I’ve put this post off for so long because I just can’t bear to admit it’s over. In my mind, I’m still wandering through the many neighborhoods of Tokyo with Andrew, pouring over our travel guides in the attempt to find the best possible ramen or sushi in the area and walking under the cherry blossoms and in and out of brightly colored shops until my feet scream at me and we’re forced to sit and people watch for an hour or two until making our way back to our tiny, but wonderful, hotel room.
I so wish we’d had enough money to stay for longer! Here’s some brief snippets of our days.
We did some memorable shopping.
I spent a lot of time with my nose in our Lonely Planet trying to decipher maps.
We saw a baseball game a the Tokyo Dome. (Andrew cried. I’m not lying. He was so excited to be in the presence of sports, and especially baseball.) The Yomuri Giants sadly beat my team, the Hiroshima Carp, but the game was well played. I think. I’m actually not really sure because I was so entranced by the tiny and adorable women sprinting up and down the stadium steps with beer kegs strapped to their backs refilling everyone’s drinks. And the fans eating noodles with chopsticks as stadium food. And the cheering coaches who let the entire stadium in nonstop chants through every. single. inning. But if you want to know about something that happened on the field, you’ll have to ask Andrew.
We mastered the Metro. It took us a little less than a day to really figure out how everything worked. Initially, I had a miniature meltdown because it was 1 pm and we still hadn’t eaten (therefore, cranky Meg), and we just could NOT figure out what to do or where to go. I was so irritated because everything I read about the Metro online made it seem like it was just so easy and self-explanatory, but eventually we realized that it truly was! It’s just the amount of information to take in can be overwhelming. Especially on an empty stomach. This photo was taken during a very not busy time, but you should have seen it at 7 am when Andrew and I were both bundled down in backpacks trying to squeeze ourselves into a train that was already overflowing with passengers. We’d already let one that seemed too full go past, but we noticed that everyone else was just cramming themselves into seemingly occupied spaces. The train windows were steamy, I was sweating, and we eventually joined in with all the chaotic shoving trying to get on. Eventually, two guys just hopped off to make room for us and ran down to a different car. I really hope they didn’t miss their train. Andrew and I avoided eye contact with everyone, including each other, for a good 10 minutes of shame. I really don’t know what they thought of us in that moment, but I hope we blended in? Everyone else was doing it!
We saw some interesting, if sometimes questionable, scenes. From 9 story buildings full of manga/anime (including one floor dedicated to some very graphic content… we walked in and made a quick u-turn after seeing a few covers.), to the fish market overflowing with GIANT tuna carcasses. From a chain of condom themed shops to advertisements for whale meat. From arcade building skyscrapers with virtual horseraces and Mario Kart to very sassy and Yu-Gi-Oh! looking gigolos strutting in their skin tight tailored suits. “Never a dull moment” is quite the understatement in Tokyo.
We visited many shrines and parks, all covered in the highly-obsessed over cherry blossoms. Seriously. Japanese people go crazy for their cherry blossoms. I mean, they’re beautiful, and I was so happy to have had the opportunity to see them, but they truly are infatuated with them! The whole city was cherry blossom themed for all 10 days we were there.
Best of all, we ate a TON of phenomenal food. I basically planned our days around our meals. Here’s some fresh soba, ramen, and sushi! Basically the only three things you need to eat in Tokyo.
We experienced the nightlife. The streets were always crowded. No matter how late or how cold or how rainy, those Tokyo-ites were running around like crazy in their suits and ties, getting wasted off beer and shochu. We almost ruined a day or two because of too much sake at night, but we were so excited to be there that we gathered our strength and powered through those Ashai hangovers!
We even got a glimpse of Mt. Fuji from the speed train when we went to Kyoto for our final day!
These are just a few of my favorite snapshots from the trip, but if you want to see some more – come over! I would love to be that friend who sits you down in front of their computer and narrates their way through their 1,000 vacation photos!
I cannot wait to get back to Japan and see more of the country. We literally did not go more than 5 or 10 minutes without one of us asking the other, “How can Japanese people be so much more awesome than all other people?!” We even discussed finding a Japanese couple and proposing a marriage between us. That way they could get American citizenship and we could be Japanese! New item for the bucket list: Be Japanese.
Looking through all these pictures again has made me very nostalgic for something that was only one month ago. *Sigh.* Those were the days.