31 Crazy Tokyo Experiences

Fun in Tokyo

Evolving post – more to come!

We came to Japan for the specific goal of diving into the country’s legendary craziness. We had visions of pouty Lolitas posing in front of multi-story video screens, robots performing the Nutcracker, warehouse-scale electronic sushi emporiums, and Gozilla peeking over a skyscraper down upon the city’s legendary street culture. Did we find it? Absolutely, it’s everything we ever dreamt of and more.

Over time, we have been building the ultimate list of quirky, crazy, weird, wild and wonderful activities, a sort of must-do menu of fun and kitschy Tokyo delights. Hai, dozo! Continue…

The Rockabillies of Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park Rockabillies

The Rockabillies of Yoyogi Park are, perhaps, the best example of what makes Tokyo so Tokyo. This city is all about awesome subcultures, retro tongue-in-cheek chic, music, and serious love for everything fun.

For more than 30 years, these Tokyo icons have been gathering on Sundays at the southeastern corner of Yoyogi Park to dazzle visitors with their dance moves, humor and extreme vertical hair. They don’t do it for money; they don’t ask for a thing. They just Continue…

The Red Spider Lilies of Kinchakuda

japan-spider-lilies-2

No, we didn’t come to Japan during the cherry blossom season. 🙁 But it turns out that Japan has a whole lot of surprises up is floral kimono sleeves. We just randomly stumbled upon this little known (outside Japan) event, the blooming of the red spider lilies of Kinchakuda (巾着田).

Located a mere hour outside Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, Kinchakuda Park lies on a forested bend along the shores of the Koma River. For about 8-10 days each year, a spectacular red carpet of lilies forms beneath the trees creating a fairy tale scene unlike anything we have ever encountered before Continue…

Our Crazy Antarctica Family

Click images in this post to enlarge

An unexpected highlight of our trip way way way down under was the cast of crazy, fascinating, wacky, spectacular, smart, hilarious characters that became our family aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. It had never really occurred to us before, but Antarctica attracts an especially awesome crowd of people.

These are people who value experiences above all else, people who treasure exotic destinations, wildlife, extraordinary landscapes and adventure. These people – both passengers and crew – are living a dream to sail to the edges of the earth. They don’t end up here by accident; they end up here because they think a bit differently from the average Joe. Throw in some zodiacs and a hula-hoop artist and you’ve Continue…

The Volcano, the Maiden, the Cloister and the Crepes

Arequipa's most famous volcano, Misti El Misti volcano rises behind Arequipa

You do have to wonder why anyone would think it’s a good idea to build a city in the shadow of not one, but three massive volcanoes. Hello, doesn’t anyone remember Pompeii? Apparently, the Spanish colonists had forgotten to read that chapter in their history books when they founded Arequipa in 1540.

Peru’s second largest city is strangely monumental considering it has been a magnet for natural disasters for nearly five centuries. Despite the volcanic rocking and rolling that periodically tests the city’s foundations, an impressive amount of the colonial-era sillar architecture remains. In fact, it might actually be that traditional use of the whitish, porous volcanic rock that has allowed the city to survive the quakes. It’s certainly those sillar buildings that have earned Arequipa its nickname, the White City, as well as its place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Continue…

Fallen Angel in Cusco

Fallen Angel restaurant

We love daring adventures: tracking wildlife in the jungle, clinging to sheer rock walls, crossing 17,000 ft passes in the shadow of crumbling glaciers. You wouldn’t think that a boutique hotel could rise to our standards of “epic” experiences. But then again, you’ve probably never seen Cusco’s Fallen Angel.

Bold, ostentatious, humorous, psychedelic, flamboyant and fun, you might expect Fallen Angel in Berlin, Paris or Tokyo. But it comes as a TOTAL shock in the 16th century colonial courtyard of a historical casa in Cusco. The moment you step into the restaurant-bar-hotel, you realize you have entered a parallel universe of art and ideas, a cultural statement meant to challenge assumptions about Cusqueña and Peruvian culture: this country is about Continue…

Makech

makech

We’ve seen some crazy jewelry over the years: neck rings, lip plates, ear plugs made with empty film canisters. But up to now, none of it has been alive. Makech (also written maquech) just might be the craziest piece of jewelry we’ve ever encountered. These giant bejeweled beetles are traditionally worn by Yucatec Mayan women for a night out on the town.

Thomas was so intrigued that he had to try one on for himself. Honestly, I don’t think it works with Continue…

Watch Where You Step!

scorpionfish

Watch out! There are some scary things a-lurkin’ in those rocks just offshore. And they blend in with their surroundings perfectly.  The scorpionfish above appears to have activated its cloaking device. Can you see it?

Just in case you can’t quite make it out, we’ve added Continue…

Still Much to Discover

Are you, like me, worried that the mysteries of the world are quickly coming to an end, that all great discoveries have been made, that the world is quickly becoming a boring place. Well, it seems that Mother Earth still has some surprises up her sleeve.

We recently introduced the mysterious oarfish to our visitors in the form of a rather questionable picture of the legendary Naga from Laos. By some strange stroke of coincidence, scientists recently managed to capture a living oarfish on film for the first time. It’s quite a surreal creature.

Other recent discoveries here in the Philippines also spark the imagination. Researchers have discovered a new, multicolored giant monitor lizard which can grow up to two meters long in northern Luzon. (You might remember that we have a special place in our hearts for monitor lizards.) And straight out of Little Shop of Horrors, scientist have discovered a giant, meat-eating pitcher plant in Palawan, although I don’t think it will be swallowing up any people.

Isn’t it great to know that there is still something to discover in a rather used-up world?

Legend of the Mekong Naga

Travelers visiting Cambodia and Laos are often shocked to discover a strange picture of American military men holding a 25-foot “Naga.” This mysterious animal, named after the legendary Hindu serpent deity, is said to have been pulled out of the Mekong by the American soldiers in Laos in 1973. Wow, that’s incredible!

Naga Picture

Except that it’s not true. In reality, the picture is far more domestic in origin than I would have imagined. The picture shows American military men in my home region of Southern California holding an oar fish. Although I’m a diver, I had never even heard of an oar fish until I started researching the picture on the Internet. Now, I realize there is yet one more amazing animal that I have to put on my must-see list.