Tokyo Part 1: Bboy Scene

Tokyo has been quite a place to be for sure. I've always wanted to visit Japan but didn't plan on coming here this trip because it is so expensive compared to that of Southeast Asia. 

So there's two airports in Tokyo. One is the large Narita that most international flights go into and then there is Hanaeda which is significantly smaller. 

So I caught the train from Narita to Asakusa where I was staying. The subway/metro system here is quite possibly the most confusing and expensive one I have ever been on in my life. I've been to a lot of cities and Tokyo's metro system is so dam confusing. There are several different trains that run on the same line, express trains that skip stops, and little or no english announcements. I was definitely spoiled by Seoul's Metro system which is the best in the world. 

Catching the metro

What I've noticed that works best is Google Maps in using the metro here. It tells you the exact times, where to change trains, and even the platform number. Now not everything about the metro is bad. It is actually extremely efficient. When a train says it's arriving at 04:03 it arrives at that time and is never late. There are also attendants to help you if you need assistance, which helps a lot because I was always getting lost.

The only reason I had actually decided to come to Japan was because of my friend Tung, who came for a Bboy Jam that he was invited to compete in. It's crazy meeting up friends from back home in a foreign country. So we met up in Shibuya at the famous Shibuya crossing where the statue of Hachiko the loyal dog stands. 

The famous Shibuya crossing with Steez and Amjad

To be completely honest Shibuya crossing isn't as big as I had originally imagined it to be. There's a lot of people, but the crossing itself isn't all that big nor are the buildings. Movies have totally made it seem like some enormous square with huge buildings. Maybe I'm just desensitized because I was in Korea for so long. 

At Shibuya I met Bboy Steez, who was hosting the Jam and housing Tung, along with Bboy Amjad from Switzerland who was the MC for the event. We walked through Shibuya and Harajuku checking out all the shops and cool sights. There are two Hip Hop stores in the area, one being Top Nation and the other Dancer's Collection. Both places are operated by people who are heavily into the Hip Hop scene here in Japan. Like the real OG's of Hip Hop that are respected in the scene. At Dancer's Collection pretty much only Bboys work there so you're going to get a true Hip Hop vibe when you're there. 

After walking around Shibuya and Harajuka we hit up Meiji Jingu. A shrine that was made for national prayer and peace in honor of Emporer Meiji. 

With the crew in front of a gate in Meiji Jingu

After hitting up the shrine we went to Yokohama. A chill port city with a Chinatown. There I had my first of many bowls of Ramen. I've eaten ramen just about everyday here. It simply doesn't get old no matter what. It's mind blasting!

A normal tonkatsu style ramen in Yokohama. Even the basic ramen here is utterly amazing.

After having that light snack we met up with some more people and walked around Yokohama for a while and simply enjoyed the sunset by the water. 

Fleau, Masta Minch, Tung Fu, Chizo, Amjad, Steez, Mimi, and DoubleU. Photo by TMFM

The following day was the big Jam, Vibe Out 5! Jams out here start a lot earlier than back home. It started at 12:00 when I'm used to them starting at 20:00. They say the reason is because they don't want people to miss the subway back home so they start earlier in the day or really late at night when the subway has already stopped running. 

I would have to say that Vibe Out 5 was one of the best jams that I've been to in such a long time. I felt totally chilled and really did just vibe out. What made it even better was that my favorite Japanese DJ was spinning on the 1s and 2s, none other than DJ Mar Ski himself. 

One thing I have to say is that the Japanese Bboys are some of the most welcoming and funniest there are. After having been in both breakin' scenes, Korea and Japan, I have to say that Japan is way more welcoming and friendlier. Being Korean myself just makes it even funnier. Personally I like the Japanese style of breaking more than the Korean style. The Japanese style is way more creative, fluid, wild, and fast. The Korean style feels more rigid, precise, and direct. Anyways I'll just stop there. 

The following day was just continuing the party. A huge group decided to head to Zushi Beach which is accessible by taking the subway there. That's one good thing that Japan has. You really can take the subway almost everywhere. Except for the fact that it cost me almost $20 back and forth, it's great. 

Chilling with my boy Tung.

Hanging with Bboys is always fun. My first few days in Tokyo were simply awesome. It was a total rush hanging out with old friends from back home and new friends in a completely new country. It felt like a roller coaster ride except there were no low points just good vibes the whole time. 

Well that's pretty much it for now. The second part will include more of the touristy stuff aside from hanging out with bboys. Like the more typical Japanese stuff that I expected to see like a sensory overload of anime. 


Peace out!