I FINALLY have a recap of our trip to Tokyo for you guys!
Maybe it took so long because I had to wrap my mind around the trip first? Or to take a step back and live in my world again for a while. Either way, I’m ready to share some of the 5 glorious days that we spent in Tokyo on route to Thailand a couple of months ago! Enjoy – it’s a doozy!
One of my favourite places in all of Tokyo was the Tsukiji fish market. The market is right along the harbour and fish comes in during the early morning hours to be auctioned off to wholesalers and restaurants. Derek and I were extremely jet-lagged and both sat around wide awake in our hotel room at 4:00am on our first morning in Tokyo. Since we were up early and ready to take on the day it was the perfect opportunity to check out the break of dawn markets and auctions.
I really love this picture with me standing outside one of the huge market buildings because you can see that it is so early that it is still kind of dark outside. Don’t you think I look super awake?
The market was extremely busy and little carts and people kept whizzing by us with fresh fish and produce and there was a lot of auctioning and yelling going on. I think they were unimpressed by us because we were totally in their way… oops.
I loved looking around the different stalls and noticed that many people had kettles on stoves set up for their morning tea and coffee.
In the next picture I adore how the soft early morning sun announces the arrival of the day. So beautiful. I love being up early in the morning!
Derek and I got very hungry and were craving some coffee but for the life of us couldn’t find a coffee shop open because it was so early. Then we noticed all of these families sitting around on the sidewalk eating steaming hot bowls of noodles! My western stomach wanted some toast or oatmeal and it seemed odd to eat noodles for breakfast. What did I tell you, it was our very first morinng there! Turns out noodles and broth actually make for a fantastic breakfast.
The market did not only have fish, but many street blocks lined with various food vendors. My oh my, this place is so alive and friendly and photogenic!!
It was fascinating see all of the food and produce that I didn’t recognize.
As good tourists should, we explored what feels like the entire city with a guidebook in hand. Since this was a last minute trip we did not have a lot of time to do research before we left home. I was jet-lagged for the first few days, but Derek kept us going! I can almost hear him say: “we need to jump on the subway at so-and-so station and then transfer to the purple line here (points at a spot on the map), then we get off at so-and-so station”. I am so glad we kept busy, because we made the very best of our time there and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the various diverse neighbourhoods. Every neighbourhood had a different scene and vibe.
Our overall impression is that the Japanese people are extremely friendly and polite. I think some of them found it intriguing when we were struggling our way through the subway or a food menu, and most people gave a huge smile and wanted to help us out.
Tokyo is also incredibly clean and organized. We were very impressed by the fact that trains come and go when they say they will, and that people all follow the rules. It makes navigating the city very easy!
Oh yes, and I was in love with the fashion. The Japanese girls are extremely stylish! They dress very feminine and love to wear skirts and tights – beautiful!
Speaking of high fashion… you may notice that I wear the same clothes in every picture. What can I say, I was determined to pack light! Since we were only in Japan for 4 nights and the cold weather required bulky clothing I figured I could mix up my outfit by wearing a different scarf every day!
The social media fanatic in me loved this twitter sign by a restaurant entrance. I was so happy to see something I understand!
I don’t talk about this much on Revel, but I am a bit of a picky eater. Not cool, I know. I am not picky in the sense of different tastes and textures, but it is important for me to know where my food comes from and where it was prepared. Hygienic standards and quality of ingredients matter to me. I also don’t eat a lot a lot of seafood. I don’t know what’s up with all of that but, I try not to let it control me. So anyways, eating on vacation can be a bit of a challenge. Throw in some blood sugar issues which make me I have to eat often (or basically all the time) and you got yourself a girl who is always on the lookout for food and always, ALWAYS has snacks in her purse.
I ate mostly vegetarian in Tokyo, and mostly noodles with broth. I completely LOVE soba noodles. They are made of buckwheat and I love the slight grainy taste. Don’t worry though, I did put on a brave face in the name of adventure and tried a few new things, so at least I tried it!
We played a game every day where we bought candy at convenience stores to find out what they were – most of the mystery candies were super delicious!
I am so intrigued by the Japanese and their diet because the people on the island of Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world!
This is what I was expecting to see when going to Tokyo: lots of bright lights, signs and advertising with busy streets.
In Akihabara (the tech centre of the city) we came across many pachinko places. My description of it is this: “Several stories of complicated gambling games that look like arcade games where there are 50 different songs playing very loudly all at once and there are many flashing lights”. It was the most incredible thing to see – the people gambling there were totally in a trance!
I tried some arcade games myself… only I had no idea how it worked!
Oh yes: and we did karaoke! It was awesome! You go into this building with many floors filled with private karaoke booths and book one at an hourly rate. The two of us had our own room with a TV and microphones and we just got completely silly! I hope the room full of locals next to us were not offended when we joyously started belting out “Turning Japanese” by the Vapours!
All in all Tokyo was an incredible experience! It is such a gentle, sophisticated and diverse city and I feel completely fortunate to have wandered around there for a few days!
Don’t worry folks, the story is not over yet, because after spending 4 days in Tokyo we spent 2 whole weeks in Thailand, so I have lots more stories to tell!