Friday, February 8, 2008

Travel Day to Tokyo, Japan

Yep, finally got to ride the famous Shinkansen today, also known as the Japanese Bullet Train. Pretty damn awesome. The trip of 340 miles or so flew by. These trains travel between 167 and 186 miles per hour, so it didn't take too long.

Chie (pronounced Chee-uh), our cute little interpreter, told me to sit on the left side of the train in order to get a great view of Mt. Fuji when we went past it. Here are a couple of shots I got:
Here's a couple of our LBM (large, black men). That's Ray at the window and Mark in the aisle seat.And let's not forget about Drew, who was sitting a row back:A few of us had lunch on the train. I was dying to try a Bento box and I was not disappointed. Mine was some very tasty rice and lots of sashimi. I couldn't believe how good it was and it was less than 10 bucks.

Once we reached our hotel, The ANA Intercontinental, I made plans with Spragoo and Drew to meet in the lobby to go out for a bit. I think Spragoo said this was his 28th trip to Japan, so I have no problem at all with him being my tour guide.

Our lovely hotel:We walked about 10 minutes to the Roppongi District, which is slam full of bars, clubs, restaurants, and the like. We did a little bar-hopping, hitting about 4 places in quick succession, finishing up at Gaspanic, a cool, rockin' bar just off the main drag. The bartenders and the DJ in there were cool. After they asked us what we were doing in Tokyo and we told them, the DJ played 5-6 Rage songs for our head-banging pleasure.

They take their drinking pretty seriously here at Gaspanic – here are shots of a few of the signs posted in the second floor bar area:

You may need to click on them to enlarge them enough to read them.

By the time we'd had a few rounds there, Spragoo had decided to have room service back at the hotel and I already had plans to go eat sushi with Ray, so we went back to the hotel by about 7. Good thing, cuz I was working on a serious buzz.

Met Ray, Mark, and Drew, three of our LBM (large black men), down in the lobby to head out for dinner around 7:30 or so, by which time I'd lost the buzz.

We walked around Roppongi for 20-30 minutes trying to figure out where to eat. Three of us wanted sushi, but one guy said he didn't eat bait, so he went elsewhere and brought his beef & noodle bowl with him when he joined us. Which of course didn't go over well with the sushi chef, who allowed him to eat it only if he choked it down. I'm surprised he didn't just make him leave, but the other three of us had just ordered a truckload of sushi and I'm sure he also didn't want us to leave, too.

The fish was fresh and terrific, and not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be here in Tokyo. Our tab came to about $185 total.

After dinner, we swung back by Gaspanic for a couple more beers, then headed back to the hotel. Early call tomorrow for our first show here…

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