Japan Day 18: A Fond Farewell

We got up at a reasonable hour, this was to be my last day with Scotty, he was headed back home and I was headed back to Narita for the night and tomorrow coming back home. Scott had been talking about the Japanese freaks and how I had to see them so that is where we were headed today. There is also a shrine right by the place the freaky kids hangout so we were going to see that too.

We packed up all of our stuff and checked out of the hotel, thankfully the hotel kept our baggage for us as we went out exploring. We took the subway and headed to Harajuku Station which is where the freaks hang out. The freaks have a more popular name, they are more often called Harajuku girls (not sure what they call the boys, most of them were female though). We must have picked a bad Sunday or we were there at the wrong time of day because the freaks were not out in very big numbers. There were a few of them out though. I didn’t find them very freaky, I guess in years past their outfits have been a lot more wild, but they were still fun to see. I only got a couple pictures because there really weren’t many of them to take pictures of.

There is a shrine right near the spot where the kids hang out so we headed off to it. It’s the Meiji Shrine, I learned one thing here. Shrines have Toriis (the structures that look like the pi symbol) and temples have Pagodas. The shrine was neat and we even got to see a traditional Japanese wedding while we were there which was quite cool.

Here are my pictures from the shrine.

After the shrine we were both feeling pretty hungry so we set out to find a place to eat. We ended up finding a really cool shopping district. This was the shopping area for teens and it was filled with all sorts of cool little stores and of course packed with people, everywhere in Tokyo seems to be packed with people. We walked around the block checking things out and trying to find a good place to eat. We actually had a hard time finding anything that looked appetizing so we ended up going to Wolfgang puck where I got a pizza and Scott got himself a burger. It was a cool area though and from the restaurant we could watch all the people outside which was neat.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to get our stuff. After getting all the baggage we hiked it to the subway, riding the packed subway cars with a big fat backpack isn’t exactly the most fun thing in the world. Our plan was to take the subway part of the way then get out and catch a cab to the train station. Cabs can be expensive but they have a flat fare of 660 yen for X amount of miles so if you can work that to your advantage it isn’t too bad. We got to the train station and when we did we noticed that the train Scott wanted to catch was leaving very shortly. We got in line and ended up having an extremely slow worker, Scott was losing his patience with him but he finally did get his ticket. We said some quick goodbyes and he took of running for his train. Since Scott is being a bastard about replying to his emails I still don’t know if he made that train or not, I hope he did. My train was leaving shortly as well but I wasn’t really rushed and I was able to get a seat on the train. Oh yeah, Scott wasn’t able to get a seat and had to take a standing room only ticket, that really sucks since it’s a three hour train ride back to his house, hopefully he was able to finagle a seat somehow.

After getting my ticket I went downstairs and found my train waiting for me. The train was pretty much empty which was nice and a bit surprising. This time I was able to take the Narita Express (NEX) back to Narita. If you remember from Day 2 I was supposed to take the Narita express from Narita to Tokyo but there was an accident (most likely a suicide) which meant I had to take a different, slower, train. The Narita express train was nice, the seats were comfy, it didn’t really make any stops and was quick, not nearly bullet train quick, but fast enough. It took about an hour to get from Tokyo to the Narita airport.

I got off the train at the Narita airport and headed to the shuttle pickup. I was going to be staying at the hilton that I stayed at on day 1 and they offer a free shuttle to and from the airport which is nice. I got lucky and the shuttle was waiting for me when I got there so I was able to just get off the train and hop on the shuttle.

It was around 5:00pm or so and I was pretty damn beat. I was thinking of going out to a bar called the Barge Inn that Scott had told me about, it’s a gaijin bar and supposed to be a lot of fun. The more I hung out at the hotel the more tired I realized I was and I had done enough partying over the last two weeks to last me at least six months so I decided to just have a mellow night at the hotel.

The hotel had a few restaurants as well so I decided I would just stay in and eat there. That plan almost fell apart when I saw the prices at most of the restaurants, it was ridiculous how expensive they were, I was looking at a minimum of around a hundred buck for me to eat. Luckily they had a little Japanese place that had food at a reasonable price. I saw the menu before I even went in so I knew what I wanted, they also had green apple Chuhai’s which happened to be my favorite. They had two chicken items on the menu, chicken gristle which I assumed was chicken knuckles and chicken in sweet and sour sauce. While the first chicken knuckles I had weren’t bad at all I decided to play it safe and just have some nice normal sweet and sour chicken.


The sweet and sour chicken was chicken knuckles once again. It did come with a sweet and sour sauce so I know they got my order right but it was most definitely chicken knuckles. Makes me wonder what the chicken gristle was. So I ate my knuckles and I also had some gyoza not to mention a couple of chuhai’s and my appetite was sated. I headed back up to my room to watch some Japanese TV. The good thing was one of the channels had some english programing. The bad thing was the English programming sucked. I got bored so I headed down to the hotel bar hoping maybe I could find someone to talk to and entertain myself. I went down to the bar and got myself a bass ale, the place was pretty much deserted, I was hoping for some cute stewardesses but no such luck. I sat and drank my beer doing a bit of people watching and watching the bartenders make some fancy drinks for the people in the restaurant. I finished my beer and ordered myself a second one, as I was sitting there drinking it I thought to myself “gee, I wonder how much they are charging me for these beers?” I asked the bartender if I could see a drink menu and was more than a little surprised to see that I was paying 1,160 yen for a single beer. That translates to about ten bucks a beer, absolutely ridiculous.

I finished my beer and since the place was still dead decided to go back up to my hotel room. On the way to my room I stopped by the vending machine. In the vending machine I could get beer for 300 yen and chuhai’s for 250 yen. I got myself a chuhai.

I was in luck when I got back to the room, The Shining was just starting and it was in English. I had just recently re-read the book and had been meaning to watch it so I was quite happy about that. I pretty much just watched the movie, had another chuhai or three, and passed out.

Filed Under Japan | 2 Questions/Comments |

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2 Questions/Comments/Trackbacks so far

  1. Posted by: Roze
    December 30, 2012 6:49 pm

    You know….I find it a bit offensive that you refer to young people in elaborate clothing as “freaks” – what makes them so different other than a few simple fashion choices?

    These are human beings. They go to work, they go to school, they have friends and families. They’re normal people. They just like to dress up on the weekends and have a good time.

    And to honest, most of them don’t hang out in Harajuku anymore because a lot of them got sick of the attention and chose to hang out with their buddies else where.

  2. Posted by: Moe
    January 1, 2013 7:15 pm

    You are awfully judgmental by assuming that I use the word freak in a derogatory manner. I love freaks and often have considered myself one.

    Here are two dictionary definitions of the word Freak:

    1. A thing or occurrence that is markedly unusual or irregular
    2. An eccentric or nonconformist person, especially a member of a counterculture.

    I’d say that these kids are the dictionary definitions of the word. I also do not speak poorly of these kids or say anything derogatory about them in my writings. You need to relax. These are just words. If some random words on a blog that very few people ever read cause you offense you either need to grow a thicker skin or just stay off the internet.

    They may not hang out there anymore but I was there six years ago.