Not surprisingly, New Year's Day got off to a late start for us after our attempt the previous night to maximize our value at the all-you-can-drink festivities. After we were all semi-conscious and presentable, we strolled on down the street to Denny's for some breakfast. During our first few days in Tokyo we had been avoiding Denny's because, ironically the pictures of the food they had looked too exotic for us. I never thought in my lifetime I would be avoiding a Denny's for fear of its cuisine being too much for my palate. Alas, we dug up the courage and made our way inside. I am happy to note that Denny's in Japan does sell lots of regular crappy diner-style food in addition to the tons of fish dishes that the Japanese people seem to live for. The only real gripe I had with Denny's (and other establishments in Japan) is that they still allow smoking inside! I find it odd that a country as advanced and seemingly "worldly" as Japan still allows people to smoke in restaurants. It just didn't feel right, sitting around all these people who no doubt invented Nintendo, Toyota, and Hello Kitty to be smoking Marlboros while eating a stack of flapjacks.
|Peter likes Japanese balls....in his mouth.|
After our uber-
Japanese American breakfast, we
pondered what to do with the remainder of the day and decided to check out
Mount Takao. It is basically like a poor man's Mount Fuji but a lot closer to where we were
staying. Unfortunately, Kiel's jet lag
coupled with his hangover were getting the better of him and he was unable to
join us. With that in mind, Peter,
Colleen, my mom, and I headed over to the mountain to see what it was all
about. Seeing as how most of the
literature we could find was only printed in Japanese, all we really knew was
that there was a mountain, a cable car, a chair lift, some monkeys, and a
temple. What more could one ask for in
life? We also surmised that because
there was a temple, it would probably be crazy busy there as Japanese people
love to go to temples on New Year's Day.
|View looking out from Mount Takao.|
Upon emerging from the subway station at the base of the mountain, it became quite clear to us that it appeared just about every person in Japan had decided to come here to ring in the New Year! There were literally thousands of people everywhere, but fortunately the Japanese people are very orderly and polite so this does not create as much pandemonium as it does in other places (see: China). Once we got our bearings, we got in line for the chair lift that would take us part way up the mountain. Having ridden many a chair lifts in my time, this was the first one I can recall operating with no lap bar of any kind, and all I can say is "insurance claim waiting to happen". In fact, if such a thing were operational in America, I have no doubt that people would be intentionally throwing themselves off of it in an attempt to sue the pants off the poor bastard who was running the thing. Once we got to the top of the mountain we wandered around for a bit and just followed the massive herds of people. Sadly, due to the insanely large crowds, we were unable to get anywhere near the actual temple, so we had to settle for wandering around and looking at a bunch of shit that we really had no idea what it was as all the signs were in some foreign language. Probably Japanese. At least we got some cool pictures though! Our next stop on the Mount Takao tourist express was for us to visit the not-so-famous monkeys that they have on display. Luckily for us, we rolled up right when the monkey-keeper(?) started his show. Now if anyone knows anything more funny than watching a zookeeper babble on in Japanese while monkeys swarm him for food I challenge you to tell me. Oh, and to make it even better, while most of the monkeys were swarming the zookeeper, a couple of them decided that they were going to have at it doggie style off to the other side of the pen. They would hump for three seconds, stop, then go at it again. This continued for a solid ten minutes and definitely made me feel shameful about my bedroom exploits. Although we all loved the monkey sex + feeding show, eventually we had had enough. Due to a couple members of our party's fear of the safety-featureless chair lifts, we decided to take the cable car back down the mountain, which proved to be much more frightening in my opinion, as we had to be crammed into a small space one on top of the other and transported at a very slow speed down a mountain.
|Colleen monkeying around. The sign reads, "If you're a dumb tourist make sure you pose beside this sign acting like a complete a-hole"!|
Back at our hotel, we were all pretty exhausted from our day out and the jet lag was definitely starting to hit us. We opted to go to an Italian restaurant not far from out hotel for dinner, cause, well that's what we do. We eat Italian food in Japan because we're all a bunch of weak-stomached-poutine-eating white folk from Canada. For the record, it was fucking delicious though! That night I unfortunately lost the "sleeping on the floor" lottery (we only had two rooms, each with one small bed for the five of us). As usual, I turned to my two favorite crutches: sleeping pills and Asahi beer.