For The Weekenders: J-Land Special…Part 2

Alright…! Recharged and ready to go, welcome to the second part of For The Weekenders: J-Land Part 2.

I remember on one of my visits to Japan going to see the Statue of Liberty

Wait – what…? Statue of Liberty….? Well, it’s definitely possible, and can be seen in a little place called Odaiba.

What and where, is Odaiba you ask…? Odaiba is a large, unique, artificial island located in Tokyo Bay, across the rainbow bridge from Tokyo…Grab a water bus from Hinode Pier to get there, just a short walking distance from Hamamatsucho station on the Yamanote line, and take in the sights as you leisurely cruise your way over.

Initially being built for defensive purposes, Odaiba is now more of a place full of attractions and shops, including Burberry, an arcade that houses all the usual favorites like racing and fighting games, food, and a car theme park.

Being an enthusiast of automobiles, naturally Toyota Mega Web is the first place I went…they have a museum of cars from past decades….

minolta toyota car

As seen in Gran Turismo 4…

….oh, and did I mention you can test drive cars on an actual track and try out the simulators that actually act how a car would if you crash…?

simulator

Yeah.

Check it out here now. It’s one place you won’t want to pass up. Be sure to take plenty of pictures, a stroll on the boardwalk, grab an umbrella from Burberry, and hit up the food court for some seriously delicious items such as these:

Fucking. Yum.

There’s loads more to do, but I’ll leave the rest to you to discover.

Feeling a bit upper class and wanting to see Tokyo, also known as The Metropolis from a bird’s eye view? Then it’s time for you to check it out from a ¥90,000 yen view (roughly $900), with Excel Air.

Charter a helicopter from them, grab about four or five of your closest friends…heck….ditch the friends and bring a date…and prepare to take a look at this breathtaking city day or night….and in my book, the only way to travel is to make it memorable.

I'll go with sunset...

I’ll go with sunset…

I’ve known some guys to take girls on things like this during White Day in Japan (a holiday in March where a man gets the opportunity to show mutual affection for a woman who’s given him chocolates/gifts on Valentine’s Day the month prior). If this doesn’t make you want to get your pilot’s license, I don’t know what will.

An experience of a lifetime, tours leave from Urayasu Heliport near Maihama station on the JR Keiyou line.

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No trip to Japan would be complete without ramen. I know, I know, common, well known, most talked about food…but it’s not just about eating the ramen…it’s about discovering, the best, most memorable ramen known to mankind. There are many shops – few that are remembered.

I myself like to find the smallest, most whole in the wall type place – you know, the type where the front door on a cold winter day is a big plastic “sheet” for a wall…sit down, look at the few selections they have, and order. I usually wait for the chef to bring it over, and being a foreigner he waits to see just what I think of it and how well I can actually eat it (there’s a certain skill that’s developed – no forks here folks). Slurping is a GOOD thing…no slurpy, equals a pissed off and insulted chef. So slurp, slurp away my friends and gain respect.

Impressed with each other, I usually leave stomach full, taste buds content, and the guy across the counter usually shoots a firm but warm smile my way as he hears “gochisousamadeshita” as I shuffle out hand in the air as a goodbye.

Ahh, Japan…

– Rego

For The Weekenders: J-Land Special…Part 2 is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

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For The Weekenders: J-Land Special…Part 1

This afternoon I was going through my book collection and came across what I would call my nightlife bible, when I was living in Tokyo…and then I had the idea to share it with you all. So for this For The Weekenders guide, I figured I would share, a few of the most memorable, entertaining, and unforgettable spots I’ve been to and stayed at. Best part is you can find out more info on most of them if you pick up any Time Out Tokyo book. Enjoy.

Ageha. I remember the days when I used to be really into clubbing…though still fun, I’ve switched to more low key and slightly upgraded venues of entertainment. Not at all saying however that places like Ageha aren’t worth your while. At that time, being extremely interested in music (back in my DJing days), a group of people who I had become close friends with invited me out to what is known for being the biggest club in Tokyo.

Big, being an understatement.

Big, being an understatement.

Picture this: A shuttle bus picks you up in Tokyo (more specifically, Roppongi Dori) every half hour from Shibuya, for free, and transports you and your friends to Shinkiba, Koto-ku. From there you get off the bus and immediately into a line where you must have photo ID. No ID, no fun. It costs roughly ¥4000 (roughly $40 USD) to get in, but it’s worth it and I’ll tell you why.

pic-ageha

Once you get past the (surprisingly) unfriendly doormen, you step inside, pay for your ticket and are given a coin locker key to put your personal belongings in. With that ticket you get 2 drinks of your choice, so you can start mellowing out immediately at the island bar near the exit. The coolest part? When you use up those 2 free drinks, and you just want a beer…the dreaded bar line wait is optional.…that’s right my friend – with Heineken vending machines by the bar and dotted throughout the facilities, all you have to do is pop in some yen and away you go….to the outdoor dance floor and pool area.

ageha-studio-coast

That’s right…Ageha has not one, but three dancefloors for you to choose from. Kinda like me and don’t feel like dancing after doing it for 2 hours straight? That’s alright, just kick back and relax in any one of the numerous, unique, various bars and chill out areas, all providing different genres of music (as do the dance floors). Ageha – for when you have a want to do things BIG.

Still have a music itch but hungover from the night before? This is where my favorite cafe of all time, Rhythm Cafe, comes into play (pun intended). This is the only place, next to some spots in Porto, Portugal, I would go for coffee….why, you ask? Well, they serve my favorite – rich, smooth, excite every taste bud Segafredo Zanetti coffee. I always, always used to order the Cappuccino ..and with how serious I’ve realized Japan is about customer service and experience, the staff at Rhythm don’t just make coffee…they reinvent it.

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They also have an extensive music selection and comfy couches…comfortable seating is always numero uno in my book.

They don’t stop there, but have live djing some nights while turning into a lounge bar. In fact, the talented and super chill Michael Munoz has graced the place with his presence more than a few times to DJ. Four words – Japan, I love you.

party3

Their desserts are awesome, and the music twice as nice, especially during the day, when they play music from Thievery Corporation, Thunderball, RJD2, and Bajofondo. This is a great place to hang out and get some work done if you run a business remotely, meet up with friends, or impress that first date.

Last, but not least….let’s talk about a place that’s real fun. Fun as in a dance floor you can get up on and “shake your money maker,” whether you’re a guy or girl.

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The well known Arty Farty sign. A marker for a damn good time.

Arty Farty is one of those places everyone – and I do mean everyone, can enjoy. Known as more of a place that is well known and frequented by foreigners, unlike my usual neverending search for great predominantly local spots, this is one bar I can say has my A+ rating…and that’s a tall order to meet.

What makes this place so unique and sets it apart from others? Well, numerous reasons, the main one being the crowd.

Arty 2

Usually, after going out enough, you begin to see a pattern that can be boiled down into 4-5  different kinds of hang out places in Japan – the type where you see mostly locals….the type where you see mostly foreigners….the type where you see a slight mix of locals and foreigners….the type where it’s men only…and the type where it’s women only.

Arty manages to make all of these melt together, in turn making visiting this place one fascinating, memorable cocktail story.

I have met numerous people in here from literally all. Over. The world. I have met people from all walks of life in here…and I have met people of all different ages in here.Arty Farty

Arty is a straight, bisexual, lesbian, and gay friendly bar… in saying that, this place has such an air to it that when walking in, within the first 15 minutes you literally see all hatred and assumptions dissipate like vapor. Be prepared and be sociable, as this is the kind of place where people love to socialize, and you’re bound to end up having someone strike up a conversation with you simply for the sake of being friendly…

….and if you’re invited up on the escalated dancefloor, congratulations – you’re doing something right.

The place is cramped but the bartenders are always accommodating, drinks great (try the mint-flavored beer), and music, lighting, and club effects interesting and fresh.

You haven’t gone dancing until you’ve gone to Arty.

Have a great weekend.

– Rego

For The Weekenders: J-Land Special…Part 1 is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

For The Weekenders: Jet Set Dining, Izakayas, Let’s Sail Skipper

It’s Thursday again…meaning fresh ideas for what to fill your weekend nights with.

So check out these 3 top spots I highly recommend that will leave you wanting more:

Daikaya Izakaya, D.C. – I remember my days of living in Tokyo, going to izakayas and lounge bars with friends and late night coffee after…often walking down the streets some hour in the A.M. taking in the less crowded sights of the Metropolis that nevers sleeps. When I found myself back in the states for a while, it took time to adjust and whenever the urge for hitting up a good izakaya or Japanese styled bar struck, I could never quite find one with that authentic feel. This, is where Daikaya Izakaya comes in.

乾杯!

The place is packed with authenticity, from the snacks and booze upstairs right along down to the ramen on the first floor. The sights and smells all pull you into a world that, if you never stepped outside the front door, maybe added a couple of forty-something Ojisans and change the menus to complete Japanese script, would actually make you feel like you’re (back) in J-Land. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend popping in. Check out the gallery to see what I mean here, and the full article on the UD site.

Let’s Sail, Skipper… – Okay, okay, so I know I talked about things to do in San Francisco last week, but I’ll make it brief so hear me out: Sea salt filled air, sails, rum, and a four man crew (minus the dead man’s chest).
I’m talking about private excursions on an 84′ America’s Cup Race Yacht, or a more casual day trip around SanFran Bay, only to be topped off with checking out what other things Pier 39 has to offer.

Land ho.

The best part is you don’t need to know a thing about sailing, but if you want to get in on a bit of the action it’s certainly not discouraged. Check out their website if you’re up for unleashing that inner sailor in you.

If you’ve had experience in the dating world, or a relationship for that matter, after a while, dinner and a movie seems pretty drab…

Jet Set Dining is here to jazz that up for you.

Hailing from Miami, these guys really take it up a notch…and they do it a little like this:

You grab your date’s hand to lead her to the restaurant…dinner and conversation being something she’s done before, she’s curious to know how this time will be different but not exactly ecstatic.

But wait – what’s this…you’re not walking towards a restaurant, but what seems to be a private jet. In order to get to the restaurant, you must first go by plane, because – “well hun, the restaurant is kind of on a remote little island – I lied about it being a stone’s throw away…” you shrug saying as you non-chalantly run your hand over the back of your head trying to keep a cool, suave expression.

I also kind of lied about it being a quick drive…it is – but it’s just…in the air…with a plane…minus you know…pavement…But hey – did we or did we not skip traffic?

Surprised, you both board the plane where the usual safety precautions are taught while you pop open some bubbly and hand a glass to your pleasantly surprised date while trying your hardest to avoid a cheesy French accent and Cheshire Cat grin as you instruct them to “relax and enjoy the sights,” knowing you pretty much just owned the night with this one little hat trick.

I know where I’ll be dining next weekend.

– Rego

For The Weekenders: Jet Set Dining, Izakayas, Let’s Sail Skipper is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life