Tokyo: Round 3

The first time I was in Tokyo, I had just arrived in Japan and quickly left for the countryside without having done much exploring. The second time I was in Tokyo, I went to some crappy, overpriced bars in Shinjuku and Roppongi. This time I went to Tokyo with only one goal: eat non-Japanese food. (All the restaurants around me are either Japanese or McDonald’s.)


Unlike in New York, the area in Tokyo with the cheapest hotels wasn’t also a complete shithole. Asakusa provided convenient access to the rest of Tokyo and had several cool attractions of its own.

My capsule actually had enough room for me to sit up/lie down without hunching/going fetal. Amenities were lacking, but you can’t go wrong for $20/night.

Senso-ji is crowded during the day. If you’ve already seen a million and a half temples in Japan, you’re better off going at night when nobody’s around. No worries if you’re an early sleeper; the streets of Asakusa are empty by 8:00 PM.

Asakusa also happened to be my first run-in with a stereotypical douchey American tourist. We passed by a handcrafted knife store and this guy starts bitching to the tour guide about handcrafted knives being no better than machine-crafted knives. Yeah douche, I’m not going to buy expensive handcrafted knives either, but I’m also not going out of my way to embarrass old people volunteering to give free tours.

Stuff I ate:

  • Burger King x3
  • Doner Kebab (Unfortunately not lamb, pretty sure it doesn’t exist in Japan)
  • Nachos
  • Taiyaki

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan. On a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji. On a clear night you can’t. You can, however, still see the pint-sized Tokyo Tower in the distance.

Tokyo Skytree has two observation levels. It costs about $20 to get to the 350 meter mark and another $10 to get from the 350 mark to the to the 450 meter mark. With the view limited by cover of night, I was too cheap to go all the way up.

Ueno Park

Ueno Park has a whole bunch of museums I didn’t go to. It also houses all the homeless people in Japan. They didn’t beg for money though. Only a sleazy monk did. He approached me, said “peace”, slipped a bracelet on my wrist, and asked for a donation. I tried throwing some spare change his way, but he said “no coins”. Looks like this bastard forgot the Second Noble Truth. I shoved the bracelet back in his face on continued on my way.

Ueno Park has a memorial to Ulysses S. Grant. At first I thought it was the statue in the picture above, but no, that’s a Japanese prince. The real memorial is the tree behind the statue.

Ueno Park is in bed with Confederate sympathizers. Dear South, you lost the war, get over it.

Got a BBQ bacon cheeseburger from the Hard Rock Café at Ueno Station. A bit pricey, but worth it for real bacon, a rare item in Japan.

Tokyo University

Tokyo University’s campus looked just like a typical American campus. The architecture and layout were the kind you’d find in America. The biggest event going on when I visited was a football practice, just like in America.


Yes, that’s the old man who’s famous for running around Akihabara in a sailor uniform. On the bright side, not everyone in Akihabara is a pedophile.

I spent hours in Akihabara looking at lots of stuff and buying very little. As time was running out, I settled on a Polar Bear’s Café 18+ doujin from the top floor of Tora no Ana. No, no, it didn’t have any animals. It starts off with Handa getting NTR’d by Sasako and that other zookeeper. Then he ends up banging Sasako because it turns out Sasako is an insatiable nymphomaniac. In sum, it’s better than anything that actually happened on Polar Bear’s Café.

The maids on the streets in Akihabara are vastly overrated. They just hand out flyers and everyone ignores them.

City of Kita

Real Pizza in Japan. Legit 18 inch slices. Nothing else to see in the vicinity, not that I cared.


Yokohama’s Chinatown is probably the least ghetto Chinatown you’ll find anywhere in the world. It’s home to dozens of all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants that serve the exact same food.

Photo proof that the streets of Japan are deserted once the sun goes down.


Kamakura is home to a Giant Buddha statue that’s less impressive than the one in Nara. It’s also full of students on field trips who quickly lost interest in the Buddha statue once they noticed all the little white kids running around.

Chiyoda City

This is the Imperial Palace at the center of Tokyo. That green stuff you see under the tree is grass. Aside from the Imperial Palace and Tokyo University, grass doesn’t exist in Japan.

This used to be a famous bridge. Now it’s under two other bridges.

This stone outside the Japanese Patent Office was the most interesting thing outside it and probably more interesting than anything inside it.

The Supreme Court doesn’t seem to give tours. They’d probably get in the way of their secret executions.

The National Diet Building in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne was an excellent dungeon setting (despite being a torturous grindfest).

11 Replies to “Tokyo: Round 3”

  1. …Does grass not exist in Japan as a whole, or just the (admittedly massive) portion of it taken up by Tokyo?

    • Japan as a whole. Lots of places where you’d expect grass are just barren dirt fields. School playgrounds for example. I’d say they’re too lazy to cut the grass, but they put just as much effort into destroying any grass/weeds/flowers that attempt to grow there.

    • Haha, probably. There are Chinatowns in Nagasaki and Kobe as well, but Yokohama’s is the most prominent.

    • For breakfast I usually get breakfast cereal (granola as they call it) from supermarket. Lunch on school days is almost always the school lunch (kyuushoku). It’s dinner that gets repetitive. I have a rotation going between sushi, gyuudon/curry, ramen, and, yes, McDonald’s. Gets boring after a while, and cooking for myself is damn near impossible with my tiny ass kitchen.

  2. $30 just for a view over Tokyo? What the hell, Japan. Or did they set up another attraction up there?
    I knew about Amime Blu-rays being horribly overpriced but I guess everything costs considerably more, just like in Switzerland.
    Generally speaking, what are the living expenses like? Especially for food? And are there huge differences between more rural places and Tokyo for example? I’d like to do a Work & Travel year in Japan, so knowing about this kind of stuff would help.

    • Mainly the view. There’s also an old painting up there, but nobody really cares about it. Anyway, there was no shortage of people willing to pay $20 to go up to the 350m viewpoint. I was waiting in line for at least an hour. I think the majority didn’t go up to 450m when I was there.

      Prices at restaurants are about the same as they are in America, but prices at supermarkets are much higher. Fruit and cheese are particularly expensive. I rarely cook for myself, and when I do it’s for variety, not to save money. Rent isn’t too bad here, but apartments are pretty small. This probably changes a lot depending on your location (I’m living in a suburban area). Bills are pretty expensive, like electricity, water, and cell phone. As far as travel goes, Japan has a lot of cheap hostels in good locations. Highway tolls are expensive. So is the bullet train. Cheaper transportation options are out there; they’ll just take longer to get from place to place. Anime merchandise is really expensive, but that has more to do with the peculiarities of the industry than the overall price index in Japan.

      • Thanks. I don’t know exactly about the prices over in America, but for now let’s just assume they’re somewhat similar to Germany’s. So basically Japan is expensive alright. But good to read that at least the rent for apartments in rural areas are acceptable… And I don’t mind small rooms.

  3. No picture of Tokyo University is complete without the ‘Naru hand’ thing from Love Hina episode 6 🙁

    McDonalds huh? Too good for Mos Burger are you?

    I think it’s amazing how many streetside donair places there are in Tokyo. I don’t think I’ve seen that many outside of Germany/Austria and of course Turkey. They even have the authentic Turkish ice cream stands everywhere that I’ve never seen anywhere else outside of Turkey in Tokyo. I dunno what it is about Tokyo and Turks…

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