Ready, Set, Go, Tokyooo! - Arributo Art
I once walked into a house party severely drunk, yelling "Tokyo Mutha fucka!!!" as soon as the front door opened up to a surprised bunch of party goers, who were just as drunk as me. The girl I was dating at the time just so happened to be Japanese and from Tokyo, and so it was only appropriate we make a loud entrance, reppin' her hometown. There was another time when a group of us yelled out "Tokyoooo!!", after seeing a few Japanese fans with a large flag of their home country after an amazing Kanye West Concert. The energy of the concert and being aware of Kanye's love for the Japanese made use go crazy. Flash forward to now, and I finally have the opportunity to yell Tokyo from the heart, because I'm actually going there.
I can honestly say that this is going to be one of the strangest most exciting trips that I've ever been on, to date. And though I've entertained the idea of going to Japan for a while now, it has all come together so fast within the last couple weeks, that it still feels unreal. Shit, I'm going to Japan?
My family keeps asking me if I'm going to visit the temples, and all that historical stuff, my reply to them is NO. Shit there's more important stuff to see. Like awesome chiptune parties, sex dolls, and stuff. Thanks to Bit Shifter who tipped me off on some good spots. LoL
As for my level of preparedness, I'm not really prepared at all. Sure the general plans are in order, the plane tickets are locked in, and the rooms booked, but in terms of psychological preparedness, culture-shock, and just the shear awesomeness of being in Japan, Tokyo specifically, I think I'm gonna (for a lack of a better expression) 'bust a nut.'
Just to be clear though, I am not a 'Japanophile', and I don't even consider myself an 'Otaku,' though I am a geek, and somewhat of a nerd, just not as extreme as other die-hard fans out there. I don't read manga in their traditional format, I don't even read manga. I stopped watching anime in high school, and only see anime films these days based on recommendations from friends. I never made my own Japanese-sounding alias for online use, nor did I ever bother studying the language to translate imported anime, or videogames. I don't use anime-mannerisms in conversations or modify my speech to sound like a character from a show. I most definitely don't lust after Japanese girls only. (Actually I think Korean women are hotter and taller.) I've never taken a traditional Japanese sword fighting class, nor have I taught English to ESL students in hopes of picking up a girlfriend. Vancouver's full of those predators, and that's just not me.
I did however go through a phase of drawing Japanese animation styled art in my teens, but when I studied animation in post-secondary, my taste for the anime style lessened as my eyes were open to the other art and artists out there.
Though it may sound like I don't care for the stereotypical things that us westerners (foreigners) identify Japan with, I still love Japan. My interests always seem to lead back to Japan. Videogames and Japan are inherently inseparable, western animation definitely owes a lot to anime, so does film, even vinyl toys and artists who draw inspiration from Japanese influences, as well as, music, technology, urban and pop-culture. Japan's direct and indirect influence on North America, Europe, and Asia is all over the place.
I may not be a hardcore fan of Japan with every geek destination planned out, but that doesn't mean my trip to Japan will be any less awesome. I will be trying to get around to as much as possible and discovering things along the way. Totally checking out Akihabara, Shibuya, Shinjiku, Kichijoji is a must. Videogames are a high priority, but so are the toys, animation, art, and FOOD. I fucking love Ramen, Shoyu Ramen, Miso Ramen, Beef Sashimi, sushi, Japanese hot pot.
I definitely HAVE to see the bizarre Japanese things that have appeared online. The girlfriend pillow, those life-sized sex dolls with anime faces, strange Placenta drinks, capsule hotels, and whatever else. I haven't been going out of my way to learn the language, so lets see how far pointing, and broken English/Japanese will take me.
As much as this is a selfish trip to just have fun and explore, I will also be reconnecting with old friends who used to live in Vancouver. It's gonna be good. So good I can taste it. I only wish my brother were here to enjoy it as well, as we had planned on going together. Shit, after all the painful and depressing stuff that's happened to my family and I the last few months, I fucking deserve this trip. My sister and I deserve it.
I will be taking JAL direct to Narita, so hopefully, I'll be fully relaxed by the time I get there. Their website offers some tips to deal with some stressful scenarios which I found pretty funny. Will be staying in Shibuya the first couple days too starting on Oct.4th. Jet Set Radioooo! I'd be cool if I saw some extreme inline skating. Then headed to Chiba-City for the Tokyo Game Show, then after that, a few more days in Japan, who knows where I'll end up!
First timer to Asia, totally intimidated. If you know of any favorite spots that you have been to or would like to see, let me know, and perhaps I can check it out.
Tokyo here I come! Follow me on Twitter, will be updating my blogs as well.