Tokyo guzzler: Days 55-56 – Asakusa day out

This weekend we got well and truly back on the tourist trail. After an early morning English class in a beautiful flat in the Tokyo Midtown apartment building, Maz and I opted firstly to go to the only English fish and chip shop in Tokyo. It was conveniently placed right by my student’s flat and we had a beautiful bag of chips for brunch. God it was good to taste some proper chips again!!

From there we headed out to Asakusa, a place famous for its Buddhist temples. The area was teaming with tourists from all over the world, which would normally drive me mad. But it was quite nice in the end because we’d had a few days off the tourist trail, and the crowds were very respectful. There was no need to get the elbows out in order to push through! The temples we saw were stunning, as the photos below show:

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It’s behind you, Maz!

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Different flavoured bananas stall.

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Maz in front of the grand entrance gate, with her pot of ice cream!

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“Let’s put another shrimp on the barbie!” No not really a BBQ, but burning incense. You have to waft it over yourself.

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“Anyone got an oxygen mask?”

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Photographic evidence to prove I’m here. Check the man behind flicking me the backwards V’s. Bastard!

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Temple selfie!

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Side entrance to the temple.

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Bloody big ashtrays!

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For any visitors who come over, this is a must-see place. Probably on a weekday though when it’s a bit quieter….

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Love the contrast of old versus new here.

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Just….wow!

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The walkway to the temple is probably about 500m long, and it’s lined with beautiful food stalls and shops selling local tat. It was absolutely rammed but it was a sight to behold.

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Looking back down towards the temples….

After such a beautiful Japanese experience, there was only one cuisine we could have for lunch….Italian. I had a tasty pizza and Maz demolished a bowl of seafood pasta.

After lunch, we decided to head over to the nearby Tokyo Skytree. It’s twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower, nearly 200m taller than the Empire State Building and the second tallest structure on earth. I’ve been gagging to go up this ever since we arrived in Japan. But it’s really important we wait for a clear day to go up. Apparently the best time to go up is in the autumn / winter, when there’s a beautiful clear blue sky day after day. So we didn’t go up this weekend, but I can feel the moment getting closer. It’s been noted by some that I appear to be “obsessed with scaling large erections”. Charming!

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Skytree in the near distance. In the foreground you can see the running taxi carriage men. This has got to be a great way of staying fit. I wonder if they’ll give me a job….

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The Asahi Beer Headquarters. The Asahi Flame is often referred to as “the golden turd” and the Asahi Beer Hall itself as “poo building” by many Tokyo residents.

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HUUUUUUGGGGGGEEEE!!!!

To round our day off we headed back to Shibuya for some food, preceded by a couple of pints of Strongbow. Cider is a rarity over here and we both needed a cider fix. It isn’t cheap either at nearly £6 a pint, but it would appear that all alcohol in pubs over here is dear. Even the local favourite – Sapporo – is still over £5 a pint. We went for food at a cook-your-own restaurant. To be honest the food was pretty crap sadly but it was still fun getting to be BBQ king.

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Chicken and pork mixed-combos. Didn’t do it for me sadly and triggered off a rapid gut reaction to rival my Ikea experience.

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One thing that had been worrying me slightly recently was the prospect of getting my hair cut. It’s been getting a bit long in the last week or two. There aren’t many people who can pull off hair that’s longer on the side of the head than on the top. Terry Wogan and Alan Partridge immediately spring to mind, but even they’re both fictional characters. I definitely can’t pull it off that’s for sure. So on Sunday, Maz got out the clippers and I must say she’s done a cracking job. It’s arguably a better cut than I’d normally get, although admittedly my Dwaine Dibley-esque style is probably a bit outdated these days anyway. In the evening – after 2 hours wasted waiting for a Skype no show – we went to the Shimokitazawa Curry Festival. I think calling it a festival is slightly misleading. It’s more of a trail. Basically over 100 local restaurants and bars, over a 10 day period, each sell their own version of the spicy dish, from Japanese and Indian style to Thai and fusion-style offerings. We managed to actually find a proper Indian restaurant up there. It was good food, but we definitely over-ordered!

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The naans were a good 18 inches long each. In hindsight, one naan, one rice an two curries would have sufficed!

There’s a typhoon coming later tonight and into tomorrow. Apparently it’s a “super-typhoon” and the biggest of the year so far. I have a class tomorrow morning so I hope that it’s blown through by then. Thankfully it’s not a rubbish collection day tomorrow, unlike last week when the last typhoon swept through. Poor old Maz nearly got blown away taking the trash out that morning!

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