Half a day in Tokyo and jaw still open, they might not seem to have much in common but this is what I wanted Vegas to be when I first visited, alive, bright, loud, neon, up all night to get lucky, no sleep, repeat.
This is a city built for the solo traveller, apartments are tiny, look lost long enough and someone will ask where you are trying to go, most restaurants are just counters, staff talk to you, bartenders talk to you, if you are walking past a ramen shop and made eye contact with the chef through the window he will nod and motion that you are welcome to stop in.
Landed at Haneda around 2pm, it’s a two hour flight from Seoul on a big new 787. Got a little confused by the massiveness of the train/subway system at the airport but just went instinctual and somehow ended up at my Airbnb, it’s a cool little tiny townhouse down a couple alleyways, love it. Got a PASMO card and loaded it with cash, PASMO gets you on all trains and all subways and pays at vending machines and storage lockers and 7-11 and such, so cool.
Grabbed a bowl of rice and meat and gyoza at a place around the corner and stocked the Airbnb fridge with various canned coffee products from the plethora of vending machines around me (they really are everywhere).
I was pretty night before Christmas in Seoul last night and didn’t get much sleep, plus Kurtis wouldn’t leave me alone. Laid down for a short nap aaaand woke up 3 hours later, at 8pm, woo-hoo night owl mode activate!
Walked about a kilometer to Piss Alley, a wondrous nest of tiny alleyways packed with little 6-8 seat restaurants, most of which only serve one item, but an item they do really well. Unfortunately I’m still full so just wandered around a bit and then headed for a drink.
Bar Ben Fiddich has been on my list of cocktails bars to visit someday since I first heard about them, amazing place. Took me a while to find it, addresses in Tokyo are weird and I wandered around for ten minutes before I spotted a tiny opening between two buildings that led to an ancient elevator, in the elevator was just a business card taped up saying “BAR 9F”, ok let’s try the 9th floor, bingo!
The bar was amazing but was FULL of North American dudes who read the same articles as me, not the bar’s fault but something is taken away from a relaxing cocktail when people are standing two deep behind you waiting for a seat, still amazing drink, man!
Finished my nameless but wonderful cocktail and walked home, passed a million ramen counters and picked one at random, had to have help ordering from the machine, which spits out a ticket which you hand to the chef, unassuming place, unassuming looking ramen, best I have had by a mile, flavour kick in the face.