From September 14th - 16th, 2002 I visited Tokyo (I hadn't been there since 1998) to see a few friends of mine and as a side effect of sorts, do some sightseeing.

These two pictures pretty much sum up my impression of Tokyo on the whole. It's big, crowded, has a lot of bright lights, and a lot of crazy people. And if anyone was wondering, yes that is a standard size condom the man on the right has over his head.

Not all of my time in Tokyo was crazy though. On the first day, after arriving by shinkansen (the bullet train), I was able to meet one of my English Conversational Partners from OSU that I hadn't seen for 2 years. We went to a nice restaurant and had a chance to catch up on old times yada yada yada.

And that night I went to Roppongi (the famous night life area of Tokyo) and went dancing until the trains started again at 5am. That's where I met the man who could do the condom over the head trick. Hip hip hooray!

I also was able to meet up with a friend from Brazil (in the center of the picture to the left). On Sunday the 15th her friend came along with us (on the left of the picture) and showed us around Shibuya, Harajuku, and Shinjuku. Her friend works for Tokyo FM and was able to get us into a concert for free. So we got to see the debut performance of Naoto. Never head of Naoto? That's because it was his debut performance dummy! He has just released an album though and judging from his performance I would recommend rushing out to the store as fast as you possibly can and then electing NOT to buy his CD. Her friend also took us to a super delicious sushi restaurant. My taste buds are still watering at the mere thought of that place. Yum yum.

The 3rd and final day I met up with another conversational partner who took me to lunch and then showed me around the Ginza shopping area and the Emperor's Palace. Well the outside of the palace anyway, we couldn't go in (not surprisingly the Emperor refused to grant me an audience despite my being pretty good at video games and my willingness to give him a few tips on the matter). And after that I hopped on the bullet train and came back to Osaka.

All in all I'd have to say that spending time with my friends in Tokyo was cool and fun. However, I'd have to say that Tokyo itself isn't anything to get too worked up about when traveling to Japan. It has some nice spots I suppose, but nothing that seemed any better than Osaka to me. In fact I'd rather just go to those places in Osaka where there aren't so many people and it doesn't take 2 or 3 times as long to get small tasks accomplished. I was also surprised by the inefficiency of the train system there [the Emperor's palace is in the middle of the city, which means all of the train lines are forced to circumvent that area. As a result the train lines aren't the most efficacious in Japan]. Tokyo seems like your typical big city and if you like big cities then you'll like Tokyo, but if you're looking for something that's going to set it apart from other cities...

Actually, there was one very unique place I went in Tokyo that made my day brighter and my life worth living. That would be the cosplay bridge in Harajuku. This is a bridge where Japanese kids gather on Sunday afternoons and show off their most elaborate costumes and make up designs. They don't sing and dance or anything like that, they just loaf around waiting for foreigners to come by and take pictures with them, but it's still entertaining and unique. To my knowledge there's nothing like this bridge in Osaka. So if you're going to Tokyo, looking for something to separate it from another city aside from its crowds, pollution, and piss poor train system, the look no further then the pictures below.

Sidenote: My opinon of Tokyo is strongly effected by the fact that I've been living in Osaka for the past year. For someone who's never visited Japan before I'm (83.4%) sure Tokyo would be full of fun and wonders.


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