My mom’s adopted brother Toshiyuki lived in Tokyo with his family, and invited me to come stay with them for a weekend.  His son Ken knew a fair amount of English, so he turned out to be great company.  We had a bout of confusion when I said I needed water, pronouncing it “wadderr” like an American.  Ken kept saying he didn’t understand, and finally he said “Ohhh, you want WOTTA?”, pronouncing it the British way.

A Weekend in Tokyo from  Photos by Toshiyuki Murakami

A Weekend in Tokyo from  Photos by Toshiyuki MurakamiToshiyuki was an avid photographer, and I credit all these beautiful photos to him.  Some of the photos show me surrounded by people, but the weird part is I didn’t register the crowds while I was there.  It never seemed overwhelming to me, not like New York City – maybe because I could see over everyone’s heads.A Weekend in Tokyo from  Photos by Toshiyuki Murakami

We saw all the famous Tokyo sights such as the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Caesar’s Casino (all recreations of the real ones, of course).  We went on a riverboat tour, went shopping at Ginza, gazed at the famous poop-shaped statue.  And I of course stopped to laugh at every store window where the mannicans sported shirts with bad English.

A Weekend in Tokyo from  Photos by Toshiyuki Murakami
Gazing at the Eiffel Tower
A Weekend in Tokyo from  Photos by Toshiyuki Murakami
Eating a waffle filled with ice cream. There was ice cream everywhere you looked, in every possible format.
A Weekend in Tokyo from  Photos by Toshiyuki Murakami
Glass floor at the viewing room in the Eiffel Tower

Ken and I bonded over 10-year-old music like Nirvana and Backstreet Boys, whose CD’s were just being released in Japan.  We made a point of stopping at as many purikura machines as we possibly could.  These were photo booths where you could place yourself on different backgrounds, write on the photo, give yourself huge eyes, etc.  I say “were” because I’m not sure if they exist anymore, given that now anyone can edit their photos on their cell phones.  At the time the malls were plagued with these machines, and high school kids would line up for them in their cute school uniforms, giggling.

Japanese Food

If this was a normal blog, I would bore you to death with an excruciatingly detailed account of all the food I tried in Japan.  Fortunately for you, this trip occurred in the days before amateur food photography became a thing.  I do remember a couple observations.

  • Things that are labeled “vegetarian” are A Weekend in Tokyo from  Photos by Toshiyuki Murakaminot always vegetarian. I ordered a tofu salad and it came out covered in fish eyeballs.
  • All good foods originate in Japan and then slowly move on to the US. For example: seaweed salad and green tea frappuccinos.  I am still waiting for the McDonald’s pankekis (mini pancakes with jelly) to arrive here.  And why the heck don’t we have ramen restaurants yet?
  • My mom told me that live sea urchin is a rare delicacy, and if someone offered it to me, I had to eat it or risk heinously insulting the cook. Thankfully, I never had that issue.

Next up: Sapporo ->

3 thoughts on “Tokyo

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