Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shinjuku: Love and Peace, Mother F*^%ker

24 March - 8th of April 2010
Keeping in line with my blogging style, I'm a few weeks behind on my stories. In the meantime I've already been back in Amsterdam for over a week now, but, like sushi, the stories of Japan are still very fresh in my mind.

Laen was already waiting for me at the airport, he had arrived just a few hours before from Amsterdam. After being in a heatwave for almost 6 weeks, it took me some time to get used to the cold and rainy Japanese weather, but luckily I still had some garments left from my Transsiberian adventure.

Japan is fantastically, scrumptiously, beautifully delicious and inspiring. The first thing you notice about Japan is how organized and clean everything is, there's not even a rubbish-bin in sight, because they expect you to take your rubbish home with you and recycle.

The first few nights we stayed in Shinjuku, a lovely characteristic little area in Tokyo just on the border of the gay district. There are 3 hightlights of Shinjuku I'd like to mention (I can't mention it all, there's just so much!).

First of all: Isetan departmentstore, basementfloor, fooddepartment: WOW! The escalator rolls you down onto a floor full of food, everything is beautiful: the pastries, the sushi, the roasts, the sweets, the vegetables. But if you look really close, you see that these little pieces of artwork are actually made of plastic! Very hard to tell, except from the fact that it all looks too fresh and delicious to be true. In the fridges under the plastic food, the real food is waiting, looking (almost) just as beautiful as the fake stuff, and of course much tastier! We spent many a rainy afternoon in there choosing our treats of choice to be eaten in our hotelroom...

Number 2: In Shunjuku you can also find the Golden-Gai, this is an area of apx. 300 x 300 m's, consisting of over 250 tiny little bars. Each bar is 10m2, can seat about 5 people and has it's own style, may it be a rock-bar, Spanish tapas bar, Whiskey bar, anime-fanatics-bar, you name it, they have it. And in all the bars: the toilets are immaculate (the amazingly clean toilets in Japan have left an impression with me, I'll probably mention them a few more times). Our favourite bar must be "Love and Peace, Mother fucker". The name says it all, it's a cute, friendly little bar but with a bit of attitude. The first time we were there Yuni, the owner, took us to her brothers gay karaoke bar, just down the road from our hotel. That morning, in the land of the rising sun, we didn't see the sun rise, we were singing along to Madonna drinking Shoushou and greentea cocktails with the locals.

Number 3: the characteristic little Japanese restaurants where not many tourists dare to enter, because they serve food like yakitori of pigs' intestines and the rawest fish and seafood you can imagine. But being with Laen, who is willing to try and actually likes almost everything, we ended up in these places, and I was pleasantly surprised, almost everything was fingerlicking good. When you enter, all the staff shout "WELCOME!" (or whatever it is they shout, but you can't slip inside unnoticed), you stand around the bar, which is actually also the kitchen, steam coming from the hotplates, grilled smells all around you, Japanese bandanas on their heads, sharp knives chopping, men in business suits, warm sake in your hand and tasty food till midnight, it was hard to leave... Sometimes I wish the Vulcano in Iceland errupted sooner, we could have been stuck there for quite a while!

More to follow...


  1. Hee Saffie, ik blijf braaf je blog volgen hoor! Waar blijven de foto's van Japan!?! xx Nienke

  2. Love it Sassy Saff! Nicole xxx