I haven’t been writing, or reading for that matter, for a little while now. It’s because I recently moved to Japan, and I’ve been trying to enjoy everything as much as possible. However, it’s about time I recapped what I’ve seen so far.
All of the pictures in this blog post were taken by me, and all of them were taken in Tokyo.
When I arrived in Japan, I really didn’t know what to expect. Landing at the Narita Airport was something I never imagined I’d do.
After the landing I walked around, following others as you might have guessed because I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was soon pulled aside by a man who said ‘he will do something for me,’ after looking at my passport and visa. This something was a residence card that one must carry with them at all times if they are staying in Japan for more than 90 days. Quite important, and I’m glad I had it done immediately after landing.
Next I walked around aimlessly, trying to figure out how to get to my destination at Shinjuku where I would stay for a couple of days. Not too long after I found myself at the information desk, and I got the help I needed without any problems using English, and the customer service was very good.
Then I went to Shinjuku, one of the more well known districts, and took my bags to the place where I was staying. Then I just went outside and walked around Shinjuku, and especially the Shinjuku Chuo Park that almost felt like a tropical forest in middle of the buzzling city of Tokyo. After I was done getting to know my environment, I simply headed back to to my host’s apartment, and fell asleep. It had been a long trip for me.
The First Day
During the first full day in Japan, and after having rested and getting to know the city a little bit, I felt like I was prepared to travel to the other wards of Tokyo.
First I traveled to Roppongi, which is quite famous for having rather expensive restaurants and shops. I wanted to go and see the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure exhibition tour, but I couldn’t quite get that done, because of course it was sold out (it’s Jojo after all.) You could still see some of the art outside the exhibition, and I felt like I got what I wanted from the trip to Roppongi. I went to see a little bit of Jojo, and that’s what I got.
After Roppongi I traveled to Asakusa, known for Tokyo Skytree and Sensoji Temple, and is therefore probably one of the most visited wards in all of Tokyo, and oh boy, I have never seen this many people in one place and it was quite something to take in. It felt like at times every square inch was occupied by someone, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable about it at all. It just allowed me to enjoy and take in this special moment that I will probably would never get anywhere else in the world.
Asakusa is a beautiful place with very traditional Japanese buildings and shopping streets. It represents where Japan came from, and you must visit it if you are in Tokyo, for both the historical reasons, as well as for the experience of just being there with other people, which is quite like nothing else you can imagine.
After Asakusa I visited Omotesando, which basically is a shopping district for rich people. I’ll be honest and say that it reminded me a bit too much about Helsinki, and I’m far too familiar with that, so I didn’t stay for long, and I didn’t take worthwhile pictures. It is a beautiful ward, though, and you will see many sports cars and posh people there if you are into that kind of stuff.
The Second Day
On the second day I wanted to do the things I always wanted to do and go to Akihabara and Shibuya. First on the list was Akihabara, widely known as the ‘anime and gaming’ ward of Tokyo, and it’s immediately apparent when go to the famous Electric Town.
I really enjoyed the fact that many of the characters I know were there on the city walls and billboards, and that the music was sufficiently ‘anime.’ I truly felt like for once in my life I was in a place where I could just be myself, and be surrounded by people who thought the same. It is an experience itself to just walk on the streets and take in everything that is happening around you.
I’ve always wanted to go to Akihabara. I’ve been a gamer and an avid anime fan for years. Also, I think Akihabara represents Japanese culture as much as anything else in the city these days, so even if you aren’t into games and anime, you still should visit it just to get the feel of Japan. Don’t take it too seriously, go out there, and try to just have fun is my recommendation.
After it got dark, I wanted to see what Shibuya, the party ward of Tokyo, had to offer. I went in there to party, and I got exactly what I wanted. I was trying to enjoy myself to the fullest.
First I walked around, just to take it all in, once again. Shibuya at night is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, and it really hit home the saying “Tokyo, the city that never sleeps,” mantra. Now I understand why they say that.
The city lights, the amount of people who all seemed to be there to enjoy themselves, and all the sounds and music from every street corner; all of it was something that will stick to my mind for a long time coming.
Once I was done oogling at the city lights, I asked for directions where to go from locals, and I soon found myself at a pub again. I met a group of Italians, who didn’t speak Japanese or English, and they were having a birthday party. I joined them for a little while, to sing the birthday song and some shots, and it was a really good time.
I left the pub, and went looking for a club called Sibuya TK. After a long walk around many blocks, I ended up next to the pub I had just left, and noticed the club had been just behind the corner. I didn’t mind the extra sightseeing tour, as I was able to find some of those famous love hotels, which I would have been sad to have missed.
All was good, except the club hadn’t opened yet, and it wouldn’t for another couple of hours. I went back to the pub and the Italians had already left the building. It was my time to talk with local people, I thought, and I did. I talked with a group of people who were a mix of Chinese and Japanese people, all chatting it up in Japanese. I made some new friends, got a few free drinks out of it, and bid them a farewell when my time came to go to the club.
To anyone wondering, I’m not that into clubs, and I expect most of the readers to not be that type either. Despite that, I really enjoyed my time at the Shibuya TK.
When you enter this club and have your ID checked, you walk down the stairs into a fancy lobby. Then you need to pay a entry fee of 1000 yen, and it’s then you go inside the club. Pretty normal stuff so far!
Except it was not. It was a Sunday, and I learned that there was a free buffet table filled with the tastiest cakes and other goodies, and supposedly this always happens from Sunday to Thursday. It more than made up for the entry fee.
As the night was still young and most of the people who were coming didn’t arrive yet, I started walking around and talking to everyone in the club. I met many rather interesting characters, including managers and DJs from clubs around Shibuya and Roppongi. We couldn’t always fully communicate, I had to speak Japanese, and the Japanese people had to use English every now and then, but we all connected really well despite the language barrier.
I ended up getting many free drinks, and of course buying some for others as well. Later the manager of the club came to me and said he really likes my style. I felt good about it all, and partied until the morning, which is when I left to talk to more people outside the club. It would be a while before I made it back to my apartment, but I didn’t care, I really had loved every moment I spent at the club.
Time To Leave
On the last day it was raining in Tokyo. It was the first time for this to happen for as well, and it was also something I wanted to experience for some weird reason. Either way, I welcomed the rain.
On this day I had scheduled a meeting with a long time friend of mine. We went to a cafe, had a chat about what we had been doing, and what’s happening next. Normal stuff as you can imagine. I had prepared a special gift for her, and I’m glad that she seemed to be happy with it.
I didn’t really know how to get to Haneda Airport, and as she was a local person, I asked her to point me to where I needed to go. She didn’t just do that, she walked me all the way to the bus station and helped me with buying the tickets too. We said our farewells, and promised to meet again some day.
After all this, it was time for me to leave Tokyo behind, for now, and move to another city. I had walked around the city for more than 20 kilometers every day, and by the end of it all I had had some of the best experiences of my life.
While this story might already seem like a wild ride, I haven’t actually told you everything that happened. I met so many fun and interesting people who helped me, and took me to places, that I will never forget my experience in Tokyo. I am more than likely going to return there one day.
If you ever visit Tokyo, please just try to talk to the locals, and actively seek fun experiences. I’m sure you will have unforgettable memories after you are done.
But that is it for now. It’s time to return to a ‘normal’ schedule as I try to get used to living in Japan. I’m doing well, no one needs to worry.
I’ll see you next time.
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