I arrived in Tokyo late Saturday afternoon. Because I was exhausted by the time I got on the plane, I managed to sleep a decent amount on the flight. I was a bit confused by the trains, but found plenty of helpful people to ensure I arrived at my destination. So far, I have been impressed by how friendly everyone has been. The friendliness has helped with all the rain I’ve had to suffer through — my shoes are still wet.
On the first night I stayed in the Belmont Hotel near Asakusabashi station — there isn’t much nearby besides some small restaurants, but it’s a quiet hotel that far exceeded my expectations for $60 per night. It also wasn’t far from the much more interesting Akihabara neighborhood, which is where you go for anime/manga shops and a ton of electronics — I walked around the electronics mall for a little while and was amazed at what’s available and how helpful the staff is (BestBuy, et al. should take note).
After wandering the neighborhood a bit, I found some bars to check out. The Hot Dog bar was not my taste — a bit too noisy and very foreigner friendly (ok, so the latter part isn’t so bad). It was also rather cramped. Instead, I opted for the Maidreamin Maid Cafe. Really, how could I walk by and not at least check it out? Maidreamin was overly cutesy. I was told to call the maid/waitress over by putting my hands to my face and saying, “meow meow” like some ridiculous cat (and yes, the guys going to this place really follow what the maids say). I couldn’t stop laughing and wondering what I got myself into. It costs 500 yen per hour just to sit down. I figured that was enough time for a beer. I found it more amusing to watch the customers than the waitresses — I guess there’s a reason why you’re not allowed to take photos inside. Fortunately, I talked my way into getting one photo of one of the maids.
As disturbing and hilarious as the maid cafe was, I decided to pass on entering the girl bar that was along the way back to my hotel. I didn’t want to pay that much just to sit down. Plus, I figured it couldn’t be as entertaining as the maid cafe.
The only part of the first day in Tokyo that I was disappointed in was that I didn’t go into any of the restaurants along the river — it looked like there was one on every block. I didn’t notice the restaurants until after I had already eaten. But I still have a month to find new dining experiences.