simonc's Tokyo's Best Stuff is great, but let's face it, there are quite a few things in Tokyo that are not "best", but would be better described as terrible, horrible, no good or downright very bad. Being the kind person that I am, I'm going to tell you why people go to these places or do these things, why you shouldn't, and suggest where you should go and what to do instead.

Disclaimer: I'm not including stuff on this (merely) because of personal dislike, I'm including them because well over 90% of the people I know -- 100%, in the case of shirako, and I'm including my Japanese buddies here -- share my dislike. By all means go to these places and/or try them out if you're interested, I just think that there's much better stuff to be found in Tokyo and that you will miss absolutely nothing if you skip these...

Places to Avoid

  • Ginza, the most expensive shopping district in the world
    • They go because... they think there's a lot of neon there
    • You shouldn't go because... there's neon everywhere else in Tokyo as well
    • Instead, try... Akihabara, Shibuya or Shinjuku. To be fair, Ginza is worth a visit once just to gawk at the $1,000,000 necklaces in department stores like Wako and Mitsukoshi, but you do not want to touch, eat, drink or (God forbid!) buy anything in the Ginza, you'll get much more yang for your yen anywhere else in Tokyo.

  • Ikebukuro, yet another busy train station with department stores and restaurants out the wazoo
    • They go because... umm... well, for most part they don't.
    • You shouldn't go because... in this particular case the lemmings are correct.
    • Instead, try... Shinjuku for an even more humongous train station, bigger buildings, more shopping (even the camera shops are better) and better nightlife; or Odaiba if you really need to go to a Toyota showroom

  • Kasumigaseki/Nagatachou, the home of the Japanese bureaucracy
    • They go because... they get lost on their way to or from the Imperial Palace
    • You shouldn't go because... you're smarter than they are
    • Instead, try... to find your way to the Imperial Palace via the northern entrance at Kudanshita, in which case you can visit Yasukuni Shrine on your way and entirely avoid the bureaucrats

  • Roppongi, the center of nightlife for desperate gaijin

  • Tokyo Tower, Tokyo's carbon copy of the Eiffel Tower
    • They go because... they think it has the best views
    • You shouldn't go because... it costs over 1000 yen to get to the top
    • Instead, try... the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office in West Shinjuku, which is taller, funkier and has two free observation platforms with better views
Things to Avoid

  • geisha, lute-plucking women with lead-painted faces
    • They are interested because... they think geisha are exquisitely beautiful and well-trained artisans of the senses
    • You shouldn't be because... nearly all geisha are the same age but not as sexy as your grandmother, and you would have to hock a kidney to pay for an hour of listening to one croon and abuse cat gut

  • natto, fermented soybeans
    • They eat it because... they think it can't taste as bad as it looks and smells
    • You shouldn't eat it because... it tastes worse

  • shiokara, fermented squid guts
    • They eat it because... of temporary insanity?
    • You shouldn't eat it because... it is no less than the vilest stuff on Earth, and this is from someone who likes rotten eggs, sheep testicles and raw horse meat

  • shirako, fish sperm
    • They eat it because... they don't know what it is
    • You shouldn't eat it because... you do know what it is, and trust me, it's not any better than homemade monkey spunk

  • sumo, big fat men in diapers slapping each other
    • They dig it because... they think it's a beautiful expression of Shinto martial spirit, or
      they think it's funny to see big fat men in diapers slapping each other
    • You should dig it too, but only... by watching a match on TV, because the seats at the sumo stadium are designed for Japanese midgets, you'll need binoculars to see anything and every minute of actual wrestling is accompanied by two hours of rituals

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