OPERATION: DOWNFALL (The Invasion of Japan for Otaku Purposes [aka ODTIJOP])


I had chosen looking for the Diet Building and then the tunnel of torii, then it was Mehve's choice to find the giant fish market, but after that we had to pull out the guidebook to find another interesting place to visit that would keep us occupied for a while, but was someplace that wouldn't take the rest of the afternoon and evening in touring, since there was still one place we wanted to return to before we left Tokyo for good the following day.

So we looked at the main Tokyo guidebook and came to the consensus that the Shibuya district was worth our time. We'd both seen the giant crosswalk that it's famous for in numerous anime and movies (including Lost in Translation), and I was dying to do an Abbey Road re-enactment in the middle of the megaton of pedestrian traffic if I could. So we skipped on over to the nearest train station and hopped over to Shibuya. The half hour trips we were taking (almost everywhere in Tokyo seemed to be only 30 minutes max from anyplace else) seemed like a nice break in the day for us now — being from the suburbs my whole life, I found this ability to fall into big-city living pretty amazing. Yeah, I'm proud of learning to ride the subway... Blow me.

We made it to Shibuya, checked out a pretty cool subterranean supermarket (Mehve found some leeks, I failed to find any Ramune soda), and just as we came upon the infamous Shibuya Crossing, Mehve shouted out in glee "Ah! Holy shit! It's Hachiko! I totally forgot about Hachiko! I am so sorry, Hachiko, you never forgot about me..." Then he ran up to a statue of a dog and hugged it.


Mehve is weird. By the way, the following image is why he wanted to find a giant leek while in Japan...



Well, either this image or the fact that the Japanese think that sticking leeks up one's anus while sick is a way to cure one's cold... Yeah, in case you didn't know, Japan's straaaaaaaaaaaange.


So it turns out that the Akita Inu dog known as Hachiko used to meet his owner at that very spot in Shibuya every afternoon when his master was coming home from work. Then one day Hachiko's master died at work (tentacle monster got him, he was lubed to death), and when Hachiko went to meet him at the Shibuya Crosswalk he wasn't there. Then the dog went back the next day, and the next, and then the next... for nine goddamn years. That's why, even though I hate animals except to eat them, I at least respect dogs. They know their place next to humans, and they are damn loyal creatures. They're like slaves that we're allowed to own!... Wait, that sounded bad, didn't it.

Tokyo waiting dogs shibuya

I love how everybody in this entire picture is pretending to ignore me here. There were like 20 people waiting for their friends or significant others at this dog statue, and they all just pretended that I wasn't there as I posed for like 6 or 7 photos of me and the pooch. I think one shot I was attempting was to sniff the statue's ass, which I chose not to get digitally immortalized, but not after actually posing for it. Nobody even blinked an eye. I swear that I could rob a goddamn bank in Japan and they'd all just ignore me.


Tokyo bear

I don't know why I took this picture (or half of all of them). Bears.


After we were done bowing to the statue of a long dead dog, Mehve and I walked around the corner to the world famous Shibuya Crosswalk, and it was....... something. Just not something as amazing as we were led to believe from every anime and movie we'd ever seen that featured the place. Yes, it was a large crosswalk — no two ways about it — but it wasn't really THAT big, and it did not have the giant "X" crosswalk between opposite corners of the square, like we remembered from everything we'd seen previous to Mini cop caractually being there. It turns out that the even bigger pedestrian crosswalk that we were both thinking about is in the Ginza District. I only found this out well after we returned home, and it just made me wonder why Shibuya's intersection is so much more popular. I guess it's a more happening area of town (what with Hachiko and the Ruv-u Hotehrs), but it's a bummer we never did find either the Giant-X (like that reference?) crosswalk or the twin tower building we both had hoped to see this trip. Oh well, there's always next time.

Anyway, Mehve and I wandered around Shibuya for a while, mostly looking for anything (shop, restaurant, or anything else) that we hadn't seen before, and then, without us knowing it, we stumbled upon Love Hotel Hill. I shit you not; it's an actual place. We took a few pictures of the area, then we just hung around and silently laughed at the guys trying to sweet talk obviously into it (but pretending to be shy) ladies into joining them for a timed hour of love inside. Then when that guy in the business suit came out with what appeared to be a weeping schoolgirl tramp being dragged by his pudgy hand, well, we just busted out snortles and guffaws. Yes, it was so fucking sad: the dude was smirking, in his mid-forties, kind of tubby, and all kinds of douchie; and she was around (well, I'll say for legal reasons) 18 and not-too-pretty (especially not while crying), but at least not a fat fuck like he was. She was obviously one of those high schoolers who whores around for small cash (for the sole purpose of buying the newest kind of stupid cell phone or flashy whore clothes) who has immediate "seller's remorse" after the quickie deed is done. He looked like he was about to post a self-taken photo of him rear-ending her on his Facebook page with the title of "LOL, now my collection of VD is complete! YOLO! LOL!" My god I want to punch that chubby douche in the kidneys.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Yeah, it's a cool intersection, but it wasn't THE cool intersection we were looking for. Who knew there was more than one? Seriously, we could have done a LOT more prep work for our trip.


Love Hotel and Mehve

I always carry that suitcase, I don't know what Mehve was getting weirded out by.


Love Hotel 2

Once again, nobody batted an eye at me. I could have run out of Love Hotel Diamond screaming, naked, and covered in goat's blood (but they wouldn't have known that it was goat's blood) and all the natives would have pretended that I didn't exist.


Love Hotel menu

I just thought that this price guide outside of the Love Hotel was hilarious! Who the fuck would order a meal and eat it in one of those protein-covered rooms! I bet you nothing gets Clorox-wiped ever.


There wasn't much more to Shibuya that we could find just by wandering the streets, so then Mehve and I talked about where we wanted to go to next. It was still early in the day, so we had plenty of time to get to any place in town that we wanted, but when we both said "Well, I wouldn't mind going back to Akiba..." we knew what we were doing for the rest of the afternoon. So we ran back to the train and rode that line to Akihabara Station like a priest going into the altar boys changing room; we were so excited and didn't care if our actions got us arrested!

I could fucking LIVE in Akiba. That neighborhood is just the most perfect nerd place in the entire universe. You know, even if I can't live there I at least want my ashes scattered there. Right in front of Animate or Mandarake. We hit all the stores we had previously run through on Sunday, and then went farther down some alleys in order to find some hidden figurine or manga store gems that we never noticed before (we found quite a few). I made sure I got a fruity and whipped cream-filled crepe at Crazy Crepe (on the main strip), Mehve tried his hardest to get me to go to a schoolgirl/cat girl/maid cafe (I still resisted... Those poor teenage girls simply looked like they LOATHED their existence of being forced to kiss otaku ass, and this was one gaijin who did not want to add to their misery), and we picked up a few souvenirs for friends (not family, seeing as nobody in my fam would like anything from Akiba, no matter what Cool Old Dude says). Once again I was royally tempted to pick up figure and model collecting (the entire Bakemonogatari collection was like ¥20,000 at one place... Trust me, that was el cheap-o for those 5 beautiful statuettes!), but at the last minute my sanity and wallet spoke up and called me a "goddamn fucking lunatic," and I put everything I had picked up and carried to the register back. I may have made the cashier a little sadder, but I'd rather eat a bunch of great Japanese meals for that kind of cash instead of buying something that would probably never make it back to the States uncracked or out-and-out destroyed after being man-handled by my airline or my own stupidity. Plus I already had enough fanboy crap that I had already purchased... But damn was it hard.

Akiba Cool Old Dude

It was an honor to meet him in fucking person... I even rubbed his head for luck and he said, "Cool!" Goddamn bet your ass it was!


Akiba Cool Old Dude

It was late, we walked around all fucking day with just some rice, raw fish, and lots of beer in our stomachs... I was hungry. Sue me. There weren't that many options for a small snack in Akiba that were "manly." It was Crazy Crepes or nothin'! I swear!


Crazy crepe


We decided that we'd had enough of Akiba by a little after 7PM (not that we were tired of the place, just that we were starving for some real food and really needed to sit down by that point), so we trained it back to Shinagawa to find a ramen shop under the train tracks to eat our dinner at; apparently those small restaurants all lined up underneath the tracks at the Shinagawa Station are famous. Mehve had been dying to try them since we first arrived, but I was kind of reluctant — I mean, they were ramen shops underneath train tracks... A place usually reserved for smelly hobos.

But I was up for an adventure, and so we went. We looked into the front doors of a few of these under-track restaurants, and some looked nicer than others, but ALL of them had what at first glance appeared to be a snack machine near the entrance. Mehve said that this is how one ordered in these places (by putting in your money and pressing the button next to the Japanese text that apparently described which food item one was about to purchase), and once again I just went with it. We chose one of the nicer-looking places, and then spent a few minutes just looking at the machine while Mehve tried to figure out what he wanted. He cautiously and eventually made his choice (after comparing the Japanese text next to the selection buttons and a Japanese dictionary or something), and a small receipt then printed up for him like a ticket out of a skee-ball game. He looked at me and asked how I was going to decide what I was going to eat, and I just plunked in my moneys, closed my eyes, and picked one at random. I figured my odds were as good as Mehve's for receiving a decent meal that night. It then spit out a ticket with a word of Japanese printed on it that I deduced was my order. Apparently the set up isn't all electronic (with your order pushed directly onto some futuristic monitor in the kitchen once you paid). I guess I was just surprised that the machine wasn't a transformer that cooked my ramen for me upon payment. I was disappointed at how low-tech Tokyo was turning out to be.

We then walked down some steps to the restaurant proper, handed over our tickets to the smarmy waitress in the dinky joint, asked for some "Mizu, onegaishimasu," got some seriously suspicious looks from the few Japanese business men in the place, and after joking around and drinking our water for about 10 minutes we were served our steaming noodles. By "served" I mean "had our bowls dropped and sloshed on the counter in front of us by the grumpy waitress." Though it may not have looked like the most appetizing bowl of soup I'd ever ordered, I must admit it was pretty damn good. I apparently got some kind of pork-filled bowl, and Mehve got something with pork, sheets of processed seaweed, and I think a hard-boiled egg. All in all we were both pleasantly surprised by the quality of under-the-train-tracks ramen. But in the end it just wasn't enough for Mehve...

Akiba Cool Old Dude

My bowl of ramen is on top, Mehve's is on the bottom... I think. See, just pushing randomly got me almost the same results!


So after the liquidy meal, we scurried across the street to our hotel, but we had to stop at the McDonald's first. See, Mehve really, really wanted one of those Happy Meal toy trains (but only the bullet train), and so he was willing to humiliate himself in order to attempt to collect one. I first offered to do it for him (with my mad Engrish skillz), but he declined. He said that in order to earn it HE had to be the one to acquire it. So I stepped back and watched him order his train Happy Meal from across the courtyard.

Once he reached the front of the line, 5 minutes of exaggerated hand movements, raised voices, and head shaking then took place, but eventually Mehve came back holding his Happy Meal in his hand in triumph.

"So you got it, huh," I stated more than asked.

"Yes!" Mehve replied. "And it was a victory that I shall relish! While you eat your awful sugary Japanesey snacks tonight, I shall feast on a McDonald's hamburger... Or Chicken McNuggets (I'm not sure what I eventually ended up with honestly), AND I shall look upon my awesome bullet train and play with it while you look on in empty envy!"

Yeah, of course it wasn't the bullet train. If only Mehve took my advice and talked in English with an outrageous and awful Japanese accent, he may have won his battle for the Shinkansen train that very night. But alas... Earwax.

Mick-u Donalds-u, Happy Meal-u!

Was anybody surprised?.... Well, other than Mehve?


After that, I stopped at the convenience store right outside the Prince Hotel to pick up some breakfast snacks, and then we returned to our room and proceeded to pack up our shit, seeing as we were leaving Tokyo the next day. I can't emphasize enough just how perfect that dinky little room was for us. All we ever used it for was for sleeping and showering. If you plan to spend a long period of time in a city like Tokyo, where there's always something to do, and you'll be out late pretty much every night (or even if you return at a decent time, it'll be because you're exhausted), just get the cheapest, smallest hotel room you can find. That's all you'll really ever need.


Oh my god! Ohmygod!! OHMYGAWD!!! I had to immortalize this moment, for THIS is when I first tasted the mana of the GODS! Dual! The chocolate filled and covered crispy snack that will rock your balls and make you gush like a killer whale the first time you taste it! Dual and Ramune both became my obsession from this point on during my trip! You really need to special order a box of this shit from your local Asian market. You could live on nothing but Dual and lead a happy life! Short, maybe, but HAPPY!


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Tokyo & Shinagawa

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Ghibli Museum

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Diet, Shrine, & Fish Market

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