21 December 2011

Back to Tokyo prt 3 and preparing for Thailand!

Officially all of the NT (Native Teachers) and JT (Japanese Teachers) at PKC were given time off as company holiday from the 22nd December. But for the NT's we officially stop teaching from the 16th December. So for most NT's the days leading up to the 22nd were either Office Days or Team Meetings. But because I had a couple of days off between those days I thought maybe use some of my 5 paid days off to allow myself to have an extended holiday during Christmas/New Year. I also felt like going to Tokyo once more before I left for Thailand on the 22nd.

So once it had been okayed by my manager and I was able to get some of my work colleagues to cover me I was off from the 14th December - 4th January. I decided to go to Tokyo from the 14th - 20th December. Then I would be in Thailand from the 22nd - 4th January and go back to work on the 5th January!

Due to the time of year and my late booking the cheapest hotel I could find close to the city was in Itabashi about 4 minutes away from Ikebukuro Station. I actually walked to Ikebukuro from the hotel which is right near Itabashi Station in about 25 minutes which was pretty good.

Because I was luckily enough to arrive in Tokyo on Wednesday I could go to the event Ram Jam Dancehall at Club Bed in Ikebukuro. I had wanted to go to this event for a long time after having seen videos of the event on YouTube. It was also from videos of this event that I first discovered many of the dancers that I know today such as I-Van, Helty Baddy Girls, Corn Bread and Sizzka. Also this Thursday the event had a special guest named Nari in Kingston who I had known from Facebook but like many others I know he was someone who I had not actually met in person before. I also told Kaori about this event and she wanted to come too which was nice. I had asked Corn Bread aka Jaken before I got to Tokyo if I could get a discount to get in to the event and he said no problem. So luckily when we got there I only had to pay ¥500 which included 1 drink. But it was free for ladies so Kaori didn't have to pay anything which was good.

The night started off a bit slow like most Reggae/Dancehall events do. But it was nice to see everyone again and also meet/speak to some people who I haven't met in person before. But I think Kaori was a little tired from work that day so she ended up kinda sleeping in the corner whilst I was still dancing around. But she said she had a nice time.

One the Saturday I met up with Kaori again and we went to see the Taiko Drummers named Kodo who were celebrating their 30th Anniversary at the Aoyama Theatre. This was the first time that either Kaori or I had seen something like this. I had found out that Kodo were performing via the Time Out Tokyo website and thought it might be something interesting for the two of us to do. The show was really interesting and the music was very nice. Some of the pieces Kaori and I felt reminded us of the movie Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke) which we both agreed was one of our favourite movies. After the performance had finished we decided to get something to eat at a restaurant in an underground complex near the theatre.

After we had finished we decided to go to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I had read online that the cinema in Roppongi Hills was one of the better ones and thats were we decided to go to see the movie. Again this would be the first time for me to visit the Roppongi area. It was quite busy at Roppongi Hills mainly due to it being a Saturday. It was quite nice in the evening due to all the Christmas lights that they hand on display. We managed to finally get to the cinema but all the good seats had already been purchased but we had walked all this way from Aoyama and thought we might as well just get the ticket. The only other option was watching maybe Real Steel and at the time we both weren't too interested in that movie.

Fortunately we had some time to kill before the movie started so we were able to walk around the Roppongi Hills area. Like I said before there were a lot of people there taking pictures of the various lights and sculptures in the area. As we walked around we stumbled upon a dog grooming parlour which had big windows so you could look in side as the dogs were groomed which I thought was quite amusing. It was soon time for the movie to start so we headed back to the cinema. However once we actually got inside the screen we realised that the seats we chose were not so great because we were pretty close to the screen! But we made the most of it and tried to enjoy the movie but at some point we both fell asleep. I just remember seeing Tom Cruise in Russia then I closed my eyes for a second and then he and the team were in India! I was thinking wow what the hell happened here?! But from what I remembered the movie was pretty interesting/entertaining.

Once the movie had finished we walked around the Roppongi area and due to the time there were a lot of people out. Also Roppongi is an area known for foreigners so I could see many of them here as well as all the promoters trying to entice people to enter their club. I also saw the infamous Gas Panic which my friends had liked to go to the first time I came to Japan but to be honest those places are not for me mainly because I don't drink. After that we both saw each other off at the Station.

One my last morning in Tokyo Kaori and I went to Ueno Zoo. But before we actually went to the Zoo we walked around the Market are near Ueno Station. Kaori wanted to eat sushi but I'm not a big fan of sushi to be honest. After we were finished there we went to the Zoo. The day was quite nice so all the animals were out but some more more active than others. The Gorillas were quite amusing to watching especially the young one. But its quite interesting now that I've gotten a little older I see Zoo's more of animal prisons than anything else. But unfortunately we didn't get to see all of the Zoo because Kaori had to do something and I had to catch my flight back to Kumamoto.

Due to me being in Tokyo a little longer this trip I was able to do some more things. I can honestly say I had a good time seeing my dancer friends again and I really enjoyed spending time with Kaori again. In the next post I will be talking about my trip to Thailand!!!

25 November 2011

Back to Tokyo prt 2!

This time I decided to stay in an area that was closer to the city as opposed to Kamata. Using Booking.com and managed to find a decent hotel called Hotel Horidome Villa which was near Ningyocho Station. From this station it took about maybe less than 5 minutes to get to Akihabara Station. The first night there I went on a mission looking for the R4 Revolution cartridge which can be used in the Nintendo DS. I never did find it though but I did manage to find a Burger King which was the first one I had ever seen in Japan.

Whilst I was in Akihabara I managed to stumble across a Brazillian Grill/Bar named Tucano's which served pretty nice food at a decent price. The next day I met up with Kaori again because we decided to go to Tokyo Disney Sea since it was another place I had never been to before. Kaori told me that the last time she went to Disney Sea with her cousin she was fortunate to get an extra ticket for free due to a mistake made by the cashier at the convenience store. Also during this month there was a special promotion being offered that allowed anyone who bought their ticket from FamilyMart to receive around ¥1,000 discount on the usual ticket price.

I remember when we got off the train and the Tokyo DisneyLand station we went to the convenience store there and it was practically empty! You would think they would have more than just one in the area when I have seen up to 3 of the same convenience store no more than 100 meters from each other. We were lucky because the day was quite nice with clear blue skies although it wasn't so hot. We were also lucky due to it being a Monday there weren't that many people there however Kaori said the last time she came on a weekday there was hardly anyone in the park but I didn't mind.

The first ride we went on or rather I should say the first ride we waited to go on was Journey to the Center of the Earth. I don't know how long we waited but it must have been well over 2 hours because it felt like forever and a day. There were also a few moments where we thought the queue was about to end then we went around the corner and there was an even longer queue. But through out the day we also rode the Indian Jones ride and ate at the curry restaurant located in the Arabian Nights area where they had the Aladdin themed shops and rides. However due to work commitments Kaori had to leave early so I was left in the park alone. But just as she left the evening parade started and it was a pity that Kaori wasnt there because earlier in the day she said that she had wanted to see it.

Because the parade had now started there were a lot of people crowded around the parks main lake to watch the show. I thought this was a good time to try and get one some more rides whilst everyone else is occupied. Although I had this idea it seemed that others had the same idea which I found out once I got to the Haunted Mansion ride. I have to say that ride was quite surprising and made me smile a lot it also made me wish that Kaori was still with me because I know she would have liked it too. I was also able to ride the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea Ride but for me that ride was a bit too kiddy for me and I could have done without riding it.

The next day I told Kaori to meet me at Ebisu Station because I wanted to go the Jamaican Restaurant named Aalwai and thought she might want to try their food too. I had tried to go to Aalwai on Sunday but for some reason it was closed but on their door they had a calendar and luckily they were open this day. It was funny because each time I had tried to come to this restaurant it was always closed. But I have to say their food was pretty damn good and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to have some Jamaican food in Japan. Although I would say that their Jerk Chicken was better than their Jerk Pork.

Well this was a short trip to Tokyo this time but once again I had a nice time here and it was of course nice to spend some time face to face with Kaori as opposed to just Skype or just messages via Viber.