Tokyo + Mt. Fuji + Hakuba, Japan [2016.02.05]

Click the bolded words and the internerds will take you to another post on that day (new tab). Do it. We both know you’ve got nothing better to do then read alllll about my Japan. Work? Pssssffffft. That can defo wait. 😇

Day 1 | 一つ目

My red-eye flight from HK got me to Haneda at 4:00a. I slept maybe 2 hours on the plane? Seriously debated napping at the airport. Like seeked-out-an-empty-bench-and-laid-down debated. But the airport was so bright that I decided to go into town. For such an advanced country I don’t understand why I can’t buy my PASMO pass with my credit card. Cash is overrated.

Got to my sweet, but expensive, but worth it, hostel at 7:00a and they wouldn’t let me check in. So I loitered in the lobby, scored myself a free coffee, and caught up on my blogging. After my tactic of if-I-just-loiter-around-maybe-they-will-let-me-check-in-early failed, I decided to go out for a quick lunch. Came back and caught a quick massive nap. Somehow ended up going to a nomihodai with a bunch of guys from the hostel. Because all-you-can-drink is exactly what my body needed after 52 hours of no sleep. Yup.

Day 2 |二つ目

Woke up at noon. Went to the Michelin star sardine restaurant, Nakajima, to start my star-chasing journey. Came back to the hostel and crushed another massive nap. Went to eat cheapo (like under $10) tempura with A and K before going to the Robot show.

I totally ate it at the Robot Restaurant. We were trying to subtly sneak into some better seats and I didn’t realize that there were little raised bits on the floor so I most definitely tripped and fell into the stage area. A “Classic Kelly” if you will – not subtle or graceful at all.

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Afterwards, we met up with 2 other Aussies from the hostel and all went down to the Golden Gai. Golden Gai is essentially six narrow alleys that house 200+ tiny shanty-style bars/restaurants. I love this area; it has so much character. It also has Yakuza history (burnt the surrounding area to the ground), so bonus cool points.

We went to this tiny karaoke bar where we witnessed the most epic rendition of “What does the fox say”  by two aged, drunken salarymen. So epic, it makes my Top 10 Tokyo experiences.

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We then somehow managed to lose one of the Aussies so K and I went searching through the alleys by calling his name like a lost puppy. Was it a flawed strategy? Perhaps. But did we find him? Yup.

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Day 3 |三つ目

I couldn’t sleep because of the massive nap I took the day before. Self inflicted insomnia – bad Kelly. Went for a run to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building because I was told there would be cheap lunch there. Oh and a pretty decent view too.

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But food first. Anyone is welcomed to eat at the staff dining halls, which offer a variety of meals (from Japanese to Western to Chinese) at an affordable price. I ate at the Green House in Building No. 1. To get to the cafeteria is a different elevator than the one you take to the observation deck. You have to sign in with security and get a little coloured badge to go up the non-observation-deck elevator bank. Just ask, the security guards were super nice to me.

Besides food, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building gives you a FREE panoramic view of Tokyo from 202 meters above ground level. To get a view like this anywhere else, you’re gna have to whip out the wallet and pay to go up a tower.

Went over to Roppongi Hills afterwards to catch the Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats Exhibit at the Mori Art Museum.

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The guy that I went with told me that all Japanese cellphones are factory set to make a sound when you take a picture because of all the sleazy upskirting. Don’t know if I actually believe him but seems pretty legit.

Ramen’d in Roppongi before I headed back to the hostel to have a pow-wow with A. about going to the tuna auction.

Day 4 | 四つ目

Managed to squeeze in 2 hours of sleep before waking up again in the wee hours to catch the last train out to the Tsukiji Fish Market area for the tuna auction. It’s such an ordeal to go see that damn thing. But definitely worth it.

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Had a much needed sushi breakfast before heading home for some massive z’s. Slept til 2:00p (building some good sleep habits here) and went for some fast food gyudon. Went back to the hostel to try to apply for my Indian visa but the dumb site wouldn’t take my money. So, naturally, I went to eat some whale in Shibuya instead.

Day 5 | 五つ目

Continued my star-chasing with A at Esaki 青山えさき. I love it when people want to seek out restaurants with me. So much better than eating alone.

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After lunch we went to Harajuku to poke around. So upset – we saw street vendors selling pretty decent peacoats for like $10…I totally dropped like $70 on a winter jacket in Seoul cos I thought I wouldn’t find anything cheaper in Japan 😤. We went to check out the cray cray Kawaii Monster Cafe and I introduced A to the deliciousness that is fries chips and soft serve.

Went back to the hostel and tried to give India my money again. Turns out, even though they say they take credit card, they don’t.

Day 6 | 六つ目

My tendency to go to bed at wee hours of the night is really kicking my butt in Japan. Managed to fall asleep at 3:00a but had to wake up at 5:00a to try our hand at snagging some ticket for the sumo tournament.

So, bad planning on our part. It was the last day of the sumo tournament and being the poor budget-conscious travellers that we are, instead of buying tickets we went to go line up for the free 30 tickets they were giving out. By the time we got there the line was already 50 deep. It also didn’t help that there was 6 of us. We want one fifth of your free tickets please.

Counting our loses, we went to try to catch a sumo practice at one of the nearby sumo stables. The fourth one we knocked on let us in to go watch. Success!

We watched the practice for a bit but I was crashing hard. At 8:00a I made the executive decision to go back to the hostel.

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Can’t stay up like those younglings. I tried to crush another one of my massive afternoon naps but failed, hard. I think I just laid in my concrete hole from like 11:00a ’til 3:00p.

I grabbed a quick oden snack at Lawsons. The fish cakes I grabbed turned out to be tofu. Much disappointed. A group of us went out for dinner in Omoide Yokocho and we group crushed some motsu-nabe (offal) and hormone-yaki (organ meats) – except for that one American girl. No team spirit at all 😒.

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And apparently at my ripe old age of 27, I’m still susceptible to peer pressure. What is wrong with me??? Dat #FOMO is real. Ended up heading out to Ginza for the night with the group knowing full well that once I was out, I was staying out. Silly metros shutting down at midnight.

Day 7 | 七つ目

I managed to somehow end up back at Tsukiji. Regretting my first caving to peer pressure, I refused to go see the tuna auction with them for a second time. Instead, I Tokyo-drifted through the market and got my tummy filled at Sushi Dai. Though waiting 2.5 hours for the restaurant to open in the cold did not go over well with my feet. Because I’m a girl, #formoverfunction, I only wore super thin ankle socks with my super cheap China boots. It was so cold that I ended up wrapping tissue paper around my feet to keep them just a little bit warmer. Apparently I’ll do just about anything to keep warm. Except for dressing sensibly. Sushi Dai was was phenomenal, I ain’t even mad that I haven’t slept in God knows how long.

7:00a nap sleep, woke up at 1:00p. Went to Ameyoko market street for some food then hit up Akiharaba for some otaku watching.

When I was going back to Shinjuku to meet up with the guys for dinner, some kind Japanese lady sped me walk around the metro to show me the exit that I needed. I musta looked reeeaaal lost or something.

We headed out to Shibuya for dinner in search for Uoriki. When we couldn’t find it, some random Japanese guy tried to lead us to a random sushi restaurant. Like, tried really really hard. Like, took us up the elevator into another restaurant. Like, was going to wait at the entrance of the restaurant until we were seated. Very nice of him, but our group of food snobs wanted Uoriki. And nothing else was going to pacify us! I had to pretend to go to the washroom because he was insisting that we get a table with him present.

We ended up at Sangyodo 三漁洞 and were much pacified. Thought I’d get to bed early this day but somehow managed to not sleep until 2:00a.

Day 8 | 八つ目

Went to Meiji Jingū.

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Downed 2 coffees. Downed a  disappointing matcha croissant. Went to Uoriki for a quick sushi lunch before my long bus ride. Funny because a friend once asked me if I should be eating raw fish before a long journey (my last meal in yyc before heading back out again was sushi) and apparently I do it all the time #stomachofsteel. Missed the bus I originally wanted to catch to Mt.Fuji because I couldn’t find the damn bus station. Shinjuku station is huge as balls. I most definitely over-estimated my ability to find things.

Finally made my way to Mt. Fuji and risked my life on sketchy sidewalks. I most definitely accidentally dipped my hair in my udon soup. Blerg. Thought I’d go to bed early again and headed back to the hostel. But the sleep gods were not with me. I think it was too warm in the room.

Day 9 | 九つ目

Woke up, went to see the two lakes. Went to see Mt. Fuji. Amazeballs.

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Cooked dinner at the hostel, chicken, mushroom, bean sprouts, and rice, all bought at 7/11. I also procured a bottle of wine at Sev and was going to drink wine in the lounge and blog. But I misread the rules and you’re NOT allowed to BYOB, not the other way around. Or well, you can BYOB but pay a ¥1,000 corkage fee, which, heeeeellll no. That’s almost how much I paid for the damn bottle. So, I just drank it out of the bottle in my bunk while doing a face mask. I’m classy af like that.

Stoopid other girls in my dorm just chatted with each other the whole night, yelling talking in non-bedtime voice at each other across the bunks. Bad hostel etiquette. But, lol, one girl woke up at 2:00a and demolished a bag of chips. Like, under 1 minute demolished. Didn’t fall asleep until late. Again.

Day 10 | 十番目

Woke up at 9:00a. For a swanky hostel they have real early check out. Called to see if the 5th station bus was running. It wasn’t. Went for a run, ate, and managed to catch the earlier bus back to Shinjuku. Makes up for missing the one on the way out, right?

I crashed hard on the bus right away but woke up because they were blasting the heat. I was sweating through my bijillion layer of clothes. Sorted out my tickets to Nagano and Hakuba at the Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal, got to pay with a credit card, so yaaaaaas.

And then it was fancy dinner time.

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My azn face can’t handle booze tastings. Such a n00b.

Day 11 | 十一番目

Woke up early to catch the bus to Nagano. Took my idiot time in a cafe and almost missed the bus to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Monkeys. Cute.

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If my ability to sleep on buses was everywhere then heck yaaas.

Bussed to Hakuba. Meet some characters (Aussies, obvi) at the hostel. A drunken old man was trying to hit on 2 other Aussies that arrived at the same time. Poorly. One of the other guys gave me his frozen 7/11 spaghetti for dinner. Dammmn, Japanese 7/11s know what they’re doing.

Day 12 | 十二番目

S and I went to grab our rental gear from Rhythm Snowsports. We got the premium rental and I got the most amazing Burton board. A board which I now want. When I heal.

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We went to Happo One, mostly just because it was the closest hill to the rental place. Such good boarding. Lovvveeeeeed it.

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Went to dinner with another Canadian that S knew. We went to the wrong restaurant first. And I stupidly left my phone there. We walked to the second restaurant that was 20 minutes away. Realized I lost my phone. And pretty much was 99.99% sure it’d still be there when we went back after dinner #onlyinjapan. We actually got the waitress to call them to make sure it was still there – dat 0.01% of doubt seeped through.

Day 13 | 十三番目

Went boarding at Tsugaike. Good runs. Soft powder.

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Went to an onsen. Had chanko-nabe and horse sashimi.

Had our first rude Japanese encounter. The bus driver that drives the shuttle buses wouldn’t let us on his bus because apparently we flagged it on the wrong side of the road. Though, he let me on the bus to scold me about flagging on the wrong side of the road. The other bus station was literally just 10m away. And the next bus wasn’t coming for another half hour. And it was cold out. And he was a bag of dicks.

Day 14 | 十四番目

Was going to wake up early and go to this far away hill but S and I woke up late and ended up going to Hakuba 47 instead – and we all know how that ended.

After my little stint at the medical clinic, I ended up yelling at a hotel employee because a) the pain killers hadn’t kicked in yet, b) I was in excruciating pain, and c) they kept telling me I had to go up stairs and I was all like “uhhhh, that ain’t happening.” There was a definite language barrier. They were trying to tell us that the first floor had a couple of steps. Which, we did not get until I was wheeled to said steps and clued in to what they were saying. Whoopsies. Temporary bitch syndrome.

Day 15 |十五番目

Broken, stuck in a hotel room. Ate. Slept. Yelled at insurance. Repeat.

Day 16 | 十六番目

Ate. Slept. Yelled at insurance. Repeat. Threw a little Netflix in the mix. Still broken.

Day 17|十七番目

More eating. More sleeping. More yelling at insurance. Still broken.

Day 18|十八番目

Finally got to see the outside world after 3 and a half days of being stuck inside a hotel room.

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Had a long, adventurous 39.5 hours transport back to yyc.

I guess you can pretty much sum up my Japan trip in three words: Eat. Sleep. Repeat. With a dash of irregular sleep schedule and a pinch of fractured bones.

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