Meow, meow, meow

The shop assistants here sound like cats, horny cats. They start meowing as you enter the shop, not really talking to you or anyone in particular, and continue meowing after you leave. In the bigger shops the other shop assistants join in, sounding like a feline version of Marco Polo “Meow, meow”, “Polo”….

The locals are completely unphased and ignore them as they go about their shopping. As indeed they are unphased by the constant barrage of noise from all angles. In addition to the shop assistants meowing at you the shops themselves talk with little video screens on the shelves advertising products. Outside the shops, music plays and video screens are everywhere, on the shops, skyscrapers and trucks plus the pedestrian crossings, lifts and even ambulances talk away to you. At the Metro station the arrival of a train is accompanied by an electronic “level up” noise!

The locals of course pay no attention and continue rushing about their daily lives as we stand there all goofy, mouths agape at the mentalness of it all!

It is one of the many reasons we think Japan is awesome. Another is that everything is SOOOO cute or “Kawaii”, even the people, especially Japanese children and schoolgirls tittering away behind their hands. Even their advertising is cute, with a cute bear character encouraging you to drink the local beer “Hoppy” (It makes you happy!)

The Japanese have proved themselves to be super polite. The language barrier hasn`t been an issue as through a series of gestures and their general willingness to help, we have successfully negotiated shopping and eating. Yesterday as we left the Rock Inn Current (Rock bar in Shinjuku) the loveliest guy from the bar came running out with a 500 yen coin that we had left on the sofa by accident.  Only in Japan.

Only in Japan too would they have a little sensor in the toilet that you swipe your hand over for it to play the sound of running water (presumably to cover “noises”) as I discovered in Starbucks in Shibuya yesterday as we went to get some decent coffee and watch people going over the famous scramble crossing.

Shibuya is an awesome place, with loads of shops and eateries. Our friend Stu wrote a song about it “Map of Shibuya” that you can listen to here. Shibuya station also has the statue of the dog, Hachiko, I love this story. So KAWAII!

We ate at a local restaurant where there is a “call” button to get your server over. Through much pointing at the menu and gesturing we established that “Yes…we do want the meal deal please” and received a mountain of food for less than a fiver each.

The “call” button was nothing on our evening meal, which we ordered using a vending machine. The machine gave us a ticket and we placed ourselves at the bar to receive yet another mountain of food super quick. And yes, it was rice, for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!

Having braved the kamikaze shower we are going to do something more authentically Japanese today and visit the Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi Park before deciding which bit of Tokyo to move onto as tonight is our last night in the Tokyo Inn.

Meji Shrine

Pre-Shrine Ritual

Did we mention that our Tokyo Inn is located in Kabukichō which is the red light district?! Strangely there appears to be much more demand for the pretty host boys than lovely ladies although we were offered a couple of “Slip shows” as we walked home from the bar last night, which naturally we declined, though more out of lack of funds than anything else!

Fact of the day – You cannot tip in Tokyo. They WILL run after you giving back your change. We know. We tried.

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