July 3, 2007

Final Photos from Tokyo

POST #    2538


Okay, it's taken forever, but I've finally worked my way through my photos from the Tokyo part of my Asia trip. Next up is Hong Kong.

Seen here are:
- The crazy amount of advertising in a Tokyo subway car - they even have ads on the handles.
- A random building in Tokyo's electronics district.
- The Asahi Beer Hall in Asakusa. The building, designed by Philippe Stark, is topped by a "gold flame" that weighs over 300 tons. It's known as "kin no unchi" or "golden turd" by the locals.
- An old school apple pie from McDonald's. Possibly the best thing about McDonald's restaurants outside the United States is the apple pie.
- Bape store
- Takeshita Street in the heart of Harajuku
- Bape store
- A man with a dressed up dog on his shoulder.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:37 AM

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June 28, 2007

A Smattering of Street Art in Tokyo

POST #    2532

I wasn't actively seeking any street art out in Tokyo, but I stumbled upon these as we were walking around.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:41 AM

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June 27, 2007

A Yoshinoya Beef Bowl

POST #    2531

The Yoshinoya chain of restaurants specializes in gyudon (a bowl of rice topped with beef) and is actually one of the larger fast food restaurant chains in Japan. We stopped in one day for lunch and it seemed pretty popular. Not surprising as it's relatively inexpensive and tastes good. I believe that this is just a beef bowl, but I can't be certain as I couldn't read the menu. There was some pointing and nodding going on.

Looking at their US website, they have tons of locations on the West Coast and it seems they even have on in NYC.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 9:08 AM

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June 26, 2007

The Canopy of Trees Around the Meiji Shrine

POST #    2530

All around the park that surrounds the Meiji Shrine are a lot of wonderfully tall trees that shade most of the walkways in the park. It's rather beautiful when you look up while walking in the park.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 7:42 AM

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June 25, 2007

The Busiest Intersection in the World

POST #    2528

In New York City, you get your fair share of busy pedestrian intersections, but you haven't seen busy until you've seen the crosswalk outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo. They use a scramble crossing where traffic is stopped in all directions, and pedestrians can cross in all directions. It's a bit crazy. Especially during busy times. The 2nd photo above is during a relatively crowded time, but the animated gif was early on a Saturday morning when it wasn't so crowded.

Also, check out this youtube video of the crossing.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 10:31 AM

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June 20, 2007

Porno Graffiti? Yeah, That Makes Perfect Sense

POST #    2522

Graffiti porn makes sense, but porno graffiti? Maybe it's one of those things that was lost in translation?

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:32 AM

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June 19, 2007

Some Japanese Cats Have Extra Stinky Poo

POST #    2521

At least that's what I inferred from this kitty litter packaging.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:39 AM

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June 18, 2007

Manneken Pis at Hamamatsuchō Station in Tokyo

POST #    2520

Back to the Japan Photos!

While we were on the subway one day in Tokyo (I think we were headed to the Akihabara district to look at electronics), we saw this odd statue at the Hamamatsuchō Station. With a little research, I found that it's a Manneken Pis statue. According to Wikipedia, Manneken Pis is a landmark in Brussels with a legend that dates back to the 1100s or the 1300s, depending on which legend you believe.

Like the Manneken Pis statues in Brussels, the one at Hamamatsuchō Station changes his costume throughout the year. It looks like he was wearing a police officer's outfit here.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:29 AM

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May 17, 2007

Late Afternoon Burger from Standard Deli

POST #    2484

If you like to buy expensive clothes and eat food at almost the same time, there's a store in Tokyo that's perfect for you. Journal Standard, which has a few stores throughout Japan, has a location in Shinjuku with expensive men's and women's clothes on the first and second floors and food on the top floor. While I don't buy too many expensive items of clothing, I do like to eat food. The store was obviously Calvin's dream come true. We also went to their location in Shibuya, but the store and deli there are in two separate, but close, locations. They call their restaurant the "Standard Deli" and as you can see, I had a burger. I think it was the "Standard Burger", which, while decent, wasn't nearly as good as MOS Burger.

The Shinjuku location used to have a trailer where they cooked the food outside on the roof, but it's no longer there. It seems like they moved it outside the location of their Shibuya store.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:05 AM

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May 16, 2007

Sushi for Breakfast at the Tsukiji Market

POST #    2482

While visiting Tsukiji Market to see the fish market is something you shouldn't miss in Tokyo, eating there is another must do. It's literally the freshest sushi you can get in the world. There are two sushi places in the market, both insanely crowded with tourists, but what can you do? We went to Daiwa. Though it's not the most ideal thing to eat at 7 in the morning, Calvin and I throughly enjoyed the experience. Johnny, not so much. I think the meal ran us about $30 something for the set meal, which worked out best because we didn't have to order a thing.

I even ate the unagi, which I usually stay away from, and what looks like the ark shell thing that I took a picture of (3rd picture). I believe Calvin and I walked away agreeing that it was the best sushi we've ever had.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 9:36 AM

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May 10, 2007

The Asian Colonel Sanders

POST #    2477

It's all in the eyes. Seriously. It's slight, but it's there.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 10:46 AM

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May 9, 2007

More from the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo

POST #    2475

Back in March I posted one image of the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. Here are some more from the early-morning trip to the market. If you ever go to Tokyo, I would highly recommend a visit. Just watch out for all the tractors and the people that are actually there to shop. I think some of the fishmongers really had disdain for the tourists, while others were somewhat receptive.

If you're wondering what's in that third picture is, I have no idea. And to get an idea of how large those frozen tuna carcases are, check out this image for scale (only a half tuna pictured). And that picture is just a fraction of the tuna that were on sale that day.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:54 AM

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May 8, 2007

The Strangest Thing we Saw in Tokyo

POST #    2474

One evening, Johnny and I were standing around waiting for Calvin late one night in the Tokyo subway. As we were waiting there, with people all rushing around us, one woman runs by and a wig falls out of the area around her crotch. I don't think she noticed as she kept on running. It definitely drew the attention of a lot of passers by though, giving the fallen hair some very odd looks.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 10:29 AM

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April 26, 2007

It's Your Typical Tokyo Subway Ride

POST #    2462

Man reading something, sick man texting on phone, passed out woman texting on phone, passed out man, woman on laptop, passed out man. Just your everyday subway ride in Tokyo.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 12:16 PM

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April 25, 2007

Eating Teppanyaki in Tokyo

POST #    2461

One night while in Tokyo, we met up with Calvin's friend Akira for dinner. I'm not sure I ever knew the name of the restaurant (it might have been Teppanya), but it was teppanyaki, which uses a griddle to cook the food. It was really, really tasty. Insanely tasty. We also got a little tipsy, as you might be able to tell. I didn't have quite as much to drink as I nearly fell asleep at dinner (jetlag, yo).

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 9:48 AM

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April 24, 2007

Sensoji Temple in Tokyo

POST #    2460

In the Asakusa section of Tokyo is the Sensoji Temple (aka Asakusa Kannon Temple), the oldest temple in Tokyo. Its history dates back to 628 when, legend has it, two brothers found a golden statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and happiness, while fishing in the nearby river. Completed in 645 (later destroyed during the war and rebuilt), the temple is a tribute to Kannon. Because of her ability to release humans from all suffering, visitors from around the world visit the temple. The actual gold statue is not on display, but is supposedly in the temple.

Leading up to the temple is Nakamise Dori, a small shopping lane with lots of traditional and souvenir shops. It seemed like a tourist trap to me, but there seemed to be some brisk business for the many of the vendors.

Incidentally, this is one of my favorite photos from the visit to the temple.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:52 AM

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April 23, 2007

The Imperial Palace East Gardens in Tokyo

POST #    2459

In the center of Tokyo is the Imperial Palace, home to Japan's Emperor. The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace are open to the public on most days, but the actual palace buildings and inner gardens are only open on two days - January 2 (New Year's Greeting) and December 23 (the Emperor's birthday). We didn't spend too much time there as they closed shortly after we got there.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 9:18 AM

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April 18, 2007

Hachikō Statue in Shibuya

POST #    2454

Just outside the Shibuya Station, there's a statue of a dog. It's not just any dog, but Hachikō, an Akita so loyal that they made a statue for him. At the start of the day, Hachikō would see his owner off and at the end, Hachikō would meet his owner outside Shibuya Station. Even after his owner's death, Hachikō would wait at the station for his owner. He did this for 11 years! Apparently, they found yakitori skewers in the dog's stomach after his death, so his daily appearance may not have been out of loyalty alone.

The original statue, erected in 1934, was "recycled" for WWII, but this new statue has been there since 1948.

Posted by tien mao in Culture, Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:22 AM

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April 17, 2007

Tokyo: Known Around the World for Its HUGE Traffic Cones

POST #    2453

Or their miniature versions of Calvin. And while nobody will ever call Calvin tall (not even in Japan), the traffic cone was obviously very large.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:08 AM

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April 16, 2007

Getting Bombed at Propoganda in Roppongi

POST #    2452

In my first night out in Japan, I wasn't able to stay awake. It was bad. I would have a beer in hand and be falling asleep. The second night out I was a little better. We spent most of the night at Propoganda in Roppongi (a popular district for Gaijin). After teaching the bartender how to make an Irish car bomb, the three of us had quite a few.

The best part of being the person with the camera? You can edit the pictures of you out!

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Friends/Family, Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:56 AM

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April 12, 2007

Breakfast from the Excelsior Caffe

POST #    2449

With Johnny away from most Western foods while in Medan, Indonesia (the third largest city in that country), he was jonesing for bread that wasn't sweet. We passed a bagel place one night, but couldn't find it the next morning, so we settled on the Excelsior Caffe. With my lack of Japanese and the lack of English from the person taking my order, there was a lot of nodding and pointing on my part. Somehow, I ended up with two sandwiches - the smoked ham & cheese, mushroom and some other "panini" - it had egg, ham, and cheese and was warmed/cooked in the microwave (the egg was still slightly runny). It might have been what they called the croque monsieur.

While it wasn't what I envisioned as a traditional Japanese breakfast, there were a fair amount of people that came in and out of the store while we were there. Calvin told us that a lot of people eat like this in Japan.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:43 AM

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April 11, 2007

The Oft Photoed Harajuku Girls

POST #    2448


When you're walking around Harajuku in Tokyo, it's hard to miss all the Harajuku girls (they kind of stand out from your normal Tokyoite (?)). They stand around, hanging out with their friends, who are also dressed up in costumes to resemble anime characters, punk musicians, and other things. One of the more popular gathering spots is near the Harajuku Station, not far from the Meiji Shrine, where there seem to be more people gawking than dressed up teens. Some girls pose for the cameras (last photo), while some shun photos. Or at least don't like it when tourists ask if they can take the photo - I'm not talking about myself.

I just wonder what happens when someone shows up with the same headband thing over the nose.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:54 AM

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April 10, 2007

The Tokyo St. Patrick's Day Parade

POST #    2446

While in Tokyo, we caught the local St. Patricks' Day parade. It was similar, yet different from the parade in New York. Similar - lots of green. Different - not too many drunk people, not too many Irish people, no members of a fire department or police department, no controversy over the exclusion of gays/lesbians. Also odd, the parade goes up and down on Omotesandō (a street) in Harajuku. For New Yorkers, imagine a parade that starts on 34th and Park, goes north to 42nd, and turns around the median to go south on Park.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:55 AM

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April 5, 2007

Yes, That's a Chunk of Butter on My Ramen

POST #    2442

It was breakfast, so it's okay, right? One morning, we were hungry for some Japanese food, so we stopped into a little ramen shop for breakfast. This was some ramen with some pork and scallops in it. To purchase, you actually put money into a vending machine (with pictures and no English) and the staff takes your printed order.

Oh, and it was delicious. The butter just made it better.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:10 AM

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April 4, 2007

A Lurker Outside Condomania in Shibuya

POST #    2441

This Condomania seemed to be closed, but there was at least one more that we spotted that was open. The location in Harajuku was doing well though.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:07 AM

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April 3, 2007

MOS Burger in Japan

POST #    2440

When we arrived in Japan, our first meal wasn't ramen, udon, or any fish related item, it was MOS Burger (MOS stands for mountain, ocean, sun). Chalk it up to arriving very late and Calvin's never ending love of the Japanese chain.

Pictured above is the spicy MOS burger, French fries and onion rings, MOS burger, teriyaki chicken burger, and the MOS chicken. My favorite of the bunch had to be the spicy MOS burger, which had a nice kick to it with the jalapeños on it. The best way that I can describe the sauce on the MOS burger is that it's similar, yet not the same, as a marinara sauce. I didn't care too much for the teriyaki chicken burger. The MOS chicken is a fried chicken leg that is partially de-boned. The drumstick part still has the bone in it, making it easy to eat the rest of it. And it comes in nifty packaging!

More information:
- MOS Burger's English site
- Wikipedia on MOS Burger
- MOS Burger pool on flickr
- AHT on MOS Burger

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:29 AM

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March 29, 2007

The View from Our Hotel Room in Shibuya

POST #    2434

Night and day. This was the view from our room at the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. The hotel was very conveniently located to multiple lines of the Tokyo subway system and near a nice shopping district (not necessarily a good thing). If you look carefully at the nighttime photo, you can see a soccer field on the roof of a building on the lower left. It seemed like it was always in use.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:06 AM

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March 28, 2007

Meiji Shrine in Tokyo

POST #    2432

I'm back from my travels and now recovering from jetlag. Fun times! Expect lots of photos from Asia. I'll try to keep them in somewhat of a chronological order.

These pictures are from the Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji and his wife. Their spirits were enshrined there on November 1, 1920, but the original building was destroyed in World War II. The current one was finished in 1958. The shrine is now a popular place for weddings (the photos with the red parasol). As you can see, thousands of prayers are left on plaques by visitors to the shrine.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Photos, Travel at 8:59 AM

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March 23, 2007

Straight to the Sushi Source in Tokyo

POST #    2429

A word of advice for those that are going to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo - you're going to end up smelling like fish. It's a pretty crazy scene. While we didn't make it in time for the auction, there was still plenty of fish around. The size of the actual tuna fish is gigantic (as pictured here). I've got plenty more photos from the fish market as well as some photos of the sushi we ate. Best sushi I've ever had? Yes. Freshest sushi ever? No doubt.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Japan, Photos, Travel at 12:01 AM

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March 19, 2007

Hello! From the Shibuya Apple Store

POST #    2427

shibuyaapple.jpg

Hello, dear readers! I'm at the Apple Store Shibuya, Tokyo here in Japan. Clearly, the best thing about all Apple Stores is the fact that you can check your email. One Problem is that the keyboard I'm using is a Japanese keyboard. This makes typing somewhat frustrating. Example: the apostrophe symbol is on the 7 key. Anyway, we're off to Hong Kong tonight. As you can see from the picture here, Calvin and I are doing well. Johnny is off at some museum right now, taking in some culture. Pshaw.

And you might be surprised to find out that I haven't purchased any sneakers in Tokyo.

Posted by tien mao in Japan, Travel at 12:01 AM

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