I went to Japan on a business trip back in April, and I’m finally posting photos from it!
You can also read the part 1 & 2 by clicking the links below.
Got up early and off to Tsukiji for breakfast again! One note to anyone who plans on going to Tsukiji fish market, the fish market is closed on Wednesdays and many restaurants are closed in the area on Wednesdays. I did not know this… so we had to wander around for a bit to find an open restaurant… but we found one!
Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of this restaurant. I say “unfortunately” because without the name, I can’t warn people who don’t like cigarette smoke where not to go. Their sushi was pretty good BUT they’d let people SMOKE inside their tiny restaurant. A group of people started smoking when we were almost done. I know many restaurants still have smoking seats in Japan, and I don’t actually give smokers a hard time if it’s at a bar or izakaya. But come on, it’s a sushi restaurant. Can you imagine eating fresh sushi while inhaling cigarette smoke? Anyway, if you do mind cigarette smoke in a restaurant, make sure to ask for a non-smoking seating. (But sometimes you may end up sitting right next to the smoking section.) If you’re going to an Izakaya or bar, the chances you’ll find a 100% non-smoking place is close to 0 in Japan.
Then it was time for us to grab dinner with some good people at Sakuraga-oka Tsubaki-dou in Shibuya.
It was such an awesome night!
I went back to the hotel and packed my stuff to move to the next hotel. As I was packing I realized that on this trip I got some awesome clothes at “Store My Ducks,” as seen in my The most awesome Japan trip Day 02.
This morning, we had breakfast at the hotel. They had Japanese and Western buffet.
We checked out Mercure Tokyo Ginza, and checked in at our third hotel, Hotel Grandele Shibuya. This hotel is right in the heart of Shibuya. There are tons of restaurants, bars, stores, department buildings, and all right by Shibuya Station. The staff was very nice, and they are very used to having foreign customers. The only thing that might be a problem with this place is the size of the room, especially if you’re staying in a single room.
I dropped my stuff off and headed to Tokyu Hands, one of my most favorite places in Tokyo.
I ended up buying a really nice suitcase at Tokyu Hands. It’s a hard case but lighter than my cloth one. I took it back to my hotel, and it was already time to meet up with my brother.
I don’t talk to my brother much and we don’t email each other or anything at all. I read his blog and twitter and I probably get to see him a day or two when I go back to Japan, but miraculously we were able to hang out this time.
Every time we have drinks together, my brother gets TRASHED, which is pretty hilarious. We make each other laugh so hard for really silly stuff. My parents think it’s funny how we get along now because when we were little, we used to fight A LOT. Like real fights with punching and kicking and everything. A lot of our fights were caused by video games. Balloon Fight was banned from our house for a while because it would almost always make us fight in the end. Also in Dragon Quest, you had to write down a long password which was just 20 random Japanese characters (Dragon Quest 2 had 52 Japanese characters for a password!), so one of us would read the password out loud and one of us would write it down. HORRIBLE SYSTEM, I KNOW. We’d always end up with a wrong password and we’d blame each other for doing each other’s job wrong.
Anyway, my brother took me to this underground izakaya called “Fujiya Honten” in Shibuya first. It was like the basement of someone’s house’s with a kitchen in the middle of the room. This place was PACKED with people, mostly middle-age to older Japanese business men. It had that “black market underground bar” feeling to it. There’s only a counter and no chairs, so you have to eat and drink standing up. Everything was cooked right in front of us and everything was dirt cheap. (each dish was a couple of dollars) Pretty much everyone was smoking so it’s definitely not for the people who don’t like cigarette smoke.
We were there for about an hour and we moved to another izakaya. It was 2~3 minutes walk from the first izakaya but I don’t remember the name of this place.
We were there until closing time when they kicked us out. It’s so strange that even in a big city like Tokyo, the trains stop running around midnight. If you miss the last train, you have to take a cab home. We still wanted to drink and talk, so we bought more drinks and junk food at a convenience store, and went back to my hotel room.
I can’t really remember what we talked about or how long he stayed or when he left but we had a lot of fun for sure!
I woke up pretty late but without a hangover. It was the day we were leaving Japan. I packed my stuff and went to have a breakfast at the hotel. I ate a LOT of rice that morning.
My American friend once asked me why Japanese breakfast is so salty. I guess the typical Japanese breakfast is on the salty side. Grilled fish is usually just seasoned with salt. Miso soup does have a lot of sodium, and so do pickles. The rice neutralizes it so I never though like that. I remember one time when my American friends were visiting Japan with me, they went out and got muffins while I ate the “salty breakfast.”
We walked to the shuttle bus stop nearby the hotel, got on the bus and arrived at Narita airport.
We went to the gate, and my boss boarded the plane first. I was waiting for my group number to be called when someone tapped my shoulder and said “You wanna run around the airport to catch a plane again?”
I turned around and there they were! The two Filipino guys I met at LAX on the day I left! Not only did we leave for Japan on the same flight on the same day, we were coming back on the same flight on the same day!
We talked for a bit, remembering the craziness we had to go through that day and how fancy the ANA plane was. Coincidences are a strange thing. I only knew them for a total of less than an hour, but I felt like they were my old buddies.
We all boarded after that, and we were on the way to San Francisco and then to San Diego.
We arrived back in San Diego afternoon. I took the rest of the day off and took a nap. It was indeed a super busy trip. Two meetings pretty much every day, but I did eat a lot of delicious food!
Here’s some stuff I got to snag before leaving Japan.
I also got this toy for Derek at Tokyu Hands. It’s a toy shaped like a tiny milk carton with an animal face on it. It’s called Fridgeezoo. (the site is mostly in Japanese)
You put him in the fridge and whenever you open the door he says stuff. It’s supposed to make you aware of wasting energy, but for the first week or so, it was fun to open & close the door to the fridge to make him talk. But it does get very slightly annoying, so now I actually try close the door before he can say the second dialogue… so it does work!
Here’s a video of him talking. Sorry for the poor quality of the video. Shot with my million year-old Powershot.
They sell polar bear ones at ThinkGeek but they only sell English version. Tokyu Hands had both versions but I decided to get the Japanese version. There are many different kinds of animals, like a penguin, walrus, and seal. Makes sense since they live in a cold climate. But later they added farm animals. Weird.
Well I hope you enjoy my lazy blog posts about my crazy busy business trip! I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been working on… !
You can see all the photos from my business trip at the photo set “Business trip to Japan 2012“