Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Weird Tokyo: Part II

Here are a couple more oddities.
  • Shirts and ties - available at the convenience store. I read you can also get them out of vending machines but didn't see one. I snapped this in the shop next to the hotel....which is interesting because one night in pursuit of dinner in the area and having been rejected from a few establishments ('Smoking, smoking - no good' - or they just didn't want us there) we saw a sign that promised teppanyaki and wine. Leading the charge, we mounted the first flight of stairs and I looked through the first floor glass door and saw a couple of blokes puffing away in a very smoky bar. That couldn't be it. 'Keep going!' I encouraged the troops. Another flight and I was confronted by men's business clothes strewn over the bannister and arrived at the next landing to again peek through a glass door but this time to see a man, naked save his red undies and socks, facing a crowd of businessmen and everyone in hysterics. 'Back up kids!! Retreat!!!' At least I now know why they need spare shirts and ties.... I think.

  • Vending machines. I got a hot black coffee in an aluminum bottle. We also discovered a pretty good hot corn soup. They're everywhere and apart from drinks and food, you can apparently also get porn, clothes, potted plants and live rhinoceros beetles which the Japanese like to keep as pets
  • General extremes. In Ginza, one of the main shopping drags, we went into Abercrombie & Fitch which was pumping like a New York night club with shirtless American models to greet you as you stumbled into the dark. I did take some pics of the interior, which was awesome - until I was asked not to

  •  Over the road, we made our way into an upstairs doll shop that was like somewhere in Sassafras - dried roses, doilies, china dolls in vintage dress. The owner was keen to push this postcard into my hand as I made for the door.

  • 'Compensation'. We went on a tour that included a trip to the top of the Tokyo Skytree. The view was meant to look like this....

          ..... but due to fog, 

looked like this.......

         We were approached by our guide, offering us all 'compenstation' for the lack of view. Yes, it's a 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Japanese Toilets

I couldn't go past a post of Japaneses toilets. And I confess, here and now, I want one!

As I said on FB, the best thing about skiing in Japan wasn't the amazing snow, the super friendly people or even the delicious food - it was the heated toilet seats. And pretty much every toilet had them. Can you imagine?? You come in from the cold (I'm always cold - the kids reckon I'm reptilian) and pop yourself down on a nice warm loo - bliss!

There's also an array of pressure-adjustable sprays and squirts to wash your bits and pieces should you feel the need. We even came across one that had a built-in warm air dryer!

An Aussie we met at the snow told us that on her first trip to Japan she was staying with friends. Curious about the buttons next to the toilet, she banged a few, got the fright of her life, couldn't turn it off so leat from the throne only to have the water hit the ceiling!! Explain that to your gracious hosts.

There are two kinds of toilets on offer in most public loos - sit down or squat. I've confessed before that a squat usually leaves me with wee on my foot - which  is fine in a hot climate where you can just swoosh some water over it, but less fine when you're wearing suede apres boots. Even the local wait for the sit down variety. Here's an example.

And finally, the ultimate toilet gadget; a speaker that, at the touch of a button plays loud gushing water sounds to cover up any loud gushing water sounds that you might be making! No chance of getting stage fright here. Have a listen.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Cool Tokyo - Part I

Yes there is some weird stuff in Tokyo but by god they have some amazing cool stuff as well. 

The Prada building in Roppongi Hills was one of my faves. Never mind the bags and clothes - it was the architecture that was taking my breath away. Each window is convexed and the building twists as it rises.

You can either enter through the front door or take this uber cool tunnel straight to the basement so you can work you way up and miss nothing!

The tunnel entrance
Inside the tunnel

The front door

We also went to the Tokyo National Museum and although the exhibits were great, the way they were displayed and some of the other bits around were way cooler!

The laptop 'case'. Love that wooden mouse!

The reading space in the museum

And finally, some very cool leather chairs that my snap just does not do justice to.

More cool stuff in part II.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Weird Tokyo: Part I

Thanks again for your patiences! 

There was so much weird stuff in Tokyo - amazing, curious, fabulous - but weird.

Here are the first lot of highlights:
  • Maiddreamin. Originally developed to cater to the fantasy of Japanese men to have subservient young girls in French maid outfits talking in baby voices and calling them master, these restaurants are now frequented by couples, women and tourists but they're no less odd. The one we went to promised 'magic' which turned out to be us reciting silly dittos in Japanese/English, drawing love-heart shapes in the air and meowing like cats. The real surprise was the fact we did it! Check out Sass's burger and dessert - getting the idea? And the flakes on our noodles 'danced' - this wasn't part of the magic, just paper thin flakes of something - fish? seaweed? - moving with heat and moisture. You pay to get in, pay to have a photo with the maids but you can take pics of your food for free. There are rules I found on the net including not touching the pmaids' bodies and not asking for their personal contact details. Yikes.

  • Cat Cafe. Yep - not content with just maids, we went  to a cat cafe as well. (Thanks Sarah McSweeny for that tip via FB!) The ladies who ran the joint were surprised we only wanted 30 minutes (you pay by time) including a drink. They clearly didn't like us - perhaps they coul recognise non cat lovers. We have a cat at home, Gary, and he's less snarly than these ones. Mind you, if I was shut in a small over heated room being pawed by people all day I'd probably be snarly too. Like the maid restaurant, there are rules - like don't kick the cats. Seriously - I'm not making that up. We had to slip into slippers, talk quietly and not touch any cats with pink or white collars. There were people in there who clearly love nothing more than nestling in on a couch, covering their lap with a supplied blanket and patting cats. Hmmmm.

 All slippered up and ready to.... pat?!

Peak hour at the cat cafe. Lucky we didn't get thrown out for this pose!

  • Cosplay. This is 'costume play' and apparently adopted by kids who are/were bullied at school so it gives them an alter ego. Not often you see peeps in Melbourne get out to a Sunday market dressed like this. The guide book said there are hoards of them on the weekend in Harajuku - there aren't really, but there are a few - and they're very friendly! 

    • In the same area on the same weekend, we saw a group of Japanese rock-a-billies doing their thing with a huge beatbox like I've not seen since the 80s. No picture necessary - it's in your head clear as day!
    • How's this gem we found in electric town: Connect to the Future - a remote control car OR toilet. You decide!

    Don't think I've forgotten Japanese toilets - they deserve a post of their own!

    Monday, 6 January 2014


    Sorry for the long delay between posts but as many of you know I'm actually in Japan. I have written a couple of things but they really, really need to photos and I'm having issues getting them onto - and in some cases, keeping them on there!

    So again, my apologies but rest assured there's plenty of material which I'll post when I'm back next week.

    Many thanks for your patients!

    And happy new year!!!

    MWW x

    The Moroccan Bath

    The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...