12 Days without posting? Only 1 post so far this month of December? Ugh don’t look at me, I’m ashamed!
Anyway, I’m finally back from Japan! If you hadn’t already known (why would you), I visited Japan for the first time! I’ve been spending the past 7 days or so in Tokyo, as the title has it. The week long trip was all sorts of amazing, but at the same time, very very exhausting. So I chose to put aside my desire to write and simply bathed in the experience. Now that I’m home, I can finally calmly put my thoughts into words, at least I hope.
In a nutshell
I like formats. Or rather, I try to be systematic (not when it comes to my messy table though). Usually I would’ve started with Day 1, then Day 2 all the way through to Day 7 before I conclude with a nutshell recap, but looking back I really didn’t do all that much. So I thought perhaps a quick rundown would be better off.
As I said earlier, my 7 days in Tokyo had been a wonder, but had also drained all my energy. There’s a few reasons why.
Free & Easy
Unlike tour groups, my trip had been almost entirely free and easy, and so a lot more planning had been required. For the longest of times, I’d only ever gone on trips that were guided by tour groups, and so this one had been a new challenge.
Shopping for goods is a must in any trip, and even more so when you’re in the land that birthed the objects behind your passion.
Naturally, I would want to shop to my heart’s extent.
I ended up buying figurines from my favourite anime, calendars of Kirito and Asuna, light novels that I wouldn’t be able to read (for now), Japan “exclusive” Pokemon plushies and so on. Finding these places and buying these things were so much fun. It was exciting to even just be window shopping, so putting these items into my bag felt a lot more thrilling. I’ve finally started my journey as a collector.
Realistically however, shopping in a foreign place isn’t just about buying. There’s a lot more variables that could make shopping really tedious. Take for instance, communicating in Japanese, and even navigating through the lands.
Prices were also a major factor in influencing my spending. I couldn’t go around buying everything I see, even when they’re something I really like. I’d have to make sure I wouldn’t be buying it for much more than it could cost. As a result, I travelled a lot and had to navigate around more just to buy something, and it was definitely a mental chore.
The best part of this trip for me had definitely been the first-hand immersive experience of the place.
The majesty of the towering Mt Fuji that could be seen from virtually every corner of Honshu.
Lakes that were glimmering from the light of the sun in the beautiful blue sky.
Rivers that seemed magical and would silently bewitch you with the quiet sounds of its stream.
Forests that were made of glowing autumn tree leaves and beautifully symmetrical husks.
Being able to breathe in the chilly cold air wafting elegantly around would’ve been good enough for me. There’s just something about the elusive beauty of nature that’s so powerfully charming, and Japan had all of these.
Travelling in Japan is expensive.
Taxi fares don’t come cheap, while the Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train) would cost hundreds. Perhaps only the subways had costs that would resemble the public transport where I live.
So yeah, we chose to walk, so walk we did, the whole day, for 7 days straight. Whether it be with hefty luggage, or heavy backpacks, and even carrying a child (which was the hardest part), we would choose to walk the long distances to get to places. Maybe it’s just that I don’t move around much, but 85km of walking with “weights” isn’t a distance I would even cover in a month, let alone a week.
Furthermore, we had to navigate through the bustling streets amidst the strong typhoon winds and foreign cold. Thank god for my love for anime and nature, otherwise the whole trip would’ve just been a hassle.
I’m from a tiny place in the world where there’s perpetually tropical climate. Heat and humidity are what I deal with, and distances travelled are all comparatively shorter here than in Japan.
But in Tokyo, I had to walk longer distances to get around, while braving the strong winds and a bone chilling cold. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the experience of the different climate. Unfortunately that didn’t stop me from feeling fatigued. The typhoon winds were quite the experience though.
Ah of course, communication. I’ve been learning Japanese on my own but I’ve only managed to recognise letters, and not their meanings. Heck, I couldn’t even speak a single sentence in Japanese. I ended up gesturing and bowing my head a lot more than I realised just to order small things. Asking questions? Ha. Forget about it.
Me: “Sumimasen, what does this poster say?”
Local: ” もう一度言っていただけますか？ ”
Me: ” …? “
Travelling to Japan had always been on my list of things to do before I die, and so being able to check it off the list this early is actually really satisfying. The trip as a whole was definitely physically and mentally exhausting, but I’d do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat. Okay, maybe after a week of rest. Actually, maybe once I’ve saved enough.
The overall trip was extremely pleasant. I got to shop for some anime goods to decorate my room, taste those delicious looking street snacks I see in anime, experience the culture of the people through multiple interactions and even got to experience the beauty of nature there. I’m so thankful to be fortunate enough to get the chance to experience this.
The people (at least in customer service) smile a lot. At first, it makes you feel good. But then you see more and more of them smiling brightly everywhere. Even after a days work of standing out in the cold, they still smile brightly. They’re perpetually courteously smiling to the point that I can’t help but be a bit worried as to whether the work ethics in the customer service sector are a bit too stringent.
But hey, what do I know.
With that being said, here’s a quick summary of how my 7 days went.
- Day 1: Arrival
– I’ll never forget the first moment I stepped out of the airport into the breezy cold.
– The heavy luggage we had to push for several kilometres while carrying a sleeping child
– Robot restaurant was pretty intense
- Day 2: DisneySea
– I sprained my ankle, lol
– Limped my way through the rest of the trip
- Day 3: Exploring
– Painstakingly navigating somewhat aimlessly through the streets
– Scrounging the area for random foods to snack on
- Day 4: Mt Fuji
– My eyes have never seen a more beautiful sight
- Day 5: Akihabara & Harajuku
– It was this day that I lost a bulk of my money to fund anime studios
- Day 6: Shibuya
– Shibuya crossing was a hot mess, which was cool
- Day 7: Departure
– It was brief, but at least I got to enjoy the cold weather amidst the typhoon winds one last time before leaving.
– Finished the remaining of my budget in the airport
Thanks for reading! Japan was awesome. Now then, it’s time I try out this new towel I bought of a Zero Two lookalike wearing a Yukata that apparently turns nude upon contact of hot water. Sheesh Japan, you make the quirkiest of stuffs. I love it.
On a side note, I can’t wait to get back to writing anime related posts!