Japan Journal #1: Tokyo

Japan Journal #1: Tokyo

Monday, August 1, 2016

Japan Journal #1: Tokyo :: Outlandish Lit
Sensoji in Asakusa. We got there early before the market was open.
Week one of my two week Japan trip is over! I've done a shit ton of stuff so far and explored a lot of Tokyo. My calves hurt just thinking about it.

Thank god most of the cats were squishy faced, munchkin cats, or both.

I slept through a level 5 earthquake my first night. I managed to fix my sleep schedule within one or two days. I visited the beautiful big temple and crazy market in Asakusa. I saw millions of wildly inappropriate anime girl figurines/videos/manga/body pillows in Akihabara. I avoided going to any maid cafes because NO. I visited Meiji shrine then shopped in the madness of Harajuku. Considered becoming gothic lolita for half a second then realized I would be too beautiful and I would have too many friends. I went to a mother fucking cat cafe and felt pure bliss. I wandered around bustling Shinjuku and checked out the street food in cramped Piss Alley. I went to a Japanese stationery store and a Japanese bookstore, fulfilling all my paper-y Japanese dreams.

Piss Alley, where the restaurants are outside and the space between the wall and the counter is about the size of a person

I took an hour train out to Kamakura and saw the Pacific ocean from the other side. I saw a giant Buddha. I then proceeded to play on the black sand beach, sit in the ocean, drink a can of some sort of pineapple alcohol from 7 eleven (on the beach, it's legal), experience more bliss than I did in the cat cafe, get my first jellyfish sting, and get peed on by my boyfriend for the first time (jellyfish related), all with Mt. Fuji in the background.

You can't see it because clouds, but Mt. Fuji is right above the right-most building.

I went to a conveyor belt sushi place where I had the most delicious salmon, tuna, and calamari I've ever had in my life. The calamari made me feel way too confident about tentacles, so I grabbed a tentacle sushi plate and almost threw up at the table. I'm still queasy about fish 3 days later, which isn't great when you're in Japan, but that just means I have an excuse for eating tonkatsu (fried pork, you have to try it if you haven't) every day. Like I need an excuse.

Our first meal in Japan was bentou boxes, featuring the beloved tonkatsu on the bottom and in the red bowl.

I went to the Pokemon Center in huge, busy mall where a Hawaii festival was happening and spent way too much money on stuffed pokemon, a weird pokemon bag, and a coin purse. Do I use coin purses? No. But do I love Inkay? Yes. I wandered through random markets by accident and got fresh melon bread from a bakery. I've walked by a million vending machines and I'm charmed each time I see one. I've eaten all sorts of strange snacks, mystery fish, and sodas with strange names (Lemon Squash and Orangina are the most delicious. Not into Calpis, believe it or not). I've gotten countless butt baths on fancy toilets. I caught a Farfetch'd in Pokemon Go (region exclusive, bitches. But you can maybe get it from an egg, I don't actually know). I almost played Pachinko, but I the minimum was $10 and I was willing to invest maybe $5. I've gotten used to Japanese money for the most part (why is $5 a coin??). I had sake at a Japanese bar, as well as the most delicious peach and kiwi sour. YUM.

I had an amazing experience staying at an AirBnB with my friends and getting to live off a subway stop right in the city for 5 days. I loved sleeping on the floor in a tatami mat room. I love the weird deep bathtubs. I love how beautiful rural Japan is. I love the seemingly haphazard placements of beautiful houses along small, confusing alleys. Everything here is so different, I don't even have words to explain it. I can list all of the factual things that are different, but that doesn't explain the feel or the smell or the beauty of this place. But I have been keeping a list of some differences that I find interesting that nobody had told me about.


  • Streets are a free for all. You kind of just walk wherever you want to.
  • Most people bike on sidewalks. They also don't say anything if they're behind you and need to get by.
  • Blush is worn bright, unblended, and very high up on the face. A strange trend.
  • There are caged areas for people to smoke outside, but smoking is still totally cool in restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. CONFUSING. Saw the chef at a restaurant smoking in the kitchen, because ~anything goes~.
  • There are virtually no benches.
  • There are also virtually no trash cans. When there are trash cans, they're very specific about trash v. different types of recycling. They're also mostly on the sides of big vending machines.
  • I don't think I've seen a vending machine with food. Only drinks, beer, or cigarettes.
  • Smiling at people on the street is not generally received well.
  • In addition to on the subway, nap time happens at McDonald's. Still curious as to why this is.
  • Public drinking is completely acceptable, but walking while eating is super rude.
  • Single serving consumption seems to be the norm for buying just about anything. No bulk buying here. Or, at least, it's generally not a better deal.
  • Most of the storefronts are wide open and people wheel goods out onto the sidewalk.
  • Backpacks are often front packs!
  • So many stores require you to take an elevator up to a different level on a huge building.
  • You can buy anything at 7 eleven and they're open forever and you have no need to ever go anywhere else.

Yesterday we took a 9 hour collection of local trains to get out to Kyoto. We also had the most horrific experience once we arrived where we were supposed to stay. We opted for homelessness and ran the fuck out of there. What happened to your friend, Julianne in this new, strange city?? Tune in next time.


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