It was September of the year 2010. Robert Scott Marshbank Jr. and I traveled from Philadelphia to Tokyo. I took, what appears to be, stream of consciousness notes of each day we spent in Japan. These notes do not account for our entire Japan experience, they're just the strange little things I decided I needed to remember. I had no intention of sharing these. Here are some of those notes:
Sunday, September 19th
At approximately 4:30pm, the woman sleeping next to me coughed on and around my face.
Got to Tokyo station at 5:30pm. Got lost for 15 minutes. Found our way mostly to the hostel but requested the help of a mailman who walked 5 minutes out of his way to show us where it was.
Found ourselves at a restaurant and we aren't even sure what we ordered. We had to take our shoes off to sit at the bench tables. Our feet kept accidentally brushing. It was awful.
Update. Our order was chicken with fish sperm and awesome wasabi and eel roll with whale sperm. Pretty satisfying. Leaving dinner at 8:30pm.
It's 10:44pm and we are trying to figure out what day it is in Philadelphia.
Monday, September 20th
Woke up at 9:50am. We both slept really well despite 10 snoring people. Out of the hostel around 10:30am and walked around just looking for noodles. Found it much harder than anticipated. It started drizzling and we stood under an awning. An older woman walked out and handed Rob an umbrella because she felt bad for him.
11:15am. Found a cool little noodle bar and had to order from a food ticket vending machine. Went with the safe noodles egg and something else. Not sure if we should drink the water or not. Find out soon!
Food was really good. Practiced slurping to fit in. Rob slurped all over both of our clothes.
Got back to hotel around 1:30pm. Tried to get rid of most of my change by buying a water in the vending machine. Had a very hard time because the maid thought it wouldn't be cold. She was very concerned. It turned out to be cold enough.
"There are QR codes on everything!! Jesus lord!" - Rob
Rob tried using the lady next door's trashcan and she yelled at us.
Maguro!! Otoro!! Ikassu!! Jamada!!
Tuesday, September 21th
We make our way from a Jimbocho metro on the Shinjuku line to the Oida line down to Tsukiji Fish market. Walk around fish market for about an hour and a half taking pictures. People are riding bikes and scooters through groups of people and it is dangerous.
We find a sushi restaurant and order the best nigiri we will ever have in our lives. The Maguro Otoro (fatty tuna) was out of this fucking world.
Went to the Panasonic Building. Pretty much just a glorified Panasonic Ikea. We found a room upstairs that looked like something out of Scarface. It was a model "best room ever". Scotch, guitar, comfy couch, Celine Dion on the huge tv. Pretty much the perfect scenario.
Rob then had a bidet incident.
4:00pm finally got checked in. Capsule Hotels!! Showered in open showers with a hot bath. Luckily I was alone. Rob saw a wise man's penis.
We got to the Tokyo dome and bought tickets for the game. Section C. 2300 yen. Smaller inside than I thought. Pretty cool. Rob and I got hot dogs with relish. I remembered that I haven't eaten since 7:00am and it was now 7:00pm. We were falling asleep so we left at the 7th inning.
"Dude you're taking all my shits!" - Rob
"I don't give a shit!" - Me
Wednesday, September 22nd
Subway was so packed we had to wait for like 4 trains because of all the luggage. People were literally packed. Literally. When the doors open the people explode out.
It's 90 degrees out and we are sweating. We seem to be the only people in Japan affected by heat. My feet hurt. Roppongi Hills is interesting, cool architecture, not much for us there though.
Hang out in lobby. Check in. Sweet room. How do lights work. Hot water thing. So happy.
Showered, drank beer and energy jelly.
Started talking to an Argentinian kid who said he was going to try and help us get yakitori before trying to score himself coke. We ran away and went to Mcdonalds and ate it in a random parking lot on the way to the hotel. Got back at 4:00am and passed out.
Thursday, September 23rd
Woke up at 10:45am. Rob is totally eating something in his dream so I let him enjoy it for a little while. After 10 minutes he's still going at it so I say, "Rob!" to wake him up. He wakes up and I quickly ask, "what were you just dreaming about?" He responds, "standing at a vending machine buying snacks"
Went out to Lawson's for breakfast and umbrellas. Rob got fried cheese chicken nugs, and a strawberry yogurt drink. I got a hot taco bun and a mint milky drink. We're not very good at this.
Someone took Rob's umbrella outside of the Supreme store and he took someone elses.
On our walk back at around 5:00pm, we took a random side road to a dead end. We were standing there in the rain looking like idiots when we suddenly hear "sup?". A dude that worked at the restaurant we didn't know we were standing in front of opened the door. He sounded American and it caught us by surprise. It was actually pretty hilarious. Turns out he doesn't even speak English that well just that one word. We couldn't read the menu but he recommended the tuna so we got the tuna. It was like a French place or something called blue something. They were playing Ratatouille on the TVs. We were brought creepy yellow soup. The food turned out to be tuna carpaccio over rice. It was good, not great. Then we got strawberry fluff cake jelly for dessert. Also good, not great.
6:30pm we are back at the hotel. We need to do laundry. The machine is on the fourth floor, we are on the third, and we can't use the stairs. Rob does his laundry. I go up to do mine and when I get to the machine I realized I forgot money. I get back to the elevator and accidentally go to floor 1 instead of 3. Of course there are people standing there and I confuse them. I go back up to 3 and get money. Then go back up to 4 and realize that it only takes 100 yen coins and not my 50s. I go back to the elevator and AGAIN screw up and go to floor 1. And again there are people standing there confused. I politely explain that I am an idiot. I go back to the room and get a coin and was successful in starting the washer and getting back to the floor in one try.
We are now just hanging out resting and waiting for laundry. Giggling and laughing about silly things.
We left and walked around for a while in the rain and were depressed. And we had to be out until 5:00am when the trains start again. It was now 1:00am We thought all hope was lost. After walking around seedy side streets we found a pretty cool looking place. At this point we just wanted to hang until we could get back on the subway. We walk into the bar and it seems like it is a little bar for friends and locals. We go to the back of the bar and right away we start up conversations. We met some awesome people and played some music from our iPhones to the whole place. They put stickers on our phones: mine said "love junkie" in Kanji and Rob's said "friendly". The one dude went out and bought us some Delicious Sticks. We drank 2 Suntory Whiskeys and 1 Wild Turkey each.
At around 4:30 everyone got up and the 2 guys took us to get noodles. I lost my umbrella so the guy handed me someone elses. It was an underground place where you order from a machine and then sit in little personal "cubicles". There is no talking but we couldn't help it at one point because we were drunk ad laughing and the noodles were the best I've ever had in my life. (explain process in more detail)
We left the noodle bar and walked to the train and said our goodbyes. It was now 5:15 am. All in all, really cool night for what we thought would turn out horribly.
Friday, September 24th 2010
After Freshness Burger we went to a Lawson's and Rob got a Collagen White which tasted like liquid jello. Because of the package we think it may be for women. I went with the safe green tea drink. We then took the train back to Shinbashi at around 7:00pm.
We then walked down Roppongi Dori to Club 328. This place was one of the coolest yet. Not many people, all Japanese and everyone was so nice they played the best music and had the best speaker system. We used our drink ticket (cover was 1000 yen) and got Johnnie Walker Blacks. The group of people next to us left the bar and gave us the rest of their wine for no reason. We were then brought a Japanese bar tapas of cucumber salad with some other stuff on it. I dont even like cucumber but this was insane.
Rob got dragged around by a drunk girl to like 3 different clubs, one in which he was forced to dance flamenco. Rob stole an umbrella and subwayed back home at 5am. I got mochi and dropped one. Rob got a blue ice pop and didn't drop it. (explain this night more?)
Wednesday, September 25th
We woke up around 12:30pm and went to Shibuya, since we havent been there during the day yet. It looked SO different than what we remembered from the other night. And it was a beautiful day. We walked all around, checking everything out. We also wanted to find the bar that we met the people in the other night. We eventually found it but it took forever and had to go through the entire love hotel section to get there.
Note: we've been seeing a lot of girls with eye patches on one eye.. what's this?
Whale for breakfast. (describe more)
We ran into the Argentinian kid again. How did we manage to see the same person again in a city as huge as Tokyo?
We ordered Wild Turkeys on the rocks and the bartender gave us about 4 shots in each glass. We were incredibly worried that this would put us over the top. It did.
We drank 2 more Johnnie Walker Blacks each, tore up the dance floor all night and saw some awesome live Japanese rap groups. We were the only non-Japanese people there. We left the club at 5:00am and walked to the subway. I don't know how the hell we found our way around. We slept on the subways, and only got off on one wrong stop. We got back to the hotel at 5:45 am. And OH YEAH WE HAVE TO CHECK OUT AT 10AM.
Thursday, September 26th
Woke up to a phone call at 11:15am. Oh yeah, we are supposed to check out at 10:00am. I am face down on the bed with all of my clothes on, including my shoes and everything in my pockets. Rob picked up the phone an mumbled some sort of apology. Told him we would be down in 30 minutes. We packed up everything as quickly as we could in our condition. Rob is dead, I feel kind of ok. We leave the hotel and they give us a bill for 37 yen (45 cents). Rob is not functioning so he hands the receptionist a 10000 yen bill (that's like paying for a stick of gum with a $100 bill). I cover for him and give her 40 yen. We walk about halfway to the train and Rob takes his bag off and sits at a corner with a cry of defeat "I just have to sit down for a while"
We navigate through the subway to Shinjuku and arrive at the next hotel Nishi Shinjuku, at around 1pm. They let us check in early! We get up to the room and it is nice but considerably smaller than Shinbashi. It's fucking small. The bathroom is nice though. Rob's happy there's a bidet. We sleep till 6:45pm.
Creepy 7-11 tap dancing man in white dress staring at us.
I need internet drugs.
Probably the most uneventful day in Tokyo yet.
Monday, September 27th
Woke up at 10am, walked around Shinjuku, still raining. We haven't had a chance to enjoy a dry Shinjuku yet. We went to a few department stores and electronic stores. Walked around some more. Tried to play pachinko but noone could explain to us how to play so we just lost 3000 yen each.
Went back to the hotel and rested for a bit. At around 5:00pm we both walked to Antiknock where Rob would attend a punk show. I left and went back to the hotel. Rob ended up getting into the show for free and getting drinks for free and making friends with everyone. After the show, Rob went out with a kid from one of the bands and got a few drinks and ate raw horse and yakitori sashimi and sushi and edemame.
We got back to the hotel at 1:30am and made up band names until we both passed out with the lights on and our clothes on.
From this point on, my notes take a sharp decline in quantity, quality, and comprehension.
Tuesday, September 28th
Woke up at 10:30am. Went to a laundromat and they had awesome Internet and it felt glorious. We facetimed with Aaron Grando in Philly. It was 11:45am here and 11:00pm there.
It's 1:50pm and I'm typing this now in real time. Hello.
Went to punk show. Got lost and some kid walked with us to help us find it. Walked around for about 45 minutes trying to find the place and it turned out to be right next to where we got out of the subway.
We went back home?
Wednesday, September 29th
Got up and went to Nikko.
(explain Nikko experience)
Thursday, September 30th
Rob's bday! Woke up in Nikko.
Train back from Nikko.
Go out. (explain night more)
"I am walking with a silly demeanor." - Rob
Friday, October 1st
Woke up at 2pm
French restaurant or something
"Wanna eat parfaits and go shopping?"
Then I guess we went to the airport and flew back home.