When I was about 6 or 7, Sailor Moon came to the Philippines and I heard about Tokyo and Japan for the first time in my life.
20 years later, I finally visited the city that has been in the back of my mind for ages.
South Korea has a holiday in September called Chuseok. People explain it as the Korean Thanksgiving where people travel home to spend time with their families. I took the time to fly over to Tokyo for a few days with some English teacher friends of mine. We booked an airbnb place in the Shin-nakano area and brainstormed for days on places we wanted to go.
With four people in a group, there were a lot of ideas. Possibly too many ideas for what was essentially a three day trip. We would wake up at 9 in the morning and wouldn’t go home until about 11 at night. In between, we would just walk everywhere.
And get ridiculously lost. Some sites were easy to find. Others were virtually impossible.
We visited shrines, tried pachinko, saw the city from ear-popping places, ate okonomiyaki and shopped a ton.
I really enjoyed shopping in Harajuku. Of the countries and cities I’ve visited this year, it’s probably my favorite shopping spot to date. Just excellent style, a wider selection of options (you mean I can have a short skirt AND a long skirt???) and things that actually fit. Seeing as part of why I moved to Asia this year was to get more stuff that fit me, this has been working out perfectly.
We walked around Akihabara for one evening. Akihabara is where most of the anime-related things were concentrated and also where dozens of maid cafes are located. The girls were out in full force, dressed in their adorable outfits, trying to lure customers to their establishments.
I also had a great opportunity to meet up with people. I was able to meet my friend Kiri for Sunday afternoon and my aunt Larue for lunch on Tuesday. Kiri, in particular, is a friend I’ve known since the fifth grade. She moved to Japan for school and work after college and I haven’t seen her since. It’s nice to know that some things haven’t changed since we’re still as crazy as ever.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Japan was how quiet everyone spoke. There’s the language barrier and then there’s the part where I just flat out couldn’t hear what my cashier was saying because he was speaking in a whisper. I knew Americans were loud, but I didn’t realize just how loud until trying out Japan. And possibly, I am also partly deaf.
Tokyo was a ton of fun and our three days there was definitely a taster for more trips. I know I’ll have to go back because there’s still so much to see: Kyoto, the Imperial Palace, the Studio Ghibli Museum (start praying for me to get tickets already!)