Hi Japan Travel Blog | Chapter 2

r.j. kushner
4 min readMar 11, 2024

Naturally I have many thoughts about the famed bidet, all of them fresh and interesting. But as the booker for the Tokyo Comedy Bar told me unprompted in an email, the topic “has fallen into over-common.” I will say, however, that the toilet seats in the hotels heat up. They also have a special hook next to them with a bag designed specifically for vomit. I’m in heaven.

Woke up at 3 a.m. the day after our arrival in Tokyo. The hotel room was small and, I thought, charming. Nhi and I went for a walk around 6 a.m. and stopped in one of the city’s abundant 7Elevens to get a coffee and make a fool of myself in front of an employee there. He did his best to explain to me in hand motions that I was supposed to actually buy the coffee before pouring it into the styrofoam cup. I thanked him and graciously treated him to a show of me confusedly fumbling with my coin purse for two minutes before paying.

We resumed our walk and came across a statue of Chiori, who was Japan’s first therapy dog, according to the plaque. She was a rescue and a student of Lacan.

The same plaza with Chiori (and her five puppies) had a small, circular foot massage station where you take your shoes off and walk around stepping on tortuously arranged rocks and pebbles. I screamed the entire time and felt great after. Across from that was an outdoor stall that you were allowed to smoke in.

On our way back to the hotel we swung by another convenience store chain called FamilyMart. They have a product called Coke Plus, which claims to not only be sugar-free, but to also transform your existing fat into muscle. It’s obviously ridiculous and I’ve yet to figure out how I’m going to transport 100 cases back to Chicago with me.

We circled the Tsukiji Fish Market for hours, eating the entire time. Never a big “seafood fella,” something came over me in this particular street market and I ate half the Pacific Ocean, downing scallops, an eel on a stick and assorted fish balls, all while standing next to a guy wearing cat ears and a stuffed iguana on his shoulder.

Nhi and I also both slurped down a raw oyster, drizzled with vinegar, lemon juice and soy sauce. The shell was rocky and hairy and salty. It was bracing, like getting a mouthful of salt water, but in a good way.

Later I mistakenly ordered a King Crab leg the size of a human arm. It was cooked in front of us with a little hand-held flame thrower (there’s probably another name for that). We ate it greedily while standing outside in front of the grill it was cooked on.

We did some shopping in a clothing store with 12 floors and mannequins that spun around in the windows like rotisserie chickens. I bought a t-shirt.

After shopping we took one of the country’s famed “Bullet Trains” to Kyoto. The trains are revered for always being on time, but as luck would have it, this one was delayed, leaving us standing in the cold for 50 minutes. The cause of the delay, according to the board at the station, was “flying objects.” Understandable.

I managed to catch a glimpse of the front of the train and it looked like a giant schnoz. The goal, once we boarded, was to stay awake for the duration of the two-hour ride to avoid succumbing to jet lag again. I sat down determined and slept like a baby in the womb.

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r.j. kushner

Dubbed by the New York Times as “all out of free articles this month.”