Location / Travel

Location / Travel


by Hiroki Yanagisawa on April 6, 2010 12:10 AM

EDGY JAPAN, on the move with you.

EDGY JAPAN is not just a website. As your resource of EDGY stuff in Japan, we organize EDGY JAPAN TOUR.

If you happen to visit Japan and looking for some edgy experiences, consult our EDGY JAPAN experience team.

Our tour plan is consultation or preference based, meaning there's no fixed itinerary. According to your preference, time, and budget, we will custom-made the tour for you.

The following article was written by Ms. Melanie Closs from New York City. Ms. Closs was looking for some local edginess and here's what we had offered.

If you are interested, please contact us.
EDGY JAPAN is a new website created by my new friend in Tokyo, Hiroki Hosoda Yanagisawa. It is a site created especially for travelers to discover parts of Japan that one might not find in a Lonely Planet guide. "Edgy Japan features edgy talents, products, and locations from Japan." How lucky was I to find Hiroki!

Hiroki offered to take me around Tokyo and show me some of these Edgy places. I will list the places we went to with a brief descriptions, and then reflect on the day, why it's Edgy, why I love it.

1. North Kameido
Tiny little old shops, very real, all in Kanji, no tourists

2. Renior coffee shop by the train station
Typical Japanese cafe, "Blend" coffee, "morning" set menus with sandwhiches. Nice atmosphere, empty second floor, very smokey-businessmen-reading-their-morning-paper kind of place.

3. Asakusa-bashi, wholesale district
Floors and floors of office supplies, art materials, wholesale materials for restaurants and establishments, colorful, fun, inspired me to want to buy random things in different colors and have groups create something out of it based on a theme. A lesson plan! Anyone remember that old catalogue Oriental Trading? It was like an entire shopping district of...that.

4. Lunch at Hanamaru
Good Udon and Tempura
(Self-service, cafeteria like udon noodle restaurant.)

5. Iriya Plus
Very cute atmospheric old cafe, owned by an artist who has lived in New York City and Korea. They are known for their pancakes, which we sampled with green tea ice cream and red beans (it sounds weird to a western taste-bud, but its really very delicious!) Hiroki himself goes to this particular cafe to sit for hours writing and thinking with his laptop.

6. Tokyo International Forum
A huge structure that almost feels like an upside down boat, clear glass and open space. THeres a great train-spotting window, and walkways that wind down the whole structure. Very open, design/engineer-tastic, a peaceful quiet space in the middle of the Tokyo rush.

7. Arch-Design exhibit
This was not a part of Hiroki's tour, but a random bonus that we stumbled upon while searching for an atm. We had been discussing architecture and modern design, and here we come upon a free exhibit in the lobby of a building with models of every famous structure in the world.

8. Nakano
Crazy intense overstimulating shopping, funky bars, little winding streets.

9. Kichijo-ji
We went to the British Pub chain in Japan called "Hub" for a beer. I find the fact that there is a British Pub chain in Japan highly amusing.

10. Iseya
The last place we went was a great restaurant in an open, warehouse, almost Williamsburg-y environment. The food was delicious and the atmosphere warm, but we were so exhausted from our adventurous day, and so hungry, that I ate too much too fast and felt a bit sick. hehe.

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Some train of thought musings on the day (an excerpt from my journal) Each place we went had a different vibe. It varied in size, energy, noise levels, people. Some places were full of energy, people, sound, technology, on-the-go-ness. Some were quiet, peaceful places where one could really think- like the Iriya Plus. The experience was also enhanced by the great conversations Hiroki and I had about art, architecture, cultural behaviors and perspectives. Observations.

At the end of the day, Hiroki asked me which places stick out in my mind, and the two places I liked best were the two very quiet places- the cafe and the big empty building. I dont know if thats just where Im at right now, or in the day, but although I am very much a city person, I am always drawn to places that are the eye of the storm. In a city like Tokyo, there is only always Storm, and you must have a storm in order to find the eye and appreciate the eye. I am very grateful that Hiroki could show me (and not just show me, but experience with me) those eyes.

Another thing that makes the experience unique and Edgy- the places he took me are not places where you feel like you have to see it, take a photo and then you're done- and you better hurry because other people are waiting in line! These are places you can EXPERIENCE, feel, touch, taste, live in, walk around, be a part of, feel like you live in Tokyo, as opposed to just visiting and checking it off the list. When I travel, I like to experience what it is like for someone who lives in the country/city, not what it is like to be a visitor. Edgy Japan offers that perspective.

If you get a chance to check out the website, I would highly recommend it. If you or anyone you know is traveling in Japan, please refer to Edgy Japan! You wont be disappointed.

Edgy Japan. Not Boring Tourist Japan.

Interested? Contact us.

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