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


So Mehve and I got on the already fairly crowded shuttle, and we tried to drag our giant suitcases on behind us, only to find that the aisles were not meant for hide-a-body-sized, 50+ pound rolling boxes filled with clothes, and neither were the purse-sized overhead shelves. The driver facepalmed himself as he thought the situation through and as my face turned beet-red as I bowed to the other (all very old) customers and repeated "Sumimasen. Sumimasen. Sumimasen'" over and over until the wrinkly old driver was able to somehow jam them into the open front seats with the strength of a drunk Hercules! Then we sat down as Wrinkle-Hercules-san tore off down the mountain.

I should have taken video of the trip down the steep mountain in that lurching shuttle-van. I was scared shitless almost the entire way. It felt like we were completely out of control, swerving and weaving around slower mini-cars (which was every other vehicle on the road). I don't think I said much, nor do I remember blinking much the whole long, long ride down. When we came to another screeeeeching halt at the train station (the first stop), Mehve and I raced to get off, and Wrinkle-Hercules-san just tossed our luggage down to us before smiling politely — cursing under his breath, I'm sure — and driving away, burning about a centimeter of rubber while he did it. That's when I realized that I had somehow dropped my awesome gaijin sunglasses in the shuttle, and would now have to spend the rest of my trip blinded by the Japanese sunlight. Honestly, nobody sold sunglasses over there. Not even the millions of 7/11s, Family Marts, or Lawsons. Seriously, Japan, it's a wonder you're not all sun-blind.

We then went into the train station and Mehve walked up to the counter to ask about trading our 6:15PM tickets for an earlier train while I watched our bags (which was completely pointless, since luggage is more likely to be stolen at a stoner Buddhist nudist colony than anywhere in Japan). I noticed that it was about 11:30AM at this point, and the train that we wanted to be on would be leaving soon, but Mehve was still at the main ticketing desk seemingly arguing with the ever-smiling service rep. Finally he turned around and threw his arms up in frustration before marching back to me.

"Damn it!" he said. "They refuse to change our tickets to an earlier time. I even told them I had a sick grandmother as a last resort. No go."

I then offered to try, and Mehve gave up and just said, "Be my guest."

So I went up to the very same lady that my friend had just talked to and said, "Gomen nasai. I have beeg-u probrem. Hai. We need two ehrrier tickets-u to go to Tokyo so we may catch-u Shinkansen [the bullet train] down to Kyoto. Preese herp us. We are sirry gaijin (I chuckled at how silly we were), and we got-u wrong-u tickets. Preese herp?"

The cute woman behind the counter had been nodding along the whole time with me, and when I was done she responded, "We no can change you ticket-u to new (she pointed at the 11:50AM departure time of the train we were trying to catch on the wall next to us) ticket. It, um, not, ummm, poricy. Gomen! Gomen nasai!"

I smiled and nodded, but then I asked, "How much-u money is new ticket-u to Tokyo? Can we buy new ticket-u?" in continued heavily accented English.

"Hai!" she said. "¥3000 (only around $30) for ticket to Tokyo on 11:50 train!" I bought the tickets. Mehve thought I was amaze-balls at first, but then when I explained that I slipped into my patented Rossman Engrish in talking to the lady, he called me a racist. I told him that it was just a trick I learned from the A-Team that one time they found themselves in some Central American hotspot and nobody on the crew knew any Spanish to get past the border guards, and then Murdock asked to give it a try, and in a very Latin-Americany accent spoke basic English to the guy in charge and ended up getting to be buddy-buddy with him. Brilliant! Mehve still thought I was a racist. Fuck it, I got us the tickets.

So we rode back up to Tokyo where we switched over to the Bullet Train that we would take all the way down to Kyoto (the Shinkansen people had no problem with us upping our departure time by a few hours). The Shinkansen was crowded as fuck, and Mehve and I had to stand, but this only lasted for one stop. After that we found ourselves some seats even though we had to store out baggage in the far back of the car we were in. But once again, this was Japan, and we had no fear of our stuff being stolen or being suspicious and getting blown up by the bomb squad.

The Shinkansen was really fucking smooth, and we made lots of videos of just how fast it was on the tracks. But the coolest thing about the journey was that the snack-seller who walks up and down the aisle hawking crap to hungry passengers had mothafuckin' DUAL! I was beginning to think that I had a problem... But I could stop at anytime that I wanted to. I knew it. BACK OFF!

Bullet Train

The videos that I have of the Bullet Train were pretty long, and I didn't have any time to edit them, so here's just a photo of the Shinkansen. Enjoy, and just imagine its speed, like a raging Japanese dildo racing towards a pornstar's tunnel. It's that fast.


Bullet Train meal

I got my Dual, and Mehve ordered this lunch... I have no clue what it was, and after eating it all, all Mehve would say was that the Sapporo was delightful. Then he belched.


We arrived in Kyoto at 3:30 (Japan is so fucking precise!), and quickly realized that the city sucks when it comes to train support. Unlike Tokyo and its 30 lines that go absolutely EVERYWHERE (with around 3-12 lines merging at any given point), Kyoto really kind of stunk. Luckily though, one of the two main tracks let off about 4 blocks away from our new hotel, the Kyoto Brighton.

We got off at our stop, but then got lost trying to find the place. We dragged our giant suitcases behind us as we walked through lots of small back alleys (straight out of any urban-based anime series), passed lots of small shops, a large school, and tons of ordinary homes that just looked perfectly Japanese. After wandering for a while and sweating quite a bit under the surprisingly warm afternoon sun, I was sure that we missed it. I wanted to turn around and see if we had somehow passed it, but Mehve held strong and forced us to keep marching forward, never back! And lo, in the distance we could see the shining, tall edifice appear above the smaller houses and shops around it, and I felt dumb thinking we could have somehow missed this place along the way. It was still odd how it was buried right in the middle of a residential neighborhood like that.

We checked in (they had professional translators on staff in the form of the concierge and their hospitality crew), and got to our room to find that it was quite posh. As we looked around we found that we finally had a free wireless internet connection, but we were tired and sweaty as fuck to care at that moment. That's when we decided that we had to do laundry; we knew that we would have to at some point during the trip, and with nothing major planned for the rest of the day we figured "why the fuck not now?"

Kyoto Brighton Hotel

Behold the Brighton! It really was a very, very nice place to stay... Just out of the way is all.


Brighton Room

See! Check out this mothafuckin' room!... We of course pulled the beds apart before going to sleep that night. We thought that would have been awkward if we had not.

I really dig the cherry blossom carpet. Chic!


Brighton Bathroom

I don't know why I took a picture of the bathroom.... But here you go. Oh, and the heated seat butt-cleaning toilet?.... Awesome. America really needs to catch up.


Sweaty Rossman.

T'was a warm day. I'll give it that.


We marched back to the concierge desk, but before I could open up my bottle of "Awesome Engrish" on the woman sitting across from us, Mehve jumped in first with his "I'm sorry to bother you, but we require to wash our clothes. Does this hotel have a clothes cleaning service?"

"Yes!" she replied in slightly accented English. "We do. It is only ¥300 per shirt, ¥500 per slacks, and ¥100 per pair of socks and other small items."

I did some quick addition of my dirty garments and quickly came up with "Oh HELL no..." but Mehve blocked me again before I could speak (he knows me so well).

"Hmmmmm," Mehve said. "Is there a laundromat anywhere nearby?"

"I'm sorry? I do not understand," the concierge said.

That's when I jumped in miming washing my own clothes, putting too much soap in the washing machine, taking them out, throwing them in a dryer, and watching them go spinning round-and-round. Mehve just watched me for a few seconds before saying, "Ummmm, you know, a laundromat... Uh, oh! A 'coin laundry!'"

That got her. She brightened right up, told us "Yes! Coin-u laundry! Yes! Yes!" and then excitedly wrote down directions on how to get to the closest coin laundry, just a few blocks North of the hotel. And so, we grabbed our shit and started marching.

We were pretty much alone on that side street that we walked for almost the whole time. It was a bit of a walk, and it started to get dark as we made our way past all the windows whose lights slowly started coming on. We passed a few locked doors that had a washer and dryer right behind the glass, but kept moving thinking that they couldn't have been what the Kyoto Brighton woman had meant. And then, after probably a good 15-20 minutes we came upon the beautiful coin-u laundry shop. Service station? Storefront? Whatever. We found it.

It was just a small room lit by fluorescents with a half a dozen washer/dryer machines lining its walls, a change machine on the side, and a soap machine next to that. Nobody in sight. Mehve and I just looked at each other, shrugged, and got to it.

As our shit was washing we decided to head back to the main strip (which we remembered from the walk to the Brighton that day was just a couple of blocks East of where we were) and find a local Kyoto restaurant with hopefully some local Kyoto cuisine. Mehve wanted some delicious tempura, I just wanted food. I was a little reluctant to just walk away from our clothes, but Mehve reminded me that "nobody is going to want to steal shirts, pants, and underwear in [my] giant size." That got me to agree and we headed out.

Mehve Coin-u Laundry

Mehve enjoys doing laundry....


Rossman Coin-u Laundry!

But I fucking LOVE IT!

I don't love bashing my head into very low ceiling fans though, which is why the second time I posed for this shot I did it over to the left a bit.


We got to the main North and South street in Northern Kyoto (Lord knows I can't remember its name), and then walked North to find someplace to eat. We went past a few shitty-looking chain restaurants, but for the life of me we could not find anything local or nice-looking. So after a half an hour of looking we turned around and headed back to the coin laundry to move our clothes over to some dryers in the now totally night-time air.

Oh, as a quick aside, Kyoto is totally a "bicycle city." People ride them everywhere! And by "everywhere" I mean they ride them 3-deep on the sidewalk, in the streets, the wrong way down streets, and they whip around pedestrians like fucking lunatics! We each got clipped twice during our short stay in Kyoto. Crazy, man, cray-cray crazy.

Okay, so we got back to the coin-u laundry, dryerized our shit, then went back to the main strip to try our luck walking South this time. No dice. After heading back to the laundromat again, we found our clothes needed just a bit more time in the tumblers, after which we stepped outside of the coin-u facility, turned to our right, and walked over to the ramen noodle restaurant just one shop over. We had known that the ramen place was there, but we had been in the mood for something more "KYOTO." But at this point we couldn't be choosers.

The tiny wrap-around bar inside had one middle-aged man behind it, and one 9 or 10 year-old boy sitting at it doing his homework. It was obvious that the father/son duo lived in the place behind or above the restaurant, and it had a great homey feel to the place. And (once again) it felt straight out of an anime! Oh man! Cologne and Shampoo's Cat Cafe! That's what it reminded me of! Just much smaller. Awesome.

Anyway, the man behind the bar was very friendly, but knew zilch-o English. Not even my Rossman Engrish helped us that night. It was a little awkward since his menus didn't have the typical English underneath the Japanese names of items, nor did they have pictures for every item like most of the other restaurants we had visited before. That's when Mehve pulled out his restaurant trump card for us. He had learned a sentence in Japanese that said that we "put ourselves in [their] hands," which essentially just told the chef "we'll take whatever you serve us, make it good!" And he did.

That steaming-hot bowl of ramen that I had that night... It was the fucking stuff of legends! I had no idea noodles could taste so heavenly!... Granted, I hadn't eaten anything proper since that slimy and cold traditional Japanese breakfast at 8:30 that day, and we had a couple of very large Sapporo biru's while eating (which could have affected my memory), but still, that dish was absolutely amazing.

Good Ramen.

I don't know how else to describe this simple-looking bowl of ramen other than "Goddamn delicious" and what God's ejaculate must taste like.... Don't look at me like that. You'd agree too if you ate it. I swear... It was so warm and salty and I'll just stop there 'cause I see how that sounds now.


When done (and after many "MMmmmmmm! OISHI!"s from me to the gracious chef), we went back to the coin laundry to get our finally-dried clothes out. There were a few other machines going when we entered again (meaning a few other people had shown up while we were eating), but all our crap was still in our dryers... as Mehve said they would be. In fact, just as we were leaving, an extremely elderly man was coming in the door. I don't remember what I was doing, but I accidentally dropped a ¥100 coin, which rolled directly under one of the machines.

I dropped down to the floor and looked, but couldn't see the coin in the shadow underneath the dryer, and so I said, "Goddamn dick balls!" in mild frustration. The old gentleman looked slightly surprised, held up an index finger to us, nodded his head, then turned around and very slowly shuffled back out the door and around the corner.

"I think he wants us to stay here," said Mehve, not quite sure that that was what the geezer meant.

"Whatever," I said. "It sucks I lost it, but let's just go."

But before we could leave, Mr. Old Man reappeared and slowly walked back in. He held a metal wire hanger in his hand and he gestured to me with it. I took the hanger, got down on my knees again, and began fishing under the machine for my coin-u. It jingle-jangled out into the light and I grabbed it before it rolled away again. Then I bowed awkwardly to Old Man-san, said "Domo! Domo arrigatou-gozaimas-u!" He smiled and waved us off, and Mehve and I then left. I bet Old Man-san loves Akiba too! He was just as cool as Cool Old Dude!

On the way back to the Brighton we found a 7-Eleven (Thank god! A 7-Eleven!!!), and we both stocked up on way too much junk food for both dessert and breakfast the next day. My ultimate find that night? That would be the chocolate-covered ice-cream waffle sandwich. Soooo gooood! We just can't compare our snacks to the Japanese! There IS no comparison.

Anyway, we got sugared up, but found that it didn't hinder our ability to fall fast asleep that night. It was a pretty good "travel day" as far as Mehve and I were concerned.

Choco crunch

While not quite as good as Dual, Choco Crunch was a decent enough snack. It was indeed crunchy.



Aaaaaaaand that's enough with the Godly bodily fluid references for one day. Good night, everybody!


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