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crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

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crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

we have mapped out most of our trip and things we want to see but I now want to fill in some gaps with things that are must see's but interesting in a weird and wonderful way. We are going to see harajuku at yoyogi park and hopefully alcatraz e.r, lockup and vampire cafe, can anyone recommend something that is a wonderfully strange must see in japan while we're there in april!

thanks so much!

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1. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

Since no one is responding...

Not sure what you have experienced, but assuming you wish to stay (barely) within decent norms, maid cafes and butler cafes (a version of maid cafes to cater to the female clientele) are here to stay.

The theme restaurants should be interesting but they really come and go quickly. Do get the latest information upon arrival.

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2. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

Thanks Kaywye for getting back to me, its not a very popular topic by the sounds of it!!! Maid and Butler Cafe's - cool I will have a look and see what they are about.

What is the best way to find out what is around once we get there though, I've never been to Japan, and we are trying to have a good mix of the traditional, cultural, electronics and just as plain odd as we can as I always like to discover a cities underbelly as well as its well documented places to see!

Namja Town, is that what its called? Is that appropriate for non Japanese speaking tourists?

And now I know I'm only touching on the mildly quirky so if anyone has anything really good to add, I would love to hear from you.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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3. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

This is probably not applicable to you but I have a little anecdote the last time I was in Tokyo and I don't recommend seeking this out, it just happened and it was pretty cool.

I was in Tokyo Station near the Shinkansen entrance, hanging out, waiting for my friend prior to leaving for Niigata in the morning. A homeless guy comes up to me and starts speaking gibberish to me in Japanese, (I am 100% ethnic Japanese) while holding a can of chu-hai (basically a tasty Japanese wine cooler). He seemed nice enough although he smelled like a distillery so he was obviously a little intoxicated. At first, I spoke very directly in perfect, newscaster-grade English telling him I was American and asked him if he spoke English. He looked a little surprised and asked me in Japanese where I learned such perfect English. I then switched to Japanese which surprised him further and told him that I learned it while attending elementary school in the US, again in Japanese. He said this is amazing, that he's never met a Japanese who spoke such perfect English and very good Japanese (I think my Japanese is pretty poor but to him it was OK). So we talked for a little while, the whole time he seemed very puzzled but he kept telling me how delicious his chu-hai was. Stupid me, I don't take the hint. I ask him if he's hungry and that I'll buy him something to eat if he's hungry. He told me he's not hungry. (Note: panhandling is illegal in Japan, especially in public places like train stations so he was going out of his way to not ask me for anything because he can get arrested for it). Again, he told me how delicious his can of chu-hai was and that I should try it sometime. I told him that i like chu-hai and drink it frequently. He smiled at that but I still don't get the hint. So, I make some small talk and I tell him my name and I ask him his name. He says, 'Hokkaido, desu.' (I'm Hokkaido). I remembered reading in Sanya Blues that the homeless sometimes discard their real names and just go by their home town or area where they came from. I asked him if he's from Hokkaido and he nodded and told me to call him Hokkaido. Finally, I figured out that he's thirsty and wants another chu-hai. I ask him if he wants a chu-hai, that I'm buying. A big grin comes across his face and he says, "saaaaaa" (well........) and then he tells me how wonderful it tastes. I guess because he's not allowed to ask or acknowledge, and I reach into my pocket, give him a Y1000 bill and tell him to buy three and to enjoy his day. Maybe Shot or some other resident knows the exact laws here. I just had an entertaining time with Hokkaido-san. I saw him one more time before I returned home and took him to the kiosk (he showed me the closest one) and bought him three more before I left. My only regret is that I forgot to take a picture.

Nashville, TN
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4. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

In Kobe (just West of Osaka), from Motomachi station towards Kobe station on the JR line there is a flea market-like collection of shops under the railway tracks. It's a good place to pick up cheap souvenirs and buy used goods; there used to be a toy collector's store there that had some really obscure stuff that was expensive but cool. from the station exit to the South towards the China Town (which is small and doesn't deserve a visit in itself, but if you're in the area, why not stop in) and immediately turn right along the tracks. You'll see the shops to your right (a small set of steps leads to them).

In Himeji there is a public bath with a castle view, if you like public baths. From the station, after you exit and are facing the castle take the shopping street to your right; the bath is at the end of the shopping street in a shiny new building (can't remember the name) that also has some tourst information and good restaurants. The baths are separate, of course, and if you don't know public bath customs let us know and we can educate.

Pretty much every shrine that has a staff (some don't) there is a morning ritual that includes making offerings among other things. I find these rituals very fascinating. Unfortunately it's kind of hard to know exactly when this happens; there's a shrine in Himeji that I visit nearly every morning when I'm in town in an attempt to figure out if there's a schedule but I don't see much of a pattern other than 'shortly after sunrise'. But if you wake up early and are near a shrine go hang out in the morning and watch the priests sweep the grounds and prepare for the day. I find it very relaxing for some reason.

John W.

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5. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

The coolest part of my last trip to Tokyo was going to Yoyogi park on Sunday and enjoying all the music. Almost 100 different artists, ranging from pop, punk, salsa and country set up shop all over the park, and play for free. There is also a group of dancing Elvises at the entrance to the park. Very strange, but very cool. My fiance says this happens every Sunday, so time your trip accordingly. Yoyogi park is near Harajuku, so you can see the Harajuku girls on the way to the park.

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6. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

Things I (a Japanese and a longtime Tokyo resident) find eccentric are follows:

1. The "Club" area of Ginza.

Stroll around the Shimbashi end of Ginza, between Sotobori and Chuo (commonly known Ginza) streets, like Namiki or Suzuran, around 7PM to 11PM. If you know the area better, then sipping coffee at Ranzu by the Sotobori around 6 to 7PM is a good start. Still amazing to me.

2. The Shinjuku tour and Korean food.

Start from Shinjuku, go north, straight through Kabukicho until the seedy places and hotels dissappear (just keep walking north, passing the Koma gekijo theatre, batting centre). Cross shokuan-dori and you will start seeing Korean characters. Enjoy the dinner.

3. Or perhaps wander around any of the more "local" haunts until you find a nice looking place to drink and eat with moderate budget, among the locals. Start from Yurakucho under the railway, or go to "spots" like Kagurazaka, Shimokitazawa, Asagaya, Mon-naka, etc. Tsukishima is also interesting, a mishmash of high-rise flats and low monja diners (though somewhat pricey).

I hope I am not breaking any forum rules here...

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7. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

There are many things in Tokyo that will strike you as odd. Make sure that you get out of the areas of the city that have lots of hotels.

I see that you are from Sydney, but I know that Americans find the plastic food displays in every restaurant surprising. Among my favorite eccentric things to do in Tokyo is to go to the restaurant supply district -- Kappabashi -- where you can buy the plastic food that is used in displays. It's odd to say, but the lifelike quality of the plastic food is amazing.

Kappabashi is between Uneo Park and Asakusa. I get off at the Tawaramachi subway stop and walk several blocks. It is labelled on many maps.

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8. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

Sorry to lower the tone...but I found toilets very interesting. I hope you stay in a place with all-singing all-dancing toilets. I started to find toilets in shops a constant source of amusement too.

I would also reccomend visiting the Starbucks opposite Shibyu station, not for the coffee, but for the view over the crossing.

Nara, Japan
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9. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

Just couldn't help but laugh a bit at how the guy coined his name answering your question, Route. Yes, I read somewhere that there's a rule, or a sort of tacit understanding, among those poor people, not to tell their real names when introduced to each other. But obviously you are not one of them, hence my reaction. Sorry for that. BTW, like you say, touting around for things and / or begging is not allowed in the railroad station complex. There's always a small notice glued to the wall or pillar somewhere around the JR station, saying that kind of act is prohibited by law,.

Here's what I witnessed when living in Shinjuku way in the past:

There was an old, frail-looking, woman-beggar sitting, with her bare toes directly beneath her backside, on a dirty smudgy mat she spread on the cold concrete passageway under Shinjuku Big Flyover, anytime I had a chance to walk through it during night hours.

She didn't look prostrated, but always rounded her back, and that with her face tilted downward and with her beggar bowl put right before her. What a pitiable sight did I always say to myself. There was nothing to protect her from the elements but the big bridge girdle over her head, working as a big umbrella that kept her from rain or snow.

On a cold snowy night near Christmas, she probably couldn't have endured the pain anymore and decided to start to pack her things when I dropped by. With an empty can now worth some hundred yens in her hand and with a bundle of the thin mat under her arm, she got to her feet.

Well, you never know how I got astonished to see her figure. She was far from stooped; she was able to walk tall, and, yes, she looked a bit taller than me. But in a moment, astonishment turned into a sheer shock when I saw her take her wig off and start to rub her sooty face with a towel. What then appeared was stubbly beard! Oh my oh! That was apparently part of HIS disguise. I had been fooled by HIM all the time, or for that matter everyone else had. HIS worn-out small red flip-flops didn't look funny at all, I must add. Is that a scam or what?

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10. Re: crazy/ eccentric things to see in tokyo kyoto or osaka

I would like to go to some theme restaurants while in Japan. Where can I find a list of such restaurants?