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Archive for the ‘Kanagawa 県’ Category

Robots & Drink Baths

Posted by Heliocentrism on October 5, 2017

Saturday, July 8th and Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

People have this idea that Japan is a quirky place where strange things happen all the time. This notion pops up mostly on meme posting sites, but sometimes you can see it on the news as a “crazy thing they’re doing in Japan now”. Case in point, the Bagel Head trend. It was called a fad that was sweeping Japan. It was not, but since everyone is conditioned to believe that the Japanese love odd trends and most readers/ viewers had never been to Japan, this falsehood was easily taken up and retold.

Bageling one’s head was no more a trend in Japan than it was in New York or London.

That said, you can find crazy stuff in Japan. But, it’s mostly kept in and around Tokyo where tourists can find it. The thought is, “If this is what tourists expect and are willing to pay for, we’ll do it!” I introduce to you the Robot Cafe:

It’s a shame what happened to Daft Punk.

It is advertised as a robot burlesque show. It has a lot of stuff. There are many things going on during the performance, however at no point did I see any actual robots or burlesque. There is a scantily clad baddie who dies in an absurdly sexy position, but there is no dancing involved. When there is dancing, it’s more peppy than sexy, so not burlesque.

a non-robot performing a non-dance

So, what is the show about?

I saw it. I definitely did. But… I’m still not sure what happened.

This is how I imagine the board meeting to decid what the show would be about went…

Boss: “Okay, we going to do this thing. Any ideas on what it should be about? Remember, no idea is a bad idea!”

Person 1: “I watched Fern Gully last night, why don’t we just plagiarize that?”

Boss: “Yea, that sounds nice.”

Person 2: “Why don’t we have a 50’s Americana style dance off with cheerleaders… like half-way through the show?”

Boss: “Good, good. Keep it coming!”

Person 3: “I like parades. Why don’t we have a parade? … with really unnecessarily loud music to kick things off?”

Boss: “Genius!”

Person 1: “Since you liked my Fern Gully idea, why not have some teen… I mean post pubescent genetically altered martial art amphibians?

Person 2: “Oh, and let’s rip off Tron while we’re at it!?”

Person 4: “I like fire breathing mechanical chickens!”

Person 2: “Maybe we should call it a phoenix?

Person 4: “No, it should be a chicken.”

Looking for the plot of the show as a robot dies in the background.

Boss: “I’ll do all of that! Unfortunately the mechanical chicken will cost so much that we will not have money left in the budget to get any robots. But I think the people will enjoy the chicken much more.”

Mark enjoyed the show. I was just confused. There were zero robots. I think there was one guy in a robot costume, but he was on stage for less than 5 minutes.

At Hakone Kowakien Yunessun you can soak in hot water and enjoy a beautiful view of the nearby mountains. But, this is not why most people go. They go to get coffee poured on their heads, to sit in wine, sake, coffee, green tea, and whatever the special liquid of the day is. This is the kind of kitch I like.

This one doesn’t have as many international tourists. It’s a bit hard to get to and the information online is mostly in Japanese. It can also be a bit expensive at 4,000 yen when most osens cost 500 yen. But, with a little persistence we found an online coupon that got us in for 3,000 yen with a complimentary lunch set. (It’s still expensive, but whatchya gonna do?)

I enjoyed it! My swim suit smelled like wine for weeks afterwards, but it was worth it.


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Robot Restaurant

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35.694312, 139.702865

Address:

  • 〒160-0021 Tokyo, 新宿区Kabukicho, 1−7−1 新宿ロボットビル

Phone:

  • +81 3-3200-5500

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 15:00 – 23:00
  • 1 hour show
  • Show up at least 30 minute before the show.
  • There are 4 shows a day.

Videos:

Notes:

  • I didn’t really like it, but many people did.
    • The area where we sat was too cramped.
    • The show made very little sense.
    • Honestly, I thought the tickets were overpriced even with the online discount.
    • Had it been a $20 show, it would have been worth it.
  • The food is not that great.
    • Mark and I didn’t order the food. In fact, only one group of people did.
    • It looked like the bento you get from 7/11, which would be fine if it didn’t cost $10.
  • Bring ear plugs.
    • The music is quite loud.
    • Kids are given ear protection, like those worn by people who work on the tarmac at airports. Adults are given nothing.
  • Not too far from the Godzilla head.

Hakone Kowakien Yunessun
(箱根小涌園ユネッサン)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35.239393, 139.045280

Address:

  • 1297 Ninotaira Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa

Phone:

  • 0460-82-4126

Websites:

Cost:

  •  YUNESSUN 2,900 JYP
  • MORI NO YU 1,900 JYP
  • YUNESSUN & MORI NO YU Combo  4,100 JYP
  • Addition costs:
    • Towel Rental:
      • Bath towel 100 yen,
      • Face towel 50 yen
    • Swimsuit rental: Men’s 650 yen, Women’s 1080 yen, Children’s 650 yen
      • Sizes range from men: M~6L
      • Women S~4L
      • Children 70cm~160cm
    • Lunch:
      • Inside the Yunessun area (Fontana): ~600+JYN – 900JYN
      • There are more restaurants outside the Yunessun area, but still in the building: Prices are higher than Fontana

Hours:

  • YUNESSUN: (Swim suit sections)
    • 09:00-19:00(March-October)
    • 09:00-18:00 (November-February )
  • MORI NO YU: (Naked Section)
    • 09:00-21:00

Notes:

  • Shampoo and Conditioner are complimentary and placed in the showers.
  • You should bring your towel or rent one there.

Map:

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Posted in Hakone 町, Japan, Kanagawa 県, Tokyo 都 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The hardest thing is parking

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 27, 2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

All Pictures

“…and the old people were never seen from again.”

Back to the Forest

The light of day gave us an extra boost of bravery that we took to the Aokigahara forest. It was early in the morning and none of the caves, or lava related sight-seeing activities were open. We just wanted to walk around and look at stuff.

We stuck to the trail and did not go down too far. It was cold. It had snowed the previous night and it started to snow again on our walk. While in the woods, Mark told me about some scary tale about the forest involving abandoned grandparents left in the winter to starve to death. Once we were sufficiently cold we headed back to our warm car.

“Can I interest you in a nicely overpriced parking spot, ma’am?”

He called me over.

Next we went to see a big Buddha who would let us walk around in his belly. We had no trouble finding him. He was right were Google maps said he would be. The problem was where to park.

The attraction did not have its own parking lot. We drove past it, but turned around when we saw no place to park. As we were passing it again, from the other side, a guy with a bright orange vest motioned us to his parking lot. He seemed to know what he was doing and he called us over with such authority, we figured that this was the official parking lot of the Kotoku-in shrine.

As we got out of the car Mr. Orange gave us a ticket with a time on it. I asked him how much the parking cost. It was ¥800 for 30 minutes. YIKES!! We were already parked. We handed him the cash and crossed the street.

When we left we found a better parking spot a few blocks up the road. It had a machine you paid instead of an overly confident guy, but it was too late. The mistake had already been made. “You win this time, Mr. Orange.”

He’s empty inside.

We didn’t want to go over our 30-minute time limit and have to pay another ¥800 for parking. So, we zipped through the shrine. We ran through the gardens and stopped at the souvenir shop to pick up some postcards. We went inside the Buddha and took many photos, all the while checking the time.

We were back to our car in 25 minutes.

Capital City!

Calculon

The next stop was Tokyo. We found our hostel with ease. I walked in to inquire about the parking situation. The clerk at the hostel told me that they had one parking spot that cost ¥1,000 per day to use. My heart skipped a beat; ¥1,000 per day is practically free when it comes to downtown Tokyo parking.

“Is it available?” I felt like even asking was being too optimistic. The guy rummaged through half a ton of papers on his desk looking for something that would tell him if the spot was open for the duration of our stay. He chattered on and on about things I didn’t care about as he read through random papers here and there.

There were several false finds. “Oh this is it. No. No. This is the information about the blah blah blah. Did you know that blah blah blah… ?” I stood there trying not to look anxious. I really didn’t want to blow half our travel money on parking.

“Here it is. Here it is! You can use the spot.” He went into a little speech about how the spot was only for guests, there was only one, and how much it would cost. I knew all this already. He told me all of it about 20 minutes earlier when I walked in.

I tried to interrupt to ask him where the spot was. Mark was illegally parked on the street and waiting for me to give him news about our parking situation. But, the guy ignored me and continued with his sermon. I counted out all the money I needed to pay for both the parking fee and the cost for Mark and I to stay at the hostel while he was talking.

I placed the money on the silver money tray on the counter. He tried to shoo it away. He had not done the calculations yet and did not want to deal with money right now. He was still talking about parking.

Finally, when he was done he asked if I wanted to pay for the parking all at once now, or day by day. I told him that I would pay for everything right now and tried to hand him the money he shooed away before. He rejected the money again.

“You must first check-in, but to check-in you must pay for your stay.” He said this so solemnly, I would have thought, that he thought, that I thought paying was optional. Had I not been trying to give this man money for the past 10 minutes?

Again, I placed my wad of cash on the silver tray and again he shooed it away. He pulled out a calculator and pushed buttons like a mad accountant. He mumbled some numbers in Japanese. Once again, I placed my money on the silver tray, but took it back when he waved his hand at me. The money was messing up his calculations.

When he was done with his math, he gave me his figure. I place my cash on the silver tray once more. He counted it and meticulously wrote me a receipt. I took the receipt and asked where the parking spot was. “Didn’t I tell you? It’s right there.”

Mark has his own city?

Let’s go to the insane asylum!

I made reservations that evening for dinner at an insane asylum themed restaurant. I read about it in some odd e-zine some time back. But since then, I’ve only been to Tokyo for business.

This was my opportunity to check out this restaurant.

Hungry?

Diners are encouraged to play along with the theme. Mark and I saw some customers handcuffed and chained together as they were led to their table. But speaking Japanese with a very limited vocabulary, put a damper on our experience.

Let me just tell you all the naughty words I know in English.

For one thing, I don’t know that many curse words in Japanese. I know the word, “fool” and a really rude way to say “you” but, this is quite tame compared to the horrible things I can say in Spanish. So when the waitress came over, with her purple eyes, she failed to shock us with her scandalous vocabulary.

So she tried using English. But, English isn’t really her thing and at first we didn’t understand what she was getting at. For one thing, she got the names for the female and male genitalia mixed up. Then she tried to ask us about our sex lives, but we couldn’t understand her the first 6 times she asked. The conversation ended with her just saying the word, “pussy” over and over along with some other stuff that could have been English and/or Japanese.

I’m sure that whatever she said, it was all very naughty.

Mad Chemist

The food is nothing special. I think they put most of their creative effort into their drinks. The menu starts with drinks giving you high hopes of things to come. But the food, with the exception of one or two dishes,  is just regular non-asylum themed food that you can get anywhere. It just costs more.

Tokyo brings out the worst in some people.

You pay for the atmosphere, the fun, and the creepiness.

I enjoyed the restaurant, but I think I would have liked it more if I knew more rude words in Japanese.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Aokigahara
(青木ヶ原)
(Suicide Forest)
 

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°28’46.2″N 138°39’30.6″E

Address:

Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0332 , Japan

Websites:

Cost:

  • Parking is free
  • Hiking is free
  • There is a charge for visiting the Lave tunnels or the caves

Hours:

  • There is no closing time for hiking. But, really, do you want hike here after the sun goes down?

Videos:

Notes:

  • If you go hiking here, DO NOT leave the path. Not only is there a chance you will see dead people, but you will most likely get hopelessly lost!

Kōtoku-in
(高徳院)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°19’00.1″N 139°32’10.1″E
  • Parking 35°19’00.1″N 139°32’03.9″E

Address:

4-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 467-22-0703

Websites:

Cost:

  • Temple: 200 yen
  • Statute: 20 yen
  • Parking: 200 ~ 800 yen
    • Don’t go to the nearest parking area. It will be very expensive (800 yen/hour).
    • It will take you about 10-15 minutes to see the Buddha, so you will want the cheapest rate.
    • It will be cheaper to use any parking lot nearby that you pay for via a machine (not a human).

Hours:

  • Temple: 8:00 – 17:30
  • Statute: 8:00 – 16:30

Notes:

  • This is where you can see the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu).

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
(東京都庁)
(Tōkyōto-chō)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°41’22.6″N 139°41’31.5″E

Address:

2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture 160-0023, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 3-5321-1111

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • North Observatory: 9:30 to 23:00
  • South Observatory: 9:30 to 17:30
  • Closed :
    • (Entry ends 30 minutes before closing.)
    • North Observatory: 2nd and 4th Monday of each month (next day if a national holiday)
    • South Observatory: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month (next day if a national holiday)
    • Both observatories: December 29 to January 3 (except January 1)

Notes:

  • The North Tower has a restaurant with the better view and a bigger souvenir shop. But because of the restaurant and the bigger souvenir shop there is less space for tourists to move around when looking out at Tokyo.
  • The South Tower has better views of Tokyo. Its souvenir shop is very small and its cafe is in the middle of the deck leaving lots of space for tourists to enjoy the view of Tokyo.

Alcatraz ER
(アルカトラズE.R.)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°39’30.1″N 139°41’44.4″E

Address:

2-13-5 Dogenzaka | Harvest Bldg 2F, Shibuya, Tokyo Prefecture 150-0043, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 3-3770-7100

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 17:00 – 23:00

Notes:

  • I recommend making reservations.
  • You are encouraged to play with the staff and act like you really are an insane inmate.
  • The food is decent. It’s nothing special. This place is more about the atmosphere than anything.

Ace Inn Shinjuku

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°41’32.2″N 139°43’22.3″E
  • near Akebonobashi station on theToeiShinjuku line
    • Exit #3

Address:

〒160-0001 東京都新宿区片町5-2

Phone:

Websites:

Cost:

  • ¥3,300 ~ 4,500 per person per night

Hours:

  • Check in 16:00
  • Check out 11:00
  • There is a receptionist available 24 hours a day.

Notes:

  • The wi-fi is pretty decent throughout the whole hostel.
  • There is one parking space. (You can see our white k-car in the photo above.)
    • ¥1,000/ night
  • My Hostelworld review:

“Tokyo is expensive, so I can’t expect too much from a budget hostel. The place was clean enough for the most part. My bed, sheets, and towels looked pretty clean, but I did get run over by a huge roach in the common area. The kitchen is quite small, and dirty looking. Because the place looks a bit run down in the lobby, some travelers don’t make as much of an effort to pick up after themselves as they should. But, if you just want to stay for a night or two this place might be okay.”

Map:

Posted in Fujikawaguchiko 町, Honshū, Japan, Kamakura 市, Kanagawa 県, Tokyo 都, Yamanashi 県 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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