Apple Country

Stories of rural life as an ALT in a northern Japanese fishing town.

First 24 hours in Tokyo

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Finally landed in Tokyo at 8:30 yesterday morning after a smooth but sleepless 11-hour flight from London.  Can’t believe Dad cried when I left, which made me cry too but also secretly pleased that he got emotional about me leaving haha.

Checking in ze suitcases.

Checking in les baggages.

Not sure my body enjoyed being given an overly processed cooked breakfast at 10:30pm (6:30am Japan time), it felt really wrong but when do I ever turn down free food.  Even though I’d heard about the extreme heat and humidity that slaps you in the face as you leave the airport, I don’t think anything could’ve prepared me for that, and I promise never to complain about it being ‘muggy’ when I’m in England ever again!

After arriving at the Keio Plaza at midday I ventured out into Shinjuku in search of food that didn’t taste like death, and after deciding we weren’t quite ready to attempt ordering anything in a restaurant, picked up a salad at a combini (convenience store).  It was beautiful.  We also remembered that in Japan there is a rule that you don’t eat and walk at the same time, so we had to awkwardly eat the ice cream we’d just bought standing in one place and examining the plastic food on display outside one of the restaurants.  Also, there are NO BINS.  Are Japanese people so neat that they don’t actually create litter?  Where are you supposed to get rid of anything??  We walked past a pachinko arcade (kind of like pinball) and wanted to go in, but as soon as the sliding doors parted it sounded absolutely terrifying and there were all these pink flashy lights so we ran away.

We made our way back to the hotel and got our room keys, had the best shower ever and a power-nap for 30 mins before I met Yuki in the lobby.  We went to the observation tower which gives you a spectacular 360 view of the city.  The Tokyo landscape is a lot different to London in that there aren’t many particular buildings that stand out as much, but the colours are pretty and of course it has Mount Fuji in the distance… but it wasn’t clear enough to see it when we were there.

View of the shrine from the observatory

View of the shrine from the observatory

Shinjuku station

Shinjuku station

We took the train to Harajuku, and went down a street which was very crowded and full of stores selling frilly clothes and weird t shirts.  I think it’s a good people-watching place!

Apparently this is where everyone takes a photo so I felt obliged

Apparently this is where everyone takes a photo so I felt obliged

We walked on to a shrine across the road (the mass of green in the Observatory picture) which was in the middle of a kind of park with huge trees either side of the pathway.  On the way in there were these barrels of Sake but I can’t remember why!  I think they were blessings…

Sake barrels

Sake barrels

Before you enter the shrine you can purify yourself with the water using wooden ladles so we did that.  Then made an offering where you bow and clap and make a wish but I forgot to make one at the right time so it probably won’t come true!

P1020398

P1020396

Wishes. Quite a lot of them were about girls.

Wishes. Quite a lot of them were about girls.

Next stop was Shibuya! Walked over the famous crossing and it was getting dark by this point so all the lights and adverts were lit up and the atmosphere was really lively.  There was a constant buzz of electronic noises and excited Japanese announcements.

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing

We went to get dinner at an izakaya which was tucked away up a flight of stairs inside a building on the street which I would never have known existed, and were greeted by all the waiters yelling IRASSHAIMASEEEE! (“Welcome”) which I loved.  Japanese waiters/shopkeepers are so enthusiastic and friendly and they all yell at you again as you leave which sounds kinda terrifying but it made me laugh a lot.  They should totally do that in the UK…

Itadakimaaaasu!

Itadakimaaaasu!

You could get unlimited cabbage there ♥ The food was really yummy. 

Finished the night by getting mini fireworks and setting them off in the park and climbed a tree and went back to the hotel and had SUCH A GOOD SLEEP.  Sorry if my writing is rubbish, I’m quite tired! 

P.S. Martha I remembered your note, it was lovely 🙂

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