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Anyone been? Any recommendations on shops, watering holes, guitar shops and the like?
Shibuya is the place to be for shopping. plus there are some cool basement bars. i stayed in shinjuku and found it was a good base...
and to the Fuji Rock Festival.
definately try to learn some basic japanese. shouting doesn't really help much.
shibuya/shinjuku/harajuku are the best places for shopping and stuff - i remember seeing a guiar shop in shinjuku somewhere.
i stayed in otsuka (on the main yamanote line) and found a really cheap hotel there. despite everyone thinking tokyo is an expensive city, i found everything to be ridiculously cheap.
go to a karaoke bar,
and go to ueno zoo to see the pandas and other crazy animals if u have time.
omotesando is great-it's like their champs elysees and leads up to the imperial shinto shrine in a massive forest-meiji jingu. it's like two totally different worlds right next to one another.
my favourite shop in tokyo is kiddyland-it's a japanese hamley's type-thing and it's just hilarious-it's on omotesando.
also you can get some really great deals on antique kimono and the like if you poke around harajuku and asakusa, and, of course, you get all the pop culture in harajuku, and the geek stuff in akihabara.
i can't wait to go back-i should be going back twice this year, i'll get some speaking practice in!
i thought the Beams stores were really good - got loads of stuff from there, and got loads of cool cheap t-shirts from the Graniph stores too.
kiddyland is ace! my missus dragged me round there for hours...
a really scary 7 story porn shop in akihabara. every floor just got more and more hardcore. a must!
The Tokyo Metropolitan Arts Centre in Ueno is one of the best galleries i've been to. The photography there is top notch. Word to Kiddyland although it's not as big as i thought it would be and even though you need to have to pay to get in city gardens, they're definitely worth it. The Ghibli museum is great also.
didn't have many problems language wise.
is a great general store (?like a classy japanese version of woolworths)-everything in there is functional and well designed so is a good illustration of japanese living.
go to a swish department store for the ridiculously accommodating and helpful service
(been said before) graniph t shirts are amazing
didn't have problems despite not speaking japanese
subway and rail system is straightforward (I got a JR pass)
hurray! I have been dreaming about this for years. Plus I will get my flights paid for. Cannae wait.
...and have done for 2 years now...it is awesome.
Music scene is incredible too - big bands in small venues...you get a bit spoiled!
my friend in Tokyo seems to think that the music scene in Osaka is a million times better so it's good to know that it isn't all doom and gloom.
She also says that a lot of the noise/hardcore/metal bands known in Britain and the US are much bigger outside than in Japan, and so often don't tend to play many gigs in Japan. I hope that isn't completely true.
...but you can find pretty much everything in Tokyo music-wise.
Your friend is spot on: non-Japanese groups actually aren't half as popular as J-Pop and -Rock over here and there are some tiny venues dotted about the city (mainly Shibuya and Harajuku) where you get some gems. They may not play as many gigs over here, but when they do they are relatively easy to get tickets for and are in venues a fraction of the size of where you'd see them anywhere else.
who are known in the UK. In the sense that a lot of the weird Japanese noise/metal stuff has a bigger market in the US and the UK than in Japan and so they don't do a lot actually in Japan gig-wise.
do in tokyo, ie. for a living. how come your lucky enough to live therE?
also. kiddyland=yes, and go the sumo museum, in osaka in the americana bit theres an awesome guitar shop, loads of vintage gear also a bar called rok rock, which you really must find and check out if you like rock music, its walls are litterally covered with pics of big bands in there.
...and yes, I guess I am a pretty lucky boy!
i really want to go to Tokyo one day.
I heard that they have vending machines that sell used underwear though of young girls - that was a little off putting.
I'm sure if you trailed around sex shops for a couple of weeks you could eventually find something approximating that (as you might in any other seedy part of town in any other country), but you'd have to really, desperately want to find them.
I'm going in July and am ridiculously excited. I can't wait to do all the above.
and I'm going back in 6 weeks!!!
I think most people have covered the must see places but I'd guess you'll spend most of your time in Harajuku. I would also add that you should consider taking an empty suitcase...
japanese children are very cute, you could get at least 3 in a suitcase
I'm going in the summer, and all I need is spending money :)
I'm really looking forward to a week of multi-story porn and inappropriate vending now !