Joe, I read that you were going around Japan in a few days. As you know, I have lived there twice in different areas. If you would like I can tell you a few places you would love to see and some shit to avoid. Some great stuff to eat. Some food to REALLY avoid. Let me know mang, and I hope you have a great time. It really is a mysterious place.
I will do a bit of digging. I actually wrote an article about the top five Japanese experiences. I will see if I can find it. I will also try to remember the names of my favorite places. Tokyo means eastern capital and (cleverly) Kyoto means capital of the east. They were both capitals at one point. Its it sure that you can not veer from your path? Japan is not that big and the bullet trains are super fast. I say this because I am an expert in the island of Kyushu where I lived. And I think you should go there. In the next couple of days I will make you a couple of lists and such. Im glad you are going.
Eat tako yaki in Osaka, eat a steak in Kobe, Eat Tsukenu (fried shredded chicken shapped into balls on a stick). Eat at a yaki niku 焼肉. If you go to the yaki niku "viking" it just means buffet.
I know you planning on going to places like the Golden castle and Shibuya
But if you are in Tokyo just avoid Roppongi. The place is full of gangsters (not just kakuza, but also crypts and bloods) and catch bars. If you go there you WILL pay 40$ for a drink or something WILL happen to you. Just avoid it.
Go to Beppu. Thats where I used to live and it has the highest number of hotsprings in the world. Some are really old school, some are like the movie Spirited Away. Way favorite was one that came out of the sand on a beach and and hot spring made of mud. You can just hike around in the forest and find your own private ones too.
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