Tokyo, Japan

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.

 photo  _zpszgllrcbk.jpg(Fireworks in Tokyo. 불꽃)

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.

 photo DSC01979_zps1na4qjvx.jpg
(3 crazy travelers, after flying into Tokyo
도쿄에 출발 후에 여행객 새명)

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.

 photo pachinko_zpsobnnd5fg.jpg
(We couldn’t figure out how to play pachinko at all…)

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(A wedding at Meiji-jingumae Temple)

 photo okonomiyaki_zpswnwzsfb8.jpg
(okonomiyaki)

 photo Sensoji Temple_zpskhrmqhr2.jpg
(Sensoji Temple)

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.

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(I did not buy this outfit, however. 하지만 그 옷을 안 샀어요.)

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.

 photo maids2_zpscqtmqmw2.jpg
(Maids didn’t like taking their pictures taken.)

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.

 photo Kiri_zpsqeiaeblf.jpg
(Sadly, I forgot to take pictures. This fuzzy one from a friend will do! Thank you.
Photo credit: Chasity.)

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.

 photo Chinese yogurt2_zpszb1c5hmf.jpg
(This did not stop me from scoring what turned out to be Chinese yogurt at the 7Eleven. Still don’t know where to find these in Korea though.)

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!)

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