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Monday, August 28, 2006

Tokyo Rocks!

Today is our last day in the big city. Tomorrow we leave for London, and with sorrow. We have come to enjoy Tokyo for all of her charming eccentricities and smells; she has been good to us.

The sounds of Tokyo are also interesting. While in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building #1’s viewing deck (from which you can most of Tokyo and even Fuji-san on a clear day) we heard “On Top of the World” by the Carpenters. Later in a department store in Shinjuku we heard the theme from Rocky. But the best music comes from the street, literally. Harajuku on a Sunday is shit hot as all of the bands who have recorded CDs and want to peddle their wares play to crowds of passersby. The bands are only metres away from each other and so they have to out-loud the band next to them or just out-flash them.

I had to decide on which EP I was going to buy: Baby Joe’s or Hop Coaster’s. Hop Coaster sounded like the Chili Peppers and played up to the camera, but I liked Baby Joe. They reminded me of (kiwi band) The Checks. Unfortunately their awesome live sound didn’t carry across to the cd but it was worth the $10 or so I paid for it. When I went to purchase the cd (which the band signed) they all looked so shocked I burst out laughing. They looked like, “you actually want to buy one?!”

We had some time to kill and decided to go to a maid café today. I thought it was going to be a horrible sleazy place filled with chain-smoking geeks glistening with sweat leering at the poor girls, and so I had dismissed the idea out of hand. But then I noticed that our official guide to Tokyo (issued by the local council) had an ad for one on it. The place was called @Home and was three levels of restaurant, café and lobby. To be honest it was lovely. The food was some of the best we have had in Tokyo and the service was, naturally, excellent. It was more of a modern take on the traditional tea house. The “maids” tottered around on wooden sandals and in kimono and would serve people tea and make chit-chat. There was one corner that had tatami and you could get and honest to goodness tea ceremony. The only weirdness was that you could get your photo taken with your favourite maid and that they kept calling you “master”. There were also quite a few female patrons, both the tittering school girl kind and the hipster ironic kind. There was a show in the middle that seemed to be some kind of comedy sketch but upstairs in the lobby you could purchase merchandise, including a cd they had made. Still ranks as weird, but it was a cool Japanese experience.

We have loved Tokyo and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of coming.


Tom said...

Wot, no maid photos?!? ;-)

I feel a "Raising the Bar" post coming on: Wellington needs one of these places!

Hadyn said...

Photos in the cafe were strictly forbidden! Hence the photo of the Kabuki Statue

jody polk said...

if @ maid cafe was anything like a traditional japanese experience, or you had the best food in tokyo there, sorry, your trip to tokyo was an abysmal failure.

Hadyn said...

Ouch Jody!

The Maid Cafe was nothing like a traditional experience (which I had on my first visit 10 years ago) but it was really good food (no one was more surprised than me).