Alright alright alright.
Tokyo is a whole lot of things. Head to Shibuya for designer shopping. Wander into the vast Meiji Jingu shrine for an amazingly intricate historical landmark. Look anywhere on your Instagram feed and find thousands of IG photographers beating their long dead Japan photo horse to a bloody pulp because they post the same played out photos for the next 18 months. 和 get!
Don’t get me wrong, I like Tokyo quite a bit. While my first trip included a vicious bout of food poisoning and painful memories of a certain seaweed ramen, this most recent trip was certainly much more enjoyable (I visited one time in between these two trips but that didn’t really count since I was stuck in a Taiwanese tour group).
While I usually wing all my trips, I decided to make an actual itinerary since a) I would be with my parents and you know how parents be, and b) Tokyo is big. Though we didn’t follow the schedule to the exact minute, the planning definitely saved the hassle of figuring out where to go and the headache of deciding where to eat for food…for the most part. Navigating through the infamously crowded but surprisingly silent Tokyo subway system wasn’t a walk in the park but Google maps was a life send for the mere price of our personal data. I’ve always been impressed by the efficiency and wayfinding of public transportation in Asia, but we can chalk the American version’s shortcomings to different cultures and different priorities and whatnot.
For some reason I felt a little apprehension before the trip since I didn’t really know much, if any, Japanese. I memorized a katakana chart a few days before the trip but just decided to prepare myself for the “wtf is this gaijin saying” kinda thoughts people would have. Turns out I was kinda right but most people were friendly and if I threw in some hand gestures we could get some semblance of communication going. One exception was the visit to Beyond Z Coffee in Sugamo, where the owner Koji and I (and my mom) had a great time chatting about outdoor sports, Japan’s nuclear energy situation, and my espresso with Fever Tree tonic.
All in all great trip yadda yadda. Had lots of fun taking photos for myself rather than for my job or money and walking around listening to Toro y Moi.