It’s already two months ago since I visited Tokyo, but it feels like I’ve been there last week! It would be understated if I’d say that I loved it there! Some of you may have watched the little video edit I posted on my Instagram in January, but there was a lot more that I saw. So I thought I’d give you a little insight to some other things I visited. 🙂
We, my parents and my brother, arrived after 12 hours of flying, on the 29th of December at 9 AM in Narita Airport. At first, I didn’t feel any jet lag nor was I feeling tired as the only things I did in the aeroplane were eating, writing on a current story of mine and actually sleeping – and I was obviously very excited to see Tokyo. But before we hopped into our bus that brought us to Tokyo Station – which was pretty big, but not as huge as Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station of the whole world with over 200 entrances! – we needed a Suica Card. A Suica Card is basically like a mobile phone prepaid for the Kantō Region (the region where Tokyo is) – you charge it with money and you can travel with the subway and pay with it in the most supermarkets and vending machines (I’ll tell more about these later). So, this might not be very noteworthy, but I’m mentioning it because we needed one hour just for finding a Suica vending machine – and they’re basically everywhere. Just that you don’t forget – we didn’t even leave the airport. Everything is huge there!
So, back to the more interesting part – after the whole travelling with the bus, finding our path through the Toyko Station and finally do the check-in at our resort The Prince Tower Park Hotel – what was a whole adventure itself – we already began to feel the tiredness we had and decided to just look around a little bit in the Minatō-ku Region. We took some pictures of the shrine that was just next to our hotel and of the Tokyo Tower obviously and went to a little restaurant to eat some Ramen – the most common Japanese food I guess.
A little preview of the region Minato–ku – the picture probably was made on the Tokyo Tower. (source: muza-chan.net/aj/poze-weblog3/maruyama-kofun-view-tokyo-tower-big.jpg)
The day after the flight:
The next day was way more exciting than the first! My mother had a little culture shock the next morning, so we went to a cute “European” café just next to the Zojō-ji temple and had some croissants and coffee – or at least my parents drank coffee. I wanted to take the chance I had and drink Matcha Latte – basically green tea powder with milk and looots of sugar (I’m addicted to it!). After that, we took the J-Rail and went over the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba – the ‘Electric City’.
My breakfast in the eastern-European café! (source: my property)
Did you know that there’s a Statue of Liberty in Tokyo? Because I didn’t, and I was quite surprised when I saw it in Odaiba! The Gundam Roboter wasn’t a surprise to me as I already knew that it was there – a huge “robot” in front of a huge mall, you can see it in my video edit – but I liked it as much as I liked my new Snoopy-sweater I bought there! We also went to an exhibition of the future cars of Toyota. My favourite one was the car that didn’t use any fuel but water!
The Statue of Liberty in Tokyo and the Toyota I just talked about (sorry for the horrible quality!)! (source: my property)
My favourite experience:
Visiting Odaiba was my second favourite experience in Tokyo. And, now you’ll ask – what was the first one? The cat café in Shibuya!
Japanese people tend to have a weakness for the bizarre – but what they tend to love even more are cute things. Cute beverage, cute animals, cute clothing, cute cafés … No wonder that this café was very vivid when we went!
It’s basically what the name says – it’s a big place in the middle of the metropole, with lots and lots of cats, adorably decorated coffee and a lot of books. Yes, it’s basically heaven. The cats there are in a very good order, there are strict rules so that they can have a good life and the employees there have the cutest uniform I’ve seen in my entire life. If I have the possibility, I think I will work there sometime in my life, because really – that’s my favourite place in the world.
A cute cat which was taking a nap and my mother petting another cute cat which was taking a nap. (source: my property)
Little but outstanding things I noticed there:
Probably the oddest thing I saw during these ten days were the ridiculously plenty of vending machines! There are vending machines of beverage in every corner, there are vending machines of pizza, vending machines of anime figures, vending machines of vending machines … Okay, the last one isn’t true, but really – there are vending machines for everything you could imagine! I have a whole collection now in my library full of cute bottles of the funny and cute beverage of these vending machines!
An also very funny thing I noticed is that the whole ‘PPAP’-song (pen-pineapple-apple-pen – you’ll probably have heard about it on social media, it was very viral for some time) seems to be a really big thing in Japan! There were whole booths with the PPAP-song playing, and also a lot of merchandise!
PPAP advertisement in an electric supply store in Shibuya! (source: my property)
One thing that disappointed me:
But I’ll have to say that there was one thing I didn’t like about Tokyo. To be more exact – one region in general. Some otakus will hate me for this, but I couldn’t stand the stay in Akihabara. My parents and my brother thought the same way, so that’s the reason why we got away from there very quickly.
It was nothing like I imagined it to be. Akihabara is claimed to be the paradise for people who enjoy reading Manga or watching Anime, because there are a lot of stores with merchandise – even for the unpopular series. There are also a lot of game centres and other electronic things. I don’t consider myself as an “otaku” as I don’t really watched a lot of Anime or read a lot of Manga, but I like the Japanese drawing style and everything I heard or read about Akihabara sounded very nice – but I guess we had bad luck there.
I wanted to buy a figure of my favourite anime (for the curious ones – Shinya Kougami from Psycho-Pass) and my brother wanted another one from another series (again, for the curious ones – Vegeta from Dragon Ball). So we went to a shop to buy these figures. Before we went there I looked up how to ask where these figures we looked for were. But the guy behind the table didn’t even notice me at first when I tried to ask. He was playing a video game at that moment (that guy was supposed to work there, not to play video games!), so I kindly asked a second time, louder this time. I didn’t understand what he responded after that, but it didn’t sound very nice. My brother found his figure very quickly as it’s one of the most popular Anime that exist, but I had to left without my figure.
So, I already was a little bit disappointed. But that wasn’t the only thing. We entered to a game centre just to look how it was inside after that, and it really was nothing how it was claimed to be. It smelled awful, a mixture of cigarettes and burned machines, and it was full of people that were addicted to these games. Not only was it very sad to see in which condition these people were, but also very disgusting as soon as we noticed what kind of games they were playing. No wonder it was prohibited to take photos there …
An Akihabara stock photo due the day – it looked nothing like that. (source: http://www.japan-guide.com/g9/3003_01.jpg)
And finally – the most special experience:
The most special thing I experienced in Tokyo was New Year’s Eve, New Year’s and the day after New Year’s! It was nothing alike in the western culture. Instead of fireworks and loud parties – fireworks are only a thing during the summer in Japan –, there were spiritual ceremonies in the shrines and a balloon festival so to say. But that was only a special thing our hotel did – basically, every guest went out to the park next to the Tokyo Tower, got a balloon and we all let the balloons go as soon as it was Midnight. There’s one scene in my video edit where you can see that experience – it was the best New Year’s Eve for me by far!
It’s a tradition in Japan to visit one’s relatives on Christmas – even if Christmas is something like Valentine’s Day for the Japanese people – and in the first days of the year. As a big part of the habitats in Tokyo only live there because of their job, it was emptier during these days. We went to the emperor’s speech and saw him on the second day of January, and it was one of the most impressive things I experienced – there were so many people, I’d say about 500 000, but not a single one was impatient nor embittered! I didn’t understand a thing the emperor said – not because it was loud (did I mention that I’ve never visited such a huge but also such a quiet city?), just because my Japanese skills are on the beginner level – but I felt so happy because everyone around me was. An old woman next to me started crying out of happiness, and it just was a very unique yet powerful atmosphere around me.
The view from the Tokyo Tower featuring the beautiful sunset on the last day. (source: my property)
I really hope to go back to Tokyo – or Japan in general! – as soon as possible. It almost feels like I belong to that beautiful city full of different faces. I hope that you liked this insight as much as I liked my stay there! See you soon!