Tokyo has been very different from all the cities we have been to before. It is not the size of the city that leaves the biggest impression, but the people who are filling it. Every single day of the week we have spent here has been like a safari of subcultures. When sitting in a sushi bar or coffeshop we could see businessmen with suitcases, geeks fiddling around with their technological gadgets, old people reading books and gothic people giggling in a cornershop, and at the end of the day, all stripes and colors united for the train ride back to the suburbs, dozing of and waking up suddenly just as they reach their station.
The food in Tokyo was also superb. It seems like the Tokyoites take their dining, service and fresh ingredients very seriously, making each and every meal a great experience. The best food experience was sinking our teeth into a fatty tuna nigiri at the Tsukiji fish marked, but being handcuffed and locked into a prison cell at the Alcatraz E.R theme restaurant was also an interesting “only in Japan” experience.
When it comes to celebrating New Years in Tokyo, we were expecting fireworks, countdowns and light shows, but were surprised not to witness any of this. Rumors went that most Japanese celebrate New Years eve in the temples with their families, but the athmosphere at Shibuya Crossing was also quite an experience.
If you are looking for a city that has it all, Tokyo is the place to be.
When we first arrived in Tokyo we were welcomed by a family friend who let us spend the first nights at her place inHanahata (A). After a pretty long journey it was great to have a couple of days to rest out properly, catch up with our friend, and eat home cooked Japanese meals.
On our second day we went through Tokyo (B) to Kamakura (C) which is the former capital of Japan and is known for its temples, shrines and a giant Buddha made out of Bronze. The streets of Kamakura were also very welcoming with lots of shops for handcrafted things (great for souvenirs), good restaurants and concession stands for snacks: ice cream with green tea/sweet potato taste, sugar coated french fries, seaweed and dried babyfish sold by weight were snacks interesting enough, but not too tempting for us to try.
Other things that have fascinated us the last couple of days in Japan are:
– How popular karaoke really is (we even sung a few songs ourselves)
– How people of all ages are using Gameboys/nintendo DS (people seem to use it for taking notes and pictures as well as playing)
– How many people are using mouth masks (we found out that it was for not spreading disease and not only about not receiving)
– How many vending machines there are on the streets (you even have to order your food through vending machines in some restaurants)
– How people fall asleep when they get on the subway and automatically wakes up to their station (maybe because of the different songs being played at each station)
– How helpful everyone is, despite little english skills (a lot of map pointing and nodding usually does the trick)
Now we are just ready to see what more Tokyo has to offer!
Vending machines of different kinds
Smart toilets with “bidet” functions