Tokyo and New Year

As I mentioned before , I spent the New Year period in Tokyo. We left for Tokyo on the morning of Saturday the 29th. We arrived in Shinjuku (新宿) in the early afternoon where we were greeted by Sam, a fellow student from Seijo University (see his blog on the right). So we went to his neat apartment located in Seijo (成城), one of the more upper class neighborhoods in Tokyo. This neighborhood had a very European feel to it, so it was quite nice to spend the New Year period there.

After we had all unpacked and washed up, we met our good friend Sudou at 6 p.m. in his home town Setagaya Ku ( 世田谷区) , again one of the more wealthy regions in Tokyo. Sudou is the CEO of the Sudo Jam company (http://www.sudo-jam.co.jp/). We met him a while back in Matsumoto and we’ve all become good friends since, so he invited us to his hometown to show us some good places.
First we had sushi in a famous sushiya (寿司屋). It was delicious , especially the toro (とろ), the best part of the Tuna fish. We also had Angler Fish liver, Squid and various other delicious treats. The fish was served with rice and
Makiyakinabe (巻き焼き鍋), bread and omelet baked in the pan, something we eat a lot in Belgium, so that was nice.
Of course the お酒 was being poured in at a very high tempo. We also had traditional new years Sake, poured from a barrel and drunk from a square wooden cup. Very nice.
After this with our belly’s quite full already, we went to a Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き). This is a Japanese cooking style using an iron griddle to cook food. We were treated to the most delicious steak I’ve had in a long while. It was I think the first time I’ve had a good piece of beef since I’ve come to Japan (minced meat doesn’t count). For desert we ate garlic rice which was also rather delicious. And through it all the sake kept going in nicely.
With my stomach now absolutely full, Sudo insisted we also go this his friends Italian restaurant. We had a little bit of pasta and smoked ham there, but I couldn’t really eat anything anymore, so I mainly tasted some of the wine’s.
After being treated to all these delicious foods, we thanked Sudo for his generous evening (which was one of the most entertaining since I’ve come to Japan, but that’s no surprise as Sudo is also known as the Chief Entertainment Officer 🙂 ).
But then we went our own way and took a cab to Shibuya (渋谷) were we went to the Womb Club. I had already been there once before. This time it was a drum & bass party. It was quite nice to able to just go out normally again. But by 3.30 a.m. some of us started getting tired so we passed by McDonald’s and called it quits, returning home to Seijo after a serious first day.

After such an opening day, we had to spent the next day a little more relaxed. So we slept ’till about noon and decided to go to Jinbōchō (神保町). This district is known for its bookstores, and was advised to us by Murata Sensei (村田先生). It was a welcome change of pace to just wander around in this more relaxed neighbourhood among countless of bookstores. Unfortunately some were closed because of New Year. In the evening we prepared our own food : Miso (味噌) soup with Ebi, Gyousa kimchi chicken and rice. We watched some TV and went to sleep rather early, knowing the damage I did the previous day, and knowing that the next day was New Year, this was probably a good idea.

On the 31st we went to Akihabara (秋葉原) , also known as Akihabara Electric Town. It is the largest shopping area on Earth for electronic, computer, anime and otaku goods. And we saw a lot of those last one’s. Not much to tell here, apart from that it was very impressive and extremely crowded. After Akihabara we went to Iidabashi (飯田橋地) to eat. I had a cheese, pork and onion mix, followed by Seafood お好み焼き. After that we we went to celebrate New Year. We choose not to go to a club or something and went to the Meiji Shrine ( 明治神堂) to make an offering to the gods and wish for a good new year. Of course we did bring alcohol for the wait. We arrived on time so we didn’t have to wait very long, something the people at the end of the immense line did had to do (there were thousands of people waiting). I recorded a nice video on my camera. A unique experience indeed. After that we ate some more and made our way back to the apartment.

New Year’s day we spent in Ginza (銀座) , which is the most famous upmarket department store area of Tokyo, containing such stores as Armani, Boss, LG, Sony and Mac. We strolled around and had a Coffee on the corner of the Wako department store, a very famous place. We cooked some food in the evening and watched some football and drank some very tasty whiskey.

The last day was filled with some shopping in Shinjuku and Ginza ( the bargain sales begin January 2nd in Japan) and after that it was on the bus back to Matsumoto, where it was 10 degrees colder than in Tokyo. Still, I was happy to return and escape once more from the crowded Tokyo. But I’ll sure be there again later this year.

Happy New Year everyone !

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One Response to “Tokyo and New Year”

  1. Nice to hear you had a good start of 2008, make bast of it and see you soon.

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