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  • What's up everybody?

  • I'm Marko. You're watching Vagabrothers.

  • And right now we are in Tokyo, the capital of Japan.

  • I'm here in Japan to go on an adventure to Hokkaido.

  • It's home to the world's best powder snowboarding.

  • I'm going with a big group of friends from my college snowboard team.

  • It's a big reunion.

  • But first we've got 24 hours here in Tokyo.

  • I'm going to try to make the most of my time here in the capital.

  • I'm meeting up with my buddy Eric.

  • He's a friend from college.

  • He's been living here for two years.

  • He's going to show me around the city,

  • and we're starting off with coffee.

  • When most people go to Tokyo,

  • they do some of the same things.

  • They go to the big crosswalk called the Shibuya Crossing.

  • They go the fish market; they go to some of the shrines, some of the temples.

  • But my approach toTokyo today is going to be to go through different neighborhoods

  • and kind of get a sense of what it's like to live here

  • for the 35 million people who live here.

  • Tokyo's divided into twenty-three wards.

  • They're kind of like the arrondissement system in Paris,

  • but this is a gigantic city.

  • It's totally impossible to do it all in just a day or two.

  • But I'm going to do my best to soak up a couple different angles of the city.

  • So the first place I'm stopping is Nakameguro.

  • This is a very laid-back neighborhood.

  • There's tons of different boutiques, restaurants, and even decent coffee shops,

  • like the sidewalk place right here, sidewalk stand and the espressos are really good.

  • It's kind of where a lot of young families are moving and it's got a very, very, I don't know..

  • It's kind of got a hipster vibe,

  • but it's a pretty nice place to start off.

  • It's not over too much culture shock because there can be a lot going on.

  • When you first get to Tokyo, it can be very overwhelming.

  • Just yesterday I got completely lost on the subway,

  • and this place here feels a bit more familiar.

  • So it's kind of a nice way to start things off and see where the day takes me.

  • We've walked up the hill to the next neighborhood Daikanyama

  • and we're here at this really cool book store called

  • Tsutaya Books, and this is a legendary spot.

  • It's got tons of books for sale on the first floor,

  • an amazing collection of pens and then upstairs

  • a really cool lounge area with a bunch of very rare books.

  • One of the things that I'm most excited about with Japan is just the aesthetic.

  • I think that Japanese people have a very clean orderly look

  • about the way that they design things, and this bookstore really embodies that.

  • There's a lot of books here that are on design and on architecture and

  • the general layout of the store kind of embodies a lot of those good principles.

  • This is definitely a place where I would spend a lot of my time.

  • But we do have other place that we go check out,

  • so it's time to move on.

  • All right, this is a statue of a dog named Hachiko,

  • and it's like a common, I guess, meeting space.

  • So if anyone ever tells you to meet me at Hachiko,

  • you meet them at this statue in the middle of Shibuya Crossing.

  • We've been walking around and we just got to Shibuya,

  • Actually I ran into Finn Harries along the way who's here studying some architecture. Very random.

  • But anyways, we're walking around right now, and we're going to get some lunch at a sushi restaurant.

  • Now, the place we're going is nothing crazy.

  • There're tons of amazing sushi restaurants here in Japan that are like six person tables,

  • one serving a night, over a hundred dollars a person.

  • Most sushi in here in Tokyo is actually a lot less expensive,

  • and I actually have arranged this trip last minute.

  • I got invited last minute, made it happen last minute,

  • so a lot of those sushi restaurants you need

  • reservations like months in advance.

  • So what we're going to do is go here and get sushi

  • that's just a couple of bucks for each piece,

  • and it should be really good.

  • I brought you to this place because

  • I feel like it's more of a local sushi spot.

  • I feel like you could go here and can get really good sushi for under 20 bucks.

  • What do we have here?

  • Tuna. Tuna. Tuna. Tuna. Tuna. Tuna.

  • Walking through Shibuya, which is like a creative center.

  • There's a lot of high fashion, street fashion.

  • That's all these different boutiques around here...

  • kind of has like Soho vibes.

  • It reminds you that Tokyo is one of the centers of world fashion alongside

  • London, Milan, Paris.

  • It's almost sunset and we are going to round out the afternoon at the Meiji Shrine.

  • This is one of the most important places in the city.

  • It's essentially a gigantic park in the middle of Tokyo.

  • It's dedicated to Emperor Meiji who was the emperor in the 1800s,

  • who essentially modernized, industrialized Japan.

  • The shrine was built about a hundred years ago and

  • although it does not contain the Emperor's remains, it's still a very sacred spot.

  • The main building was actually destroyed in the air raids of Tokyo in World War Two,

  • but there was a fund to rebuild it, and they have.

  • And now it's a very popular tourist destination.

  • It's really cool to see how organized Japanese society is.

  • You literally have people going in on the left side and out on the right side.

  • As we get closer to the shrine itself,

  • there're these bottles are these barrels of sake and wine that are left here

  • in honor of the emperor.

  • Emperor Meiji, like I said, was the emperor that presided over the industrialization and modernization of Japan,

  • and they had this ethos of

  • Japanese spirit and Western ideas.

  • That was a time when Japan really began this process of taking ideas

  • or concepts from the West, such as industrialization,

  • and giving them a Japanese twist.

  • This is a Shinto shrine.

  • Shinto is a type of, basically an animistic form of religion,

  • that is indigenous to here in Japan.

  • It predates Buddhism and Zen,

  • and it basically has a set of rituals around cleaning yourself before you enter the temple.

  • Traditionally, you put water in your left hand and then you rinse your right hand,

  • and then you rinse the left hand and the dipper again

  • and then enter the shrine.

  • You can also give some donations of coins.

  • It's a place of religion.

  • It's a place of respect, and it's also just a beautiful example of Japanese architecture.

  • I really love the aesthetic of Japan,

  • and I think some of the shrines are one of the best examples of that aesthetic.

  • It's a Saturday and there was actually just a wedding procession that went by.

  • It's really interesting to see how,

  • even as I was saying Meiji was the emperor that modernized Japan,

  • it's still a country that really balances out modernity with tradition.

  • It's got super hyper technological advances all over,

  • but then there's stuff like this that's rooted in thousands of years of tradition and

  • it's a really beautiful mixture to see.

  • I mean you kind of see it's in someplace like Seoul in Korea

  • But, I mean, Tokyo so far to me that's been one of the coolest things that I've seen so far.

  • So we're now in the neighborhood of Harajuku,

  • and we're walking down Takeshita Street and this is kind of like a teenage fashion street.

  • This is where, according to my buddy Eric, Gwen Stefani

  • saw the style that kind of emerged from here back ten years ago or so and

  • copied it and brought it to the States.

  • Okay, so it's dinnertime and we just met up with Justin and Jason,

  • two of my friends from the UCLA snowboard team.

  • We are leaving for Hokkaido tomorrow evening.

  • But first it's time to have an essential Japanese experience dinner at Izakaya.

  • Izakaya is basically a gastropub.

  • You pay a flat fee and you get all sorts of finger food and as much

  • booze as you can drink in two hours.

  • So the homey Justin has joined us and Jason.

  • What up, Jason? Whoo, first time in Japan?

  • Yes, sir. Your dad is Japanese. Full Japanese.

  • Justin, you used to live in Japan, right?

  • I did two years... in a previous lifetime.

  • How stoked are you in going to Hokkaido?

  • So stoked.

  • Izakaya is like a gastropub in Japan

  • where you're drinking, you're eating.

  • It's usually like finger food stuff

  • that's quick and easy to eat,

  • not like a stiff traditional Japanese vibe,

  • more of like a fun social vibe, like you'll see here.

  • We got the Nomi Jota, all-you-can-drink version.

  • Bottoms up. Two hours to go for it.

  • Sake, sake, oh.

  • You never pour for yourself.

  • People pour for one another.

  • It's kind of part of this assimilation,

  • collective agreement people have with their food and drink.

  • As you'll see Jason has an empty cup still,

  • and not until someone decides to pour his sake is he going to get any.

  • One of the first things you notice when you come to Japan is that

  • people get really drunk here,

  • and that's kind of part of the society.

  • People work really hard;

  • they work really long hours and they don't have a lot of

  • ways to release that tension.

  • So when you are on the Metro,

  • sometimes we will see just someone just totally hammered,

  • and that is like not an uncommon sight.

  • Not speaking from personal experience,