April is a time of change in Japan. It’s the month that marks the start of the new school year, with many people changing jobs and others leaving the country for good. It’s been a very busy period for me: new schools, new responsibilities and new friends. But in between teaching, writing and drawing I’ve also managed to pack in so much stuff over the last few weeks in Tokyo.
After watching the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi the night before, I was magically bought a full-on sushi lunch by the Encho Sensei of my new school. The accompanying dish of raw sea cucumber and miniature jellied squid was not so well received.
The head chef insisted I take his photo. Nice place, tucked away in the suburbs of Chiba.
Speaking of sushi, the “Design Ah!” exhibition at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT is well worth checking out. Primarily aimed at introducing the concept of design to children, it features a load of cool video and sound installations: including motion sensor projections and interactive art. Super fun. ( 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT can be accessed by a path lined with grass and trees in the Garden of Tokyo Midtown. The exhibition runs until 03 June. 1000 yen)
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers in Harajuku were pretty damn big…
But Blacows in Ebisu took it to the next level. I couldn’t actually fit this bad boy in my mouth. I had to sheepishly eat it with a knife and fork. My mate told me this was the best tasting burger place in Tokyo and yup, I maybe have to agree. They exclusively use Black Wagyu beef. (Prices start at ¥1000 yen and peak at ¥1700 yen. Address: 1F ２-１１-９ Ebisunishi, Shibuya)
This on the other hand was possibly the worst meal I have ever eaten! It was so shit I could only laugh. I ordered Roast Beef… it came in a bowl with a spoon and was served stone cold. If you want to buy it for yourself as some sort of punishment go to The Hub in Ikebukuro.
It’s not just any banana: it’s a completely pointless, individually wrapped Hello Kitty banana. This is the sole reason I live in Japan.
Spring saw me ride across Tokyo on packed trains and empty trains…
Marvelling at the weirdos that inhabit the Yamanote line train platforms…
And taking pictures of shoes you know you are jealous of. (This is a man by the way.)
When I wasn’t travelling by train I was cycling through the falling cherry blossoms on my BMX…
Or falling off Yusuke’s longboard.
While being a kindergarten teacher also offers some more unconventional forms of transport.
Shimokitazawa is still my home in Tokyo
It’s near Setagaya Park where kids catch butterflies on sunny days…
Near Shinjuku where ¥1000 notes that have been accidentally soaked in beer are stuck on the window of a karaoke place in order to dry…
And where giant dragons crawl on the ceilings of tiny basement bars.
The ramen shop down the road from me is always a lively place, even at 2am…
Though on one rainy night in Tokyo my house mates and I tried to be a bit more cultured. I say cultured but I had to drink my wine out of a giant Tweety Pie mug as there were no other glasses. Frenchie supplied the food!
Yann (Frenchie), Yusuke, and CP
The Urban Narratives exhibition at Espace Louis Vuitton is free and definitely worth a visit. It’s on the top floor of the Louis Vuitton building in Omotesando.
If you didn’t catch the under-hyped Natsumi Hayashi exhibition, also in Omotesando, you’re too late I’m afraid… (It was great by the way.)
But there’s still time to catch the surreal Chim↑Pom x Taro Okamoto exhibition at the Okamoto Taro Memorial Museum. (¥600, take exit B1 from Omotesando Station. Be warned though, the show itself is pretty small.)
I just finished two weeks of training at kindergartens right across Tokyo. Here’s Ben looking puzzled on the train by AKB48. Lots of early starts, and as many late nights in bars. Good to catch up with everyone.
One of my schools is deep in the asshole of Saitama. But I get to enjoy this view on the walk to work…
And marvel at the sake vending machines that still exist in the inaka.
Last but not least, my very good friend Melinda finally left these shores to move back to Australia. I’ll miss her a lot.
But we gave her the send-off she deserved. Take care missy and I’ll see you soon!