Japan: it was all lost in translation 1


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I’m a bit of a sucker for the Sofia Coppola film, Lost in Translation. For me it scored the hat trick with funny, poignant and cleverly observed. I’m also a bit of a sucker for Japan. It’s such a land of extremes that it’s difficult not to be impressed.

I decided that this was the trip where I’d pay homage to the film and scoot up to the 41st floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel. This is where the cocktail bar scenes were filmed. The hotel is one of the fanciest and most expensive in Tokyo and the New York bar is pretty plush.

I had read about extortionate cover charges to get into the bar, such is its fame, and after 8pm was the time I had heard. Organised as ever, I arrived at 8.03pm. But a toasted ciabatta and a drink later, there was no sign of an additional cover. Beer costs 1100 ¥, just over £6, and cocktails start at under £8 so a wee trip up there won’t break the bank. There’s an additional service charge of 13% (tips are not expected in Japan).

I sat for hours, watching the twinkly skyline lights of Tokyo. And marking homework. Sorry that’s not very Lost in Translationy. My camera doesn’t have a flash but here are some pics.

New York bar, Tokyo

New York bar, Hyatt hotel.

New York bar, park Hyatt hotel Tokyo

Park Hyatt hotel Tokyo

There’s nice orange scented hand cream in the ladies next door.

To get to the Hyatt, take the subway to Shinjuku. That’s one of the busiest stations in the world but the whole underground system seems very polite and orderly, so no need to panic. Nor concern yourself with the fact that more than 3 and a half million people use it every day or there are 200 exits.

Tokyo subway

All very orderly, with electronic cuckoos chirping in the background.

You are aiming for this sign on the way out. There are only another 199 to try if you miss it. (I was guided along the way by half a dozen or so really friendly Japanese commuters)…..

Shinjuku station, Tokyo.

Shinjuku station, Tokyo.

Then you walk along this long corridor……

Near the Tokyo Metropolitan Governemnt office.

Near the Tokyo Metropolitan government building.

…until you hit the entrance to Shinjuku-Chuo Park about 500 metres later. You will know when things turn a bit green and leafy. Don’t go into the park, take a left, keep walking straight, past a couple of junctions and the tall Tokyo Tower which houses the Hyatt on the upper floors is to your right. You can’t miss it, if you ask another dozen or so people.

Combine this with a trip to Shibuya crossing, less than 10 minutes away by subway from Shinjuko, and you’ve got a Lost in Translation themed evening, taking in two of the busiest and most neon areas of town (excluding Electric Town where you do the Robot café, the cat cafés and the maid cafés).

Neon at night in Tokyo.

Neon at night in Tokyo.

At Shibuya, again a record breaker in terms of pedestrian numbers, you need to participate in the the obligatory walking back and fore over the road (with or without clear plastic umbrella), and then sit in Starbucks or another junction cafe to watch others participating in the obligatory walking back and fore across the road. Numpties.

Shibuya crossing

All go at Shibuya crossing.

Shibuya crossing tokyo

Shibuya crossing, Tokyo.

By Jen

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