, though Osaka appears more like a concrete jungle. When hanging out in the busier areas you’ll frequently come across a number of dudes in front of distinct establishments, who all seem to be on some sort of pop culture trip. Don’t ask me why, but all of them wore black suits and many had their peroxide blonde hair done up like mental. And even though few of them would give me a little gangster look, it was, of course, all harmless and if anything, amusing. I can’t help myself thinking though, that they may actually represent the ‘cool crowd’. Another thing you can’t overlook is the sheer number of love hotels, which I wouldn’t mind making use of myself, if I didn’t have a room back at the hotel. Turns out a lot of locals do use love hotels not just for their escorts, but their girl friends too. Suppose, if doing your girl in your parents’ house is not an option, then a love hotel comes in handy. Sometimes you just hang out there too as you will find out in Part 2 of this series.

Osaka Concrete Jungle

Osaka concrete jungle.

In fact it was in front of one of those love hotels where I approached a dude for help with my hotel directions. On another note, if you feel comfortable making booking arrangements while already in Japan, go ahead, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Japan is super high tech, no question, but finding a simple internet cafe proofed to be a mission. Back to the hotel hunt though. Wherever you are, you won’t have to look for long to unveil some Japanese courtesy. After some intense gesticulating and a 20 minute walk later, he managed to find the hotel. Many times you would be asking for directions or recommendations, and they’ll give an arm and a leg to show you the way. At times they’re almost trying too hard. After a few incidents of asking for directions and not being able to communicate properly, you’ll be able to tell by their attempts, if they will actually manage to be of any help to you in the first place. Then again, some will simply shy away once they realise your advances.

Osaka Night Life

Not quite what you expected? Let us know.

As you would expect when hitting the road for a few brews, you’ll get to meet a bunch of people and yes, there are very few who do speak a little English, which is more common in places like Tokyo or Osaka. Move further out and you won’t get far without basic Japanese or good survival skills. We would end up going to another bar, which was ready to close for the night, but due to the bar dude being our female companions’ mate, he made an exception. We ended up drinking for a few good hours, messing about and playing DJ, when I started scribbling a few random comic characters on a piece of paper. Basically I was just showing off some drawing skills, but one of the Japanese dudes who was with us actually took offence and thought I was taking the piss out of him. In the state we were all in I couldn’t help, but be somewhat amused about the guy having a mental fit over a scribble. In the end he simply disappeared and when we got the bill a little later it turned out he had paid for the whole lot. From what his friend said, he paid out of shame. Well, after that episode I didn’t mind much either. Free booze for us…

Kyoto for peace of – and no hotties – on mind

I you feel like absorbing some of that culture too, then pay Kyoto a visit where you can get your eyes on plenty of Japanese temples and apparently have some of the best noodle soups in the country. Kyoto is an easy 30 minutes train ride from Osaka. If it hasn’t properly sunk in yet, then the old Japanese capital will inject you with your first ‘deep realisation’ that you actually ARE in Japan. Moving further up into the mountains and being one with nature will have you forget about the truck loads of hot Japanese girls and booze, at least for the short term.

Kyoto Temples

Here you can chill and forget about chasing Japanese babes for a while.

NEXT UP: More Japanese episodes from Fukuoka and a bizarre visit to the Police Station. Also check out our Japan Travel Journal for further stories.

Fukuoka Beach Front

So long… Best, Frank W.

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