The best Hello Kitty product in the world…

For lack of things to do at Heneda airport here in Tokyo I decided to walk around the "most expensive mini mall in the entire world, ever" and I still can't stop thinking about this gargantuan Hello Kitty dried squid. I don't think I've wanted anything as much as this in a long time. I can't think of one person I know who has one of these. How cool would I be, walking round town with my big fishy sealed...Read More

How expensive is Japan really, and is it worth a visit?

"No one is coming to Nikko after earthquake," Yoshiko told us sadly last night as we paid the bill for four nights at the Nikko Cottage Fu Sha. This bill came to almost $600 between us. The Sakura Fleur hotel in Tokyo came to roughly the same each for three nights. So how expensive is Japan? Well, for a week in Tokyo and Nikko I spent $550 on flights from and to Bali and $600 on accommodation, and I'm estimating...Read More

Kimono time! Where to stay and things to see in Nikko…

Of all the things I've done whilst traveling, waking up, putting on a kimono and enjoying a cup of green tea like a Japanese princess is high on the list of YAY moments! We've been staying in the cute Nikko Cottage Fu-Sha here in Nikko, just a day-trip's distance from Tokyo. Our host Yoshiko has been treating us like royalty. Not only has she given us kimonos and authentic futon beds to sleep in, in this extension of her house,...Read More

Manga, Maid Cafes and other mad things in Tokyo……

"Would you like to come upstairs? I make special food for you!" said the 18 year old Japanese girl standing on the street, wearing more frills than Little Bo Peep on prom night. She's one of Tokyo's "maids," - one of a group of overly made-up girls in costume, employed to lure people into their special cafes in Akihabara, where they do nice things for them... "No thanks," we said, more than a little concerned by both her eerily cheerful...Read More

Octopus-to-go and other weird food in Japan…

I quite like this bloke on the front of some sort of candy wrapper here in Tokyo's 7/11. Whoever decided on him as a mascot for this snack somehow also decided that a look saying "Wait! Eat this and suffer intolerable constipation!" was the perfect way to advertise this product. I'd have done the same thing, actually, which probably goes to show why I didn't last too long in advertising. I love that you can get anything in 7/11 here....Read More

Weird stuff in Tokyo (and the death of Snoopy…)

The best views in Tokyo are allegedly from the 45th floor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. I took this shot from up there this morning, as a volunteer guide helpfully explained what we were looking at as we took in the panoramic views. Apparently 10% of Japan's 13 million population lives in Tokyo, which actually isn't too hard to believe when you look down on this concrete clusterfuck from above. However, walking around today I bashed into less people and...Read More

First lesson on how expensive Tokyo is…

No sooner had we arrived and looked lost in Shibuya metro station at midnight last night, than a Tokyo local had whipped out his phone and personally escorted us to our hotel, the gorgeous but somewhat hard to locate Sakura Fleur Aoyama. Now that's hospitality. I got to sleep late thanks to mucking around modeling cool sleep gowns and slippers, marveling at the speedy WIFI and a bed with no bedbugs in it, and of course, exploring the functions on...Read More

Musings from Tokyo Airport…

Ah Tokyo. I had such high hopes of visiting you. I pictured myself watching this: But instead, I've found myself watching this for the past six hours: I'm sure I'll visit Tokyo again someday and actually make it out of the airport, but today has been relatively uninspiring. My phone is of course still buggered, so I can't take any photos myself, but here are a few things I've noticed about Japan, just from wandering around Narita Airport: 1. The...Read More

Who wants a mouse that sings like a bird?

What ever happened to a nice partridge in a pear tree? Or a few French Hens? Those are always nice at this time of year. Get Japan involved however and that partridge will be oinking like a pig as the pear grows wings and flies off into the blue (or miserable fucking intolerable AWFUL Christmas-ruining snow WHITE, if you're in the UK). I'm really worried about what they're doing to mice over there at the moment. Have you heard about...Read More