I’m off on an adventure to Japan late September, not sure for how long. I’m starting off in Osaka then at Christmas heading up to Tokyo. Obviously i’m taking the pink vivalo, and I want to incorporate as much cycling as possible, hopefully meet a few peeps who are suffering with the same cycling obsession.
I know there are various links with info about japan peppered throughout, but if anyone with some golden knowledge could just include it here, l promise i’ll be ya best friend
My main tip is to show them you feel just as shy speaking Japanese as they do English, but youre still willing to try. This will encourage them to speak English more than speaking English to them will.
“watashiwa Nihhongo Gambarimas” (I will try my best in Japanese) is a good sentence to learn. The most common response I got to that was “oooo! your Japanese is very good!” (in English).
Tamade (yakuza owned supermarkets) are awesome. So many good snacks and they are open 24/7. Thats Kansai only though I think.
Dont expect to get sushi, udon and teriyaki chicken at the same place! it wont happen unless the place is shit. Osaka is the food capital and they have really delicious Yaki soba! Izakayes are the bomb. Its pretty hard to figure out exactly what restaurant is but youll be surprised how many have those red lanterns out the front. It will help a lot if you can study those and have a look to see what they each sell.
Steer clear of Keijin bars. Look under/above ground for bars.
There is lots more but you will have to learn that yourself. I will post a map with a few bars that I became a regular at in Osaka when I get a chance.
I’ve only been to Tokyo but I fucking loved it and will go back for sure. I was there for 2009 CMWC so having hundreds of fellow riders to cross paths with definitely helped but even without that it was an awesome city to ride around and to eat in and explore in general.
I don’t have heaps to add other than:
Take your Vivalo, ride the fuck out out it and if you get unwrucky and it gets damaged, trade it in and bring a new one home. (I rode a Hillman over there which I traded in for a Vivalo which I instantly sold on return because I hated the colour which I can only describe as “fridge”)
Stay in the “Hotel NUTS” (New Urban Time and Space) in Shinjuku because, well because its called the Hotel NUTS! It was also a very nice and well priced hotel, I just wouldn’t spoon head to toe with McKenny like I did…
have wandering alone time.
drink hot apple juice from a vending machine.
fall in love with a boy in yokohama.
be surprised at how easy public transport is.
be nervous about talking to people.
feel awkward when everyone on the train stares at you.
take the bullet train past mt fuji, and feel all zen.
fall in love with old bonsais.
look at temples and pretend you understand.
go to akihabara and be scared of nerds.
go to harajuku/shibuya and wish you had the balls to dress so crazy.
dont go to downtown city centre. its a bit boring.
get upset when you have to go back to reality.
Also a tip for Tokyo when in Shibuya… One of the best views of Shibuya crossing is from starbucks. Order a shit coffee and take a seat late in the afternoon and watch as thousands of people cross the iconic intersection.
Get stuck in to karaoke, most places have an all you can sing + drink limit. Bust out some rockstar moves, but don’t think there will be an audience, it all happens in your own rooms.
Do visit Kyoto, and take the time to venture out to the Arashiyama bamboo forrest. Magical place!
JERRY: You spent the night at James’s? Did we?
ELAINE: Yeah but we reversed positions so there was no funny business.
JERRY: Reversed positions?
ELAINE: Yeah, you know, head to toe.
JERRY: So what your genitals are still lined up.
ELAINE: No, because I slept with my back to him.
[long pause - no comment from the guys]