East_Shinjuku_Tokyo_Japan_575

Tokyo: Passport!

There are two bills you do not want to pay: Eddie Murphy’s child support and Tokyo’s electricity charges. Say goodbye to your corneas when you visit the brightly lit city where the noodles are plentiful and just when you think you have seen it all, something crazier arrives. Japan’s capital is also worthy wallet drain and you’ll glad shell out for restaurants touting more food-related Michelin stars than Paris. Search out the city’s more unique gems and the possible sale of your kidney to fund it feels justified.

Stay:  The Claska (1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-Ku Tokyo) combines a cutting edge art gallery and entertainment venue with rooms upstairs where you can collapse when the sake kicks in. Hit the roof terrace before bed for epic city views.

Eat: Branding nightmare aside, “Piss Alley” Shomben Yokocho is the perfect  hole in the wall noodle venue. They are only really able to accommodate a couple of people so you may be forced to squeeze onto the benches with a hurried commuter and or old ladies exercising their chopsticks like pros but the noodles are rapture in a ramen dish.

Drink/Bar: The Golden Gai is a network of six alleyways housing numerous bars themed along every conceivable line. Literature, film, disco, 90’s martial arts movies, even one designed to feel like you are sinking your sake in someone’s living room. Most hit you with a 500 yen seating charge and the drinks are “Tokyo reasonable.” Lose yourself in translation at the New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt (3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture 163-1055) where Scarlett Johanssen drowned her sorrows in the movie, Lost In Translation.

Shop: Tokyo’s urban hipsters have flocked to Nakameguro where commercial rent is cheap and vintage stores have flourished alongside contemporary art galleries like Mizuma (2F, Fujiya Bldg. 1-3-9, Kami-meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0051)

FYI: Tokyo streets don’t have names. Addresses indicate ward, district within it, plus three numbers for sub-district, sub-section of that, and a building number. Buy a city map and ask for directions.

Crazy Tokyo: Naturally you visit Japan for … ear wax removal. Thankfully, your prayers have been answered by the Gracecourt cafe waitresses who will attempt to cleanse your soul through prayer and redemption — all while dressed as nuns. Japan’s fetish culture has overrun the cafe scene and driven by a tsundere practice. Treating customers like royalty one minute then abusing them for their paltry tips the next. All in good spirits, the cafes are a bubblegum reflection of Tokyo’s unique culture.

Last 5 posts by Hillary Crosley