Surviving 8 Days In Tokyo

November 30, 2013

Mat's Blog

Stepping into Tokyo was like landing on Jupiter – it’s foreign in every way – and I was completely spellbound.

It’s a gorgeous, clean, crime-free city of such striking contrast; where ancient history meets Bladerunner modernity. They pray in gorgeous 2,000-year-old Samurai shrines and eat with chopsticks, and yet the futuristic robotized public toilets massage your butt and spray cologne on your dick.

Scott Russo (from Unwritten Law), Davin Dell’osa, and I were invited to host the infamous New Lex nightclub for a week (1am-6am, including one short acoustic performance), and the time passed in a beautiful blur.

Or as I texted my friend back home:

“…a relentless triple tasty rainbow of sleep deprivation, FDA non-regulated reptile dinners with transgender entertainers, club hosting with Japanese pop stars, Russian minors and Yakuza hitmen; flying home with a year’s worth of therapist fodder and at least standing pneumonia: Double happiness neon nausea.”

Our hosts were incredibly cool and unreasonably generous. They indulged all of my outlandish requests, brought us to the wildest places, and enabled us to truly suck the marrow out of the experience – (literally).

On one memorable night, on a street known as “Piss Alley”, we were ushered up a ladder to a tiny, smoke-filled room where we sat next to a rattlesnake fermenting in sake – and were served whole salamanders, pigs’ feet, raw pig testicles, frogs, and raw fish liver. The chain-smoking, pruned-up owner kindly apologized that the snake blood I asked for was “out of season”.

The Kimche (standard side-dish made of cabbage) tasted like crunchy Wetnaps, but everything else was delicious beyond description.

I started each morning with a breakfast of sea urchin sushi, sake and tea, and exploring alone – then would meet up for that afternoon’s scheduled activities. One day, they helped us hunt down the locations from Lost in Translation, then took us shopping in Harajuku (the “punk” area) (where the main street is literally called TAKE-A-SHITA), past a restaurant where robots duel on motorcycles, then on to a pet store that sells black-market monkeys the size of your thumb.

In addition to forging wonderful friendships with our hosts (Taka and Yuji), it was a blast to re-connect with westerners who were passing through on tour – my bandmate and brother, Elias, came by with Ke$ha and the entire crew, Chris Holmes dropped by with the Paul McCartney tour, as did the Avril Lavigne posse, Atoms for Peace, and the Burton Snowboard team.

I’m insanely grateful for the experience, relieved not to have ended up the subject of a Locked Up Abroad episode.

Even now as I write this, I miss my new friends and the city that opened my eyes, and can’t wait to visit again – even were I to possibly expire there next time.  :)

[Click any image to view full size.]


Shibuya Crossing

The New Lex posse


Disney cast and Boot and Taka’s birthday


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Alex Anfanger and Mike Rosenstein, and Davin being himself

Frog, pig ankles, raw beef, and sweet yam haagen-dazs

Police cruiser, Ritz menu



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Ornate sewer cover

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One of many examples of English words being hilariously hijacked by Tokyo fashion

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Statue outside temple

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Eating pig liver in authentic classic Japanese restaurant surrounded by chain-smoking businessmen

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Suspicious insignia discovered on my Google Maps

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Poster for Behind the Candelabra

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Tokyo bathroom graffiti

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Unless Kelly got a face transplant, this photo is mislabeled.

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Yozo’s rad jacket I wanted to steal

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You had me at “painful”

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Typical shop in Harajuku

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Gum with a clever title

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Cute sign in subway

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Vivian Westwood fingerless gloves that zip up into a puck-sized carrying case

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Disney cast at our Hello Kitty party

Jess from Brisbane with Hello Kitty

The aftermath

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Members Only clubs with cool names

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With Toru Yamashita from the band One Ok Rock

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Typical food for sale

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Hot Pepper Beauty magazine :)

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Taka showing us how it’s done

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Cool cosmetics store name

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About to perform with Scott Russo (Unwritten Law)

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Salamander skewers

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Fermenting rattlesnake

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Decor on the wall of the restaurant

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Things you just see

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Amazing neon

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Lounge band at the Park Hyatt – setting of Lost in Translation

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Davin in Shinjuku

The amazing Jess Mitchel


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A thermos that, I assume, catches your son’s urine in the car

View from Ritz lobby


The Burton team invited us to watch a snowboard contest… IN A MALL.

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Funny translation – they probably meant Garbage Capture Station

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Our view during dinner- an unbelievably sophisticated and spectacular performance by men in drag.

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Funny strip club name. I threatened to open up ELEVEN SLUTS next door and drive them out of business.

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Hairless Sphinx cat just judging and intimidating everyone.

Xmas light show

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What brand do you prefer? I like the Castor Melodics.

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Two little gems at the shrine

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Meiji Jingu Shrine

Mother and daughter

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My sleeping pills came with a cell phone cat charm.

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Funny restaurant name

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My toilet side by side with the Millennium Falcon

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Spidey – Osaka proportions

Ke$ha performing

Raw pig testicles (served cold with raw egg yolk)

In traditional food stall

Eating upstairs at “Morning Wood” in the infamous “Piss Alley”

More striking neon near Shibuya

A citizen with style

Classic misspelling that brought us great delight

Dinner with Takahiro Morita from ONE OK ROCK

Sushi and wine breakfast

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41 Responses to “Surviving 8 Days In Tokyo”

  1. Profile photo of LavenderPlanets
    LavenderPlanets Says:

    I’m just glad the snake blood was out of season..


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  2. adriannavhitry Says:

    Can you tell me, how can you meet with Toru Yamashita?


  3. kris Says:

    Mat – you never cease to amaze me. Love your videos and writing. The pig testicles prove you’ve ever been Fearless. Merry Christmas – hope we see you in the New Year!


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