Japan: It's Officially Bonkers

Before I went to Japan a friend told me 'It's totally bonkers, and then you go round the corner and see something that's even more bonkers'.

This gentleman is a Yakuza member. They are semi legal Tokyo street gangsters whose petty mischiefs are tolerated by the Japanese police in return for keeping the streets free of drugs. Although to be frank if this man isn't on drugs I worry for his sanity.

Japan is a country renowned for the simplistic zen beauty of its art. So WTF did the designer of the Tokyo subway map have going around his head? Harry Beck will be turning in his grave. At least the only English words tell us it's a subway map just in case you were unsure.

The world famous Japanese toilet. This one is a simple right hand drive version (with a heated seat). I did see one with music piped into the bowl and an adjustable back rest! Note appropriate reading material.

This is Pachinko an insanely popular game involving ball bearings. Think upright pinball. Think mind numbing.

I have no idea what's going on here but one can assume everything is endangered.

A poster on the Tokyo metro. Isn't it odd how it's always foreigners that create a nuisance?

This is the headquarters of the Asahi Beer Company in Tokyo. The tall building is supposed to look like a pint of beer with a head on it... as if that wasn't enough of a design travesty the company asked Philippe Starck to design a sculpture for the adjacent beer hall. Evidently it's froth blown from the 'beer glass' next door. The locals call it kin no unchi (the golden turd). How a genius like Starck can get it so wrong is beyond me.

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But it's not all bonkers. Shinkansen (bullet trains). They look like they're doing 200 mph even when they're in a station. Just awesome.