A Five-Step Guide To Japan With Last Dinosaurs

We can’t think of anyone more qualified to compere a Guide To Japan than an up and coming indie-pop band from Brisbane. Not only do Last Dinosaurs boast a 75% Japanese-heritage spread across the four band members, but they have actually been to Japan – several times! – and even recorded a Japanese version of their single “Time & Place”. You can stream the version exclusively and for the very first time right this instant:

Last Dinosaurs are releasing their debut album In A Million Years on Friday, 2 March, and if jangly indie-rock tunes and infectious power pop is your idea of a good time it’s in your best interests to check these guys out immediately. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Sean Caskey, guitarist Lachlan Caskey, bass guitarist Sam Gethin-Jones and drummer Danjuro Koyama AKA Dan who compiled this incredibly informative list of 5 Must-Do Things in Japan for Pedestrian. Included are pictures of random Japanese dogs, a few landscape shots, more food and “jackass” penguins.

Arigatou gozaimasu, Dan!

1. Go to a baseball game
Last time we were in Japan, Sam and I managed to catch a game of baseball and it was no doubt one of the best days we had. Up until then I had only watched ball games on TV in Japan, but going to the game gave me a whole new perspective on baseball. I had been to a game in America once, at Yankee Stadium, but it was a completely different spectacle. American fans were loud but in a shabby, obnoxious way. Japanese fans are really loud, but in an extremely organized and endearing way which is cool.

The game we went to was between the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (all Japanese baseball teams have a corporate sponsor, leading to ridiculous names like the Nippon Ham Fighters) and another team I can’t remember. It was actually a really shit game, a 0-0 tie that lasted 13 innings, but the whole experience was really fun. The best feature of watching a game of baseball is the people who walk around pouring beers from kegs of Kirin or Asahi on their back. We got so wasted, not!

2. Eat lots of food
Everyone knows how good the food is in Japan, but every time we go back it seems like we forget just how good it actually is. Even a pre-packed meal from a convenience store tastes unusually good. We’re pretty stingy when it comes to food usually but there are so many options for eating on the cheap in Japan that it suits us pretty well.

A favourite of ours is definitely Mos Burger. You can get Mos Burger here in Australia now but it is nowhere near as good. The chilli dogs in particular are extremely good value for about 200 yen (that’s around $2.50 or whatever).

In fact, any Japanese dish that includes sausage is bound to be delicious, because Japanese sausages are so good. I don’t know what they are actually made of, but the crunchy texture (sounds weird but is actually amazing) of the standard Japanese Frankfurt sausage is truly amazing and delicious.

Mos Burger

The Caskey’s [Sean and Lachie] favourite is without doubt chicken curry, and the best place for that is probably the chain CURRY HOUSE CoCo. There is a ridiculous variety of Japanese curry here and most of the stuff is under $10 so it is easy on the wallet. Of course there are tons of other places that serve curry rice as well and most of them are probably delicious too.

Delicious curry:

We definitely smashed a lot of Ramen while we were there too. One of the best chains is a place called Ippudo, but I’m not sure how many stores there are throughout Japan. In any case, a bowl of the worst ramen in Japan will probably be better than Wagamama anyway, so you can’t really go wrong. I’ve never actually been to Wagamama, but I heard that’s it’s pretty shit…

Do lots of shopping
Japan is the best place on earth to go shopping by far! If all of Last Dinosaurs compiled how much stuff they have bought from Uniqlo it would probably be enough to fill a whole store. For anyone who doesn’t know what Uniqlo is, it’s a little bit like American Apparel, but probably better and a lot cheaper.

There is probably Uniqlo in this photo:

If you want to check out the big Japanese brands like Uniqlo the best places to go are the usual touristy areas like Shibuya and Harajuku, but these places are crowded and pretty shit if you don’t know where to go. The cooler places are a bit further out of town but well worth it. Koenji in particular is great for used clothing stores. This was actually the place where we played our first show ever in Japan! We loaded in our gear and then just walked around the area buying stuff. Even though the area near Koenji Station is probably half the size of Fortitude Valley [in Brisbane], there are probably more used clothing shops there than the whole of Australia!

A dog:

Ride a bike
Most cities in Japan are really bike-friendly so if you can, try and rent a bike so you can get around easier. Even if you don’t ride a bike very often, the most common Japanese bikes are easy to ride and pedestrians are quick to get out of the way!

More often that not in Japan, many cultural or historical attractions in a particular city are clumped together within riding distances of one-other, so getting yourself a bike to use while you’re there is definitely recommended!

You can cycle to the zoo to see these rudely named penguins:

You can cycle to ice cold beer:

Catch the Shinkansen
Without doubt the most enjoyable and easiest way to get around Japan is by bullet train. The Shinkansen is truly an engineering masterpiece and the sight of the bullet train pulling in to the platform is one to behold. The train runs incredibly smoothly and reaches speeds of 300kph, but you can hardly feel it on board. Of course there are people who walk around with carts containing bento boxes, snacks and refreshments to make your journey all the more pleasurable.

Taken from the Shinkansen:

Bullet train, purring like a kitten:

Dogs are awesome in Japan and all countries:


Last Dinosaur’s debut album “In A Million Years” is out this Friday via Dew Process. They’re also off on a national tour with support from their buddies Millions. Tickets go on sale Friday 2 March!

Fri 13th April: Jive, Adelaide
Moshtix: 1300 GET TIX (438 849) www.moshtix.com.au

Sat 14th April: Amplifier, Perth
Moshtix 1300 GET TIX (438 849) www.moshtix.com.au Heatseeker www.heatseeker.com.au + usual outlets

Sun 15th April: Mojo’s, Fremantle
Moshtix 1300 GET TIX (438 849) www.moshtix.com.au Heatseeker www.heatseeker.com.au + usual outlets

Wed 18th April: National Hotel, Geelong
Oztix 1300 762 545 www.oztix.com.au

Thurs 19th April: Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Oztix 1300 762 545 www.oztix.com.au

Fri 20th April: Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Venue 1300 724 867 www.northcotesocialclub.com

Sat 21st April: Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Moshtix 1300 GET TIX (438 849) www.moshtix.com.au

Sun 22nd April: Transit Bar, Canberra
Moshtix 1300 GET TIX (438 849) www.moshtix.com.au

Tues 24th April: The Zoo, Brisbane (ANZAC Eve)
Oztix 1300 762 545 www.oztix.com.au

Thurs 26th April: Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
Oztix 1300 762 545 www.oztix.com.au Venue 07 4639 3264

Fri 27th April: Elsewhere, Gold Coast
Oztix 1300 762 545 www.oztix.com.au

Sat 28th April: Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast
Oztix 1300 762 545 www.oztix.com.au Venue 07 5443 9550


All Photos Provided by Last Dinosaurs