Tokyo Local Custom Tips by sourbugger
Tokyo Local Customs: 232 reviews and 415 photos
A pint of your finest please!
Vending machines seem to be in breeding overdrive in Japan. I heard one source say there were over six million and still going strong.
I think they would only work in a society that is on the whole very law abiding, like Japan.
As a visitor it is the vast range of products that is available that amazes. Whilst soft drinks seems to account for about half of the the range, the selection of wierd concoctions available is suprising. It makes dandelion and Burdock look somewhat tame.
We saw machines for coffee in a tin (not as bad as it sounds), beer, food, Johnnies,manga and porn.
The illusive one was the machine that sells used schoolgirl panties - do they really exist or is it an urban myth?
Tokyo car parking
The Japanese obsession with automation, astronomical land prices and sense or order all come together when you look at car parking.
There are a good number of these giant vending-type machines all over Tokyo. You drive your car in, it's spun round on a turntable and then disappears into the bowels of the machine. I presume that you then hope it will spit out the correct vehicle again at the right time.
I would not trust them - it seems likely to me that there are forgotten cars lurking at the back of these monsters, rather like that left over sock in the washing or the loose change and cough sweets left for years down the back of the sofa.
plastic food not made by the big M
Virtually all restaurants from the cheap and cheerful to top-end places have displays of plastic food outside.
The quality of this stuff is very impressive - and it certainly aids ordering - rather like the big display boards in fast food places worldwide.
It is a pity the product that arrives never seems to be an exact copy of the original - it was ever thus!
Kappabashi Street is the place where there are shops full of the stuff - ready to sell to restaurant owners. Find it by heading for
Subway Ginza Line, Tawaramachi Station .
Japanese Girl without a business suit
I'm not exactly the best person to write about female fashion. However when it involves high heels, even if they are platforms and miniskirts then I'm your man.
In Tokyo we came across several Ganguro's - an attempt to look 'western' in a weirdly sterotyped way - with very non-japanese dark make-up, high platform heels (to make up for the Japanese lack of height), girlie type clothes and strong make up. I thought the attempt to stand out was fine, as they just looked like 24hour party girls - good luck (or look) to them.
The more punky / gothic style of the Yamanba (or Japanese witches) was perhaps less appealing asethetically - but at least they are enjoying it !
Opinions are very divided about the homeless who live in such places as Uneo park. I must admit it came as something of a shock to find so many older men, in suits, who were homeless. Their neat rows of turquiose coloured taupaulin tents in the park seem to give them some kind of dignity.
When you learn that many helped re-build Japan after the war years and are now seen as useless to the heartless economic machine you sympathy is aroused.
In comparison to the "got 30p for a cup of tea, guv" merchants of London or the varoius smackheads found in every other large city across the world, it seemed to speak volumes about the values of that particular generation of Japanese.
On the other hand I came across a very sourbugger on the internet indeed who described Uneo park and it's homeless thus :
" Japan's ugliest park is filled with homeless people, illegal phone card venders, and drug dealers. The grass is sparse and sickly, and there is too much concrete. Although it is home to the excellent National Museum, you go there in spite of its being in Ueno park, not because of it. There is also a zoo, whose animals are said to be unhealthy and depressed. If you live in Tokyo, there is a good chance that someone will invite you for cherry blossom viewing in April. Unless you like looking at mountains of garbage, listening to portable karaoke machines, and stepping over drunks passed out in their own vomit, give it a miss. "
It made me feel quite fluffy in comparison!
It seems that I spend most of my day telling children to wear their school uniform correctly. They hit the age of 13 and the shirt must be untucked, the tie skew-wiff and the blazer adorned with a silly badge.
It therefore comes as something of a shock to see thousands of well turned out school children in Tokyo. They really do seem proud of it, even wearing it on their days off !
Ignoring the fact that it must have been designed by middle-aged men with a middle-aged men's fantasies in mind, and the fact it has spawned a vast pornographic industry - it is ceratinly a feature of Tokyo life.
The ruffled up socks really do look a bit dated though - very Olivia Newton-John in a pink leotard.
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