Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Japan Day 7

Ever watch Ninja Warrior on the G4 channel?  It's actually a Japanese show called Sazuke.  There's an obstacle course requiring various feats of strength and dexterity.  Contestants have to run through obstacles, balance over pits of water, and lift their enitre body weight on their fingers...crazy stuff like that.  Today we went to an indoor amusement park in Odaiba.  Odaiba is the city in the Tokyo bay so we got to take a monorail there.  The place was called "Muscle Park."  In one corner of the place was an area dedicated to Sasuke.  Unfortunately for me, they had 4 obstacles relying heavily on forearms and upper body strength. Although I was hoping to try some of the balance or speed obstacles, I still tried anyway.
Ann Marie went first, and she was awesome.  She nailed the airbike.  She had to hang off these handles that were actually pedals attached to a bicycle mechanism that was on a rope track.  Pedaling with you hands makes to bike move across the rope. She did this with no problem.
Next the cliff hanger.  There's a narrow ledge with room enough for only your finger tips and your supposed to carry your body weight across this ledge.  This was really hard, and Ann Marie didn't get far on this.
Then there was the Salmon Ladder which was like a pull-up bar from hell.  You have to do a pull up and sort of bounce the bar up a ladder without putting your legs down.  This was also really hard, and Ann Marie couldn't make it past the first step.
Finally there was the Ring Rail.  You hang on to these metal rings and slide them across rings with various steps up and down.  Ann Marie did pretty good on this too.
Steve was up next.  He almost made it through Airbike before falling at the very end, then had the same luck as Ann Marie and the next 3 obstacles.
Next was my turn.  I lifted my feet up and started pedaling the airbike.  I thought "hey this isn't so bad, I can do this!"  Then I got a shooting pain in my back and fell off.  I sucked total ass on the next 2 and managed to get to the first incline on the rings before falling to my foamy doom.  Even though, I gave a less than stellar performance, I still had a great time trying.
After that we went to SEGA Joypolis which is a collection of crappy games, long lines, and high prices.  I would not recommend this place to anyone, even though there seemed to be plenty of kids there.
Ann Marie broke off to do some shopping in the Odaiba mall, and Scro went to do his own thing, so Steve and I walked down to the Toyota Megaweb which was nothing more than a Toyota showroom with a few simulators.  In other words...crap fest.
After a quick stop at the hotel we went to Shibuya.  Shibuya at night looks like Times Square.  There are giant video billboards, and bright lights filled up by a sea of people.  There are arcades, gift shops, clothing stores, malls, restaurants, and more.  The place was on fire, even though it was raining out.
After the stroll through Shibuya we went to Shinjuku.  Shinjuku is also a crazy place.  It's similar to Shibuya until you enter the devil horned gates of Kabukicho which is Tokyo's largest red light district.  This was a pretty seedy place.  There were guys everywhere pedaling sex. Kabukicho was safe enough to walk through, but I doubt it stays safe once you follow one of these guys indoors.  Since Ann Marie was with us, everyone left us alone.  The buildings had large posters on them with pictures of young, attractive Japanese girls.  We quickly learned that only Japanese men were allowed to go into these places.  I guess it's hard to complain about discrimination if you're patronizing an illegal Yakuza run business in a foreign country.  There were other massage parlors and such that seemed to be foreigner friendly.  We also got to walk through the area of short stay Love Hotels.  These aren't brothels, just gaudy hotels with hourly rates for people who want to get it on with some privacy... or for drunk dudes who missed the last train.
After Shinjuku we searched for Karaoke.  One of the travel books recommended a place called Smash Hits.  It was in the middle of nowhere, and the place was dead.  We headed to Roppongi to try the next place on the list called Big Echo.  In Tokyo it seems that Karaoke with private rooms are more popular than in places with stages, so we went into Big Echo and got our own room.  This was good cheap fun. The food and drinks were good, and they had nearly every song we were looking for.
After singing our butts off, we called it a night.

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