Japan, May 2014: Day Two

Despite not sleeping for 30+hrs, our body clocks decided that 3hrs was plenty of time to recharge and that we should definitely get up to see a Tokyo sunrise.

After wandering around our (surprisingly active for 4:30am) neighbourhood, we noted a few things. Firstly, the Japanese know how to party. It’s Wednesday morning, after a school night no less, and many are stumbling out of bars and restaurants as we’re getting up. These guys and girls will probably be in work for 7:00. Secondly, McDonalds is a great place to sleep if you are one of those who partied too hard, too early. At 5:00am there were at least 4 people asleep in the 24hr McDs. One of whom was a woman in her 20s – never gonna happen in the UK. I don’t know why I bothered booking hotels?!

After a quick breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to grab a couple more hours sleep before heading out again… A couple of hours turned into 6-7 and we then had to rush across town to Tokyo Station before the ticket office closed. I forgot to get our Japan Rail (JR) Pass at the airport, so this was a necessary chore we had to complete. Passes in hand, we explored the local area and found a roof terrace above the Post Office, opposite the station. Because Tokyo Station is a brick building, it’s more susceptible to earthquake damage and a complete foundation replacement has just been completed. It’s an amazingly fascinating and nerdy engineering project, so I won’t go into details now.

We had a dinner date, so jumped back on the train (now free with our JR Pass, #smug) and traveled back across the city to Shinjuku. Our restaurant was located in the seedier part of town – mainly catering for the salarymen. Apparently westerners are banned from most of the ‘gentleman’s clubs’. We’d booked in for some (what we anticipated was) more family orientated entertainment.

The Robot Restaurant is famous worldwide and boasted several A-list celebrity guests on their wall as we queued to get in. With the meal (Bento Box) you have stage side seats to a weird mix of Cabaret vs Robot Wars. After being serenaded in the top floor bar by scantily clad, yet classically trained musicians, we headed down to the basement for the start of the show. Barely dressed ladies pole danced, drummed and sang their way through an hour of the most amazingly beautiful and bizarrely chaotic stage show whilst we watched on in awe and munched our way through a delicious bento.

If Daft Punk and Peter Stringfellow ever wrote a musical, this would be the result. However, everyone seemed to enjoy it and we left the building in a state of somewhat disbelief. Requiring a coffee and somewhere quiet to regain our sanity, we headed to a nearby café.

Maidreamin’ may not be everyone’s first choice when you want to chill out, but after what we’d just witnessed, having someone draw a cat face on your pancakes and singing to your coffee seemed perfectly normal. Maidreamin’ is a ‘Maid’ café, where the girls dress as French maids and serve (presumably single guys) with all the energy and enthusiasm of an ADHD suffering child on amphetamines. The staff sing, dance and generally do everything to make your meal uncomfortably cute. We loved it.

Suitably refreshed, we headed to Don Quijote. This was a shop we’d wanted to visit ever since we learned of it’s existence. Four floors of what can only be described as eBay. All the bizarre things you never knew you wanted. I don’t know where to begin; cosmetics, cosplay, technology… It’s an Aladdin’s cave of designer/bargain basement awesomeness. The only thing worse than the goods for sale was the company song playing throughout your visit. Hilarious.

Back on the train and back to our ‘hood. We finished with a Wagu Beef Burger from ‘Freshness Burger’, whilst contemplating the day’s events on their terrace opposite our hotel. Nothing will ever compare to the complete randomness we’ve experienced today. Or will it?