Well my first couple days in Tokyo have been quite a blast! I arrived into the city on November 25th at three in the afternoon. I took a two hour bus ride to my cousin Candice’s area of the city and she came to pick me up from there. It was quite interesting watching Candice drive back to her place in a city of millions of drivers….it’s pretty intense driving around here. My Aunt Cheryl is visiting here right now as well so when we returned Candice, Doug, their three kids and my Aunt had a super, walked around the neighborhood a bit and spent the evening talking. I even managed to stay up late enough to hopefully switch myself to the time change on the first night (always an impressive feet).
The next day, my first full day in the city, we all went to Disney Sea (similar to Orlando where there is Disneyland or Disney California). It was such a fun time! In a sea of Japanese people we definitely stood out like a sore thumb and I had a few people ask to take my picture (thankfully it was nothing like Candice’s girls though because they ended up getting their photo taken dozens of times). All of the rides were in Japanese which was quite an experience. It was neat getting on the Tower of Terror or Indiana Jones and having all the story line spoken in another language, I felt so out of the loop with rides I was so familiar with. There were quite a few rides in this park that I had never been on and the ones that I had been on the story lines were different. Needless to say it was such a good time and something I am so glad I had the opportunity to do.
Ive been pretty spoiled in the last few days, ive been able to get out and explore a ton of the city. I visited the Harajuku area which has so many unique shops and tons of people dressed in cosplay. This area has so far definitely been my favorite. In a great little consequence, a friend from Barcelona was in Tokyo at the same time so we were able to meet up, do some walking around, go for an amazing Korean supper and head to Kabukicho for some discovering. Kabukicho is the main sex area in Toyko, and as someone who reads up on sex trades in different countries frequently, volunteers a lot in the area and has worked for men and women in the sex trade for years, discovering areas like this is very fascinating to me. It was interesting to see that although the neighborhood was packed with tons of “activities” it was so anonymous and I never saw one working girl or guy. I was able to go into one of the famous Tokyo love hotels which was also quite interesting. Many of the homes here are no larger than 300 sq ft, for an entire family and often times extended family is living in the home as well. Because of this, sex in the home is a little difficult so they have love hotels set up all around the city where parents, grandparents, newlyweds, and of course others, can visit for hourly rates, get a themed hotel room of their choosing and have a little privacy for a couple hours. I have always found the concept quite interesting so it was neat to be able to visit inside these hotels. Needless to say the night was very interesting.
Unfortunately I am getting sick and fighting against a pretty ugly throat cold which has made my ability and desire to go out quite low. I spent a whole day in bed and im hoping that will be the last because there is so much that I want to see! Today is the girls Halloween party at school so I am excited to go and celebrate with them and then hopefully take off for a bit of shopping time.
A few fun facts that I am loving about Japan….almost every toilet seat is heated. For someone who is always cold, I am in love with this idea! And if anyone is looking for a Christmas gift idea, a heated toilet seat is officially on the top of my list. Also, the fridges here are absolutely brilliant! The door can open from either side….what more could you ask for?!? There are a ton of rules here and nobody breaks them, for example, if you want to walk up the escalator you walk to the right, to stand still, you stand on the left. You would NEVER see someone stand a little in the middle or god forbid on the right, even if the escalator is packed, with a line up a mile long (literally) of people to wait to go up, no one would squish in and cross that invisible line of walkers and stand-stillers. Also, everyone is quiet on the train, once, before knowing this rule, I laughed out loud and the whole train gave me the hairy eye, even a five year old for goodness sakes. In change rooms at the mall, your shoes have to be taken off at the door. When you pay for an item you never hand your money to the tiller, instead you put it on a tray and she takes it from there. Before you eat your meal in a restaurant you clean your face and hands with a cold cloth they give you as you sit down. If you are crossing a street and there isn’t a car in sight for miles, you cannot cross until the light is green. It is rule upon rule that everyone follows and it is definitely for good reason. In a city with this many people it truly does run so much smoother because everyone follows these rules.
I am so madly in love with this city! The lights, the people, the shopping, the sites…it is all amazing and I cannot wait to see what else I discover while I am here!