Wednesday, April 20, 2016

GE 2016: Fast Tokyo Drift

By the time I got back from Kofu, I had 7 hours to go and see some of Tokyo. First stop was this Temple complex close to our hotel. 

The scavenge was to get your fortune told at the Temple.  You pay 100 yen and shake a metal box until a chopstick falls out.  

You then match the numbers (written in Japanese) on the chopstick to the corresponding drawer and inside is a piece of paper with your fortune.  

Naturally you expect a fortune cookie type of fortune: something general and upbeat. Oh No. Instead my paper said:  “Bad Fortune.” 

What? Is this actually a thing?  Do fancy temples with incense and an entire industry of fortune telling really deliver an entirely bad news fortune?  Yes. My “Bad Fortune” went on to list a series of terrible things to expect including: “You should know that there may be some bad people like a snake or tiger that hurt you” (I don’t think “people” means what they think it means). “Your family is out of joint.” “The sick patient is hopeless” (wow, that’s a pretty depressing one. Apparently no chance of recovery at all). “The lost article will never be found.” “The person you wait for will never come” (now I’m not sure if Rainey will actually be in Singapore when I get there). “Building a new house or marriage of any kind (not sure what that means) or starting a trip are all bad.”  I think they covered all the bases: my fortune is indeed TERRIBLE. I wanted to just start again and choose another chopstick but I was too traumatized.

I then visited an “animal café” where – because Japanese landlords do not allow pets – you can get a cup of coffee or a snack while playing with a room filled with cats. They are everywhere.

How about this as an efficient eating system:  Outside of most restaurants is an entire window box filled with plastic food meals (very authentic looking).  

You look over the options and then go to a vending machine, type in the letters that correspond to the meal you want, put in your coins and walk into a stand-up bar space.

And the food you ordered outside gets plunked before you within minutes.  My choice was tempura special with rice.

I met up with the Bajan teams and we went to do “Escape the Red Room” Tokyo style.  It was the oddest Escape game I've ever done.  You walk into a complete square room with absolutely NOTHING in it.  All of the walls and ceiling and floors are painted red.  There is nothing in the room except 2 doors with padlocks.  You have to figure out how to open both of them.  It was super tricky, but fun.  I won’t give away any clues in case anyone is ever in Tokyo and wants to have the experience.  Note: we did not get out before our time ran out (first time that’s happened).

Here is a totally original scavenge.  There are public photo booths in Japan where the strip of paper that the machine spits out bears little or no resemblance to you.  Instead, the computer photo-shops your eyes wider and bigger and re-shapes your face to make you look like an Anime china-doll character.  Sort of creepy on many levels but funny as heck.

Chris and Chloe's
Savannah and Bop's

Every toilet in Japan is fancy.  These people really love buttons and accessories on their toilets to make the seat warm, various ways to spout water on various parts of your genitals etc. etc.  Going to the restroom is not dissimilar to operating the space shuttle.  

Everyone in Japan is OBSESSED with “Hello Kitty.” I don’t understand it but it is a true fad.  Flat Stanley apparently shares the excitement.

Goodbye Japan ... heading on to Singapore.


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