A few years ago I had read about the Penis Festival (Kanamara Festival) in Tokyo. Kanamara Festival is always the 1st Sunday in April. ALWAYS! A few years later, I finally go to attend one of the most iconic festivals in Tokyo (Yokohama). But first, wanted to show you some great pics of my quick tour through Tokyo. From food culture to sex culture...check out the brief pic blog below.
1. Who doesn't get hungry? I pulled up Google/Yelp to see the most popular Ramen spots in Tokyo. This spot is 24hrs but always has a line. Standing in line gave me something to do and a place to rest before the next location. Ichiran is the Shinjuku.
Pork Ramen; The Vending machine was on point. It was great to interact with but the Hostess was able to tell you the best things to get so when you were ready to order, you didn't hold up the line. I had never had ramen in the US, so this was a treat to attempt ramen in a place notorious for its history. It's a fight between China and Japan on who owns the rights to say it's theirs. But either way, it was an honor to taste it in Japan.
2. You should always stay hungry when you travel especially in Japan. This was a sushi spot I checked out on Yelp. Known for its wait times but the fucking freshest sushi I have ever had. The service was incredibly traditional, the selection of sushi was set by the chef but the platter of food below cost me $20 USD. In the lower bottom is a long brown thingy...that would be Unagi/Eel...fresh w/ sauce! The only item I did not want to try was Uni w quail egg which is sea urchin. I just didn't want to get sick in a place I knew nothing about...so I stayed away from the left lower item. I do remember this place was in Shibuya which is a business and commercial district in Tokyo.
3. Leaving Sushi, I couldn't help the crowd gathered around this attraction which is a lingerie company that uses human size dolls to promote their items. As you can see, the anatomy of the mannequin/doll is exaggerated from what the average Japanese woman looks like. Many Asian countries will exaggerate dolls, comics, anime movies of the female mostly. This item was no exception.
4. It was getting late so I ventured off past the Anime store to the back alleys near the 7-11 and went upstairs to this bar. It's a cover fee but you also get 2 free drinks plus a glove to touch all the lovely vibrators that away from your purchase. You can either purchase in the bar or get a coupon to shop at their store. VIBE bar is worth the 2 drinks. You may not buy but the atmosphere and introduction to the Japanese private bar scene is everything.
5. The next day I took the train after train and jumped off into different neighborhoods. I really didn't know where I was but it turned out to be a very whimsical experience. After turning the corner, I was greeted by this hunky Japanese Manga character on the Eagle Tokyo window. This is a gay bar as in queer bar but any bar is a good bar as long as it serves alcohol. Got the opportunity to meet the owner and now we receive their quarterly zines depicting Japanese Bears!...yes there is a thing as Japanese Bears...Each bar was so small yet big enough. There are some things I love about traveling and wish they could be brought back to the use...like their retail and small business culture. Each bar was small but charged a cover and people consistently stuck to certain bars as though it was their home.
6. I visited over 10 adult or sex shops...or love shops as they are called in Japan. Tenga is a product line that Feelmore carries which ranges from masturbation products for men to soft intricate vibrators for women. Tokyo has a department store...store with multiple levels called Don Quixote. On one level of the dept. store, Tenga had a concept area which had many products but not many female products. There were great products some of which we can't get here in the US but we still brought products in that we found of value in the 'Red Box'. Tenga's signature color is Red and simple font screams loud that this is a love shop. The use of red is similar to the Korean sex shops in Seoul (container store). Red was a signal that this was a love shop. To the right of this Tenga store is an everything else sex shop as well. These small kiosks are intended but have everything you need. Smaller vibrators, other masturbation items were available but people were familiar with Tenga and it showed.
7. Now for the reason, I went to Tokyo...Kanamara. Here is a poster of a party that happens in Yokohama. It's been happening for centuries. It's a fertility festival that Sex Workers would come as well as parents would bring their young daughters to encourage fertility. Now, its an opportunity for tourism. I ate about 5 corndogs which were better than 'Hot Dog on a Stick' in the states! I'd go back just for that. Inexpensive to travel from the core of Tokyo to the outskirts of the metro area. Now the Kanamara is embracing past tradition but they have added the component to support and raise money and awareness of HIV/AIDS.
Looking forward to heading back in the future to see more of Tokyo but for now, this was enough for a lifetime. Step into Feelmore to check out items we brought back to showcase in the windows. We also have collectibles from Seoul and Thailand.