4 January 2010

3rd Day: Ueno with Friends and Ikebukuro Mission

Well for the first few days I didn't get up to much, except stay at the Guesthouse. The main reason for this was the fact that everyone in Japan was still pretty much on their New Years holiday.

It wasn't until Monday came that I actually ended up doing something. One of my friends from Facebook told his girlfriend that I would be coming to Japan and that she should take me out if she has time. I told Yumiko on that Monday that I was in Tokyo through Facebook. She later informed me that she was going out for dinner with her friends and that I should come if I have the time. I responded saying that I wasn't doing anything that day and that I would love to come.

Later on that day I realised that I would not be able to contact Yumiko once I leave the Guesthouse due to my lack of a Japanese mobile or any other internet device. I asked the other guys if they wanted to come but only Jordan was interested. It was good that Jordan wanted to come because at the time I was not too familiar with the train system.

When we got to Hibarigaoka station we were running a bit late. Yumiko had told me to be at Ueno station for 19:30 but the time was already 19:00. While I was in Ikebukuro I decided to purchase a Suica card which is similar to the Oyster card in London but does not give you any discount on the fare. However having this card makes things much quicker whilst travelling.

We eventually arrived at Ueno station at about 19:50. I followed Yumiko's instructions from the email and left the station via the central exit. Just as Jordan and I got through the barriers there was Yumiko smiling whilst saying "DORIAN!!???" and I said "Yea thats me!", that was when she gave me a big hug and breathed a sigh of relief as she said she was worried she would not be able to contact me whilst I was travelling and didn't want me to get lost.

With Yumiko there were about 6 of her friends. We went round to each of them introducing ourselves. They all seemed like nice people from first the impressions. One of her friends had accidental left his keys on the train and so went back to look for them. The rest of us proceeded out to Ueno towards to the restaurant. On the way Yumiko's friend met up with his other friend who he had also invited to the restaurant.

Once we arrived at the restaurant I realised it was going to be Japanese food. Me personally am not a big fan of Japanese food so was a bit worried about what they would order. The restaurant was pretty cool, it was a standard Japanese restaurant where we had to take off our shoes before we sat down at our table. Everyone seemed to just order a lot of food from the menu, Yumiko asked Jordan and I what we would like but we didn't really have a clue what to order.

After about 10 minutes the waiter started to bring the first of the dishes that everyone had ordered. Everyone then began to start sharing the food they had ordered, this was kinda interested because Jordan and I got to try things we may not have normally ordered. The most interesting thing I had on the night was fried Tako (Octopus) which was quite nice but a bit chewy.

We left the restaurant around 11:30, we all walked together to the station before saying goodbye to everyone as we all parted ways. Yumiko, George, Kazuki, Jordan and I were all going towards Ikebukuro which was cool, so we all went together. It was interesting talking to George because he was a foreigner like us and gave a different perspective on what life is like in Japan. He sememed to be interested when I told him about my life in China and some of the challenges I faced whilst being there.

Once we got to Ikebukuro we said bye to Yumiko and the others. I felt it was a good idea that I decided to meet Yumiko for dinner because she and her friends were very friendly and welcoming which is good for someone who is out of their comfort zone.

When Jordan and I were in Ikebukuro I had the urge to go to the club. I asked Jordan if he wanted to go and he said sure why not. There was a specific club in Ikebukuro called Bed that I was looking for. We went all over the place looking for this club, we asked countless police men for help but still we couldn't find it. In the end we were lucky enough to ask one set of police officers who knew what Bed was and could direct us a little better. We finally managed to get there but when we did it was closed! Outside the club was a timetable which happened to be different from the one that was on their website.

We decided to walk back to Ikebukuro station but as we were approaching there were all closing the exits. It seems we were too late to catch the last train back to Hibarigaoka. We had to wait until 05:00am until we could get the next train. We walked the street for a little while trying to find a place we could stay until 5:00am because at the time it was only about 02:00am. We managed to find one bar near Sunshine city where we could play some games like Darts, Table Football, Jenga and Golf. This place was pretty cool however we had to pay a service charge which was 530yen. When they first told us about this cost I could have sworn they said it included 1 free drink. But when it came to pay I saw on the bill that we had be charged for the drinks we ordered. I queried it but they couldn't really understand what I was saying but it seems that we just had to buy at least 1 drink plus that service charge to stay there.

We then made our way back to the station which was finally open again. I was so glad to get home but I wasn't even that tired to be honest. I think it was because I was still on UK time. But overall the night was good and I got meet some nice people as well as find some interesting places in Ikebukuro.

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