My trip to Japan was hands down a random trip after my friend from the Bronx Latoya mentioned that it was only $500.00 RT from New York to Tokyo. We got on it fast! That is cheap considering it was cherry blossom season there. I took the bus from Boston to New York City and we departed from there on China Air and it wasn’t too bad of a flight. I slept most of the way and we had a layover in Shanghai at 5:20am for 4hrs which sucked into we talked to a group of people in our age group that were also traveling to Tokyo. That passed up some time. Our gate was at one of the terminals that had nothing around and we didn’t realize the restaurants and gift shops were upstairs until the last minute. Bummer. But the flight to Tokyo was only 2hrs and 40 mins. The total amount of flying from New York was about 18hrs which is cool as long as you have things to watch or something to read. The moment we landed we hit the ground using public transportation which was at first confusing but then we got the hang of it. People do speak some English so people helped us when we needed it. Once you understand the numbers with the train lines and where you are going, it’s easy to get around in Japan. Get you a JR pass to take the trains all over Japan for a decent price instead of paying every single time you go somewhere because it can be expensive after awhile if you want to travel far out. I used google maps mostly because it tells you details of which train to catch and which platform it’s on. It also tells you the number of the train for your destination so when you buy a train ticket at the machines in the stations, you look at the map and you just plug the number in the machine and that’s it, you’re good to go.
Speaking of trains, don’t get caught in rush hour because just like the movies, it can be sardines in a can packed. I mean squeezing organs packed. I didn’t realize that they really make sure as many people can fit on a train by all means. I literally was pushed almost to the ground by a man and he didn’t even apologize in English or Japanese. It’s normal to them. I mean back in the states, that can cause an argument or even a fight but I’m not ignorant, I know I wasn’t in America and understand that’s just how it is in Japan, it’s over populated like NYC. The weather was perfect so we didn’t mind waiting for another train to come by if one was impossible to get on. Okay now let’s get to the activities that we’ve done.
Some activities to do
Shopping in Harajuku (I got Rihanna’s Fendi slippers)
Jigokudani Monkey hot springs Park
The Millennium dance complex
Mori no Tosho Shitsu library and beer (That’s right you can drink while you read)
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
We were only there for a week so we were limited with time. We did a lot of walking around and I must admit I enjoyed that too. Getting lost and taking in the random snack vending machines on the street and the cigarette vending machines also which was strange given the fact that anyone can buy them under 18 years old. We stayed in 4 hotels which is crazy but we were all over Japan, not just Tokyo. The hotels we stayed in were 22 Hill Hotel and Hotel Metropolitan Nagano and Latoya booked the other two, sorry can’t remember the names. They were lovely and 22 Hill Hotel was a little loft with a ladder that had a bunk looking over the room with a tall window and an exposed bricked wall. It was pretty sick. We had some good meals in the area. One place that is a must to visit for an American Vibe is Brooklyn Parlor. They have Beer imported from Brooklyn New York and it hit the spot. They are known for the burgers and their vanilla ice cream is the best I’ve ever had. We also had Krispy Kremes there.
Check out some of these great food places pleaseeeeee!
Hoshino Coffee shop (Go there for their fluffy and soft French toast which tastes like birthday cake to me)
Mister Donut (Best little filled donuts ever)
Nakamachi Cafe (Very LA hipster vibes coffee spot)
Suke6 Diner (For the best Japanese styled pancakes)
Mikore Sushi (Amazing)
Smile Thailand (The freshest and best Thai food you will find…still drooling over the best massaman curry I’ve ever had besides in Thailand itself)
There are plenty of other great places around but I just named my top fav from the top of my head that I enjoyed. As far as must things you should do while in Japan is visit an Onsen bath and sleep in a capsule box but I must warn my readers that have tattoos, they do not allow people that have any tattoos in these facilities including foreigners. They believe that people that has tattoos are affiliated with a gang. Yes I know, it’s crazy to the Westernized culture but to them that’s what it means. I have plenty of tattoos and obviously I’m not in a gang and I’m a good person and also a foreigner but I still was not able to sleep in a capsule or soak in an onsen bath. Boohoo!! Maybe in time things will change there about that rule for foreigners. There are plenty of other things to experience with Japanese culture such as visiting a sumo wrestling match or trying rice noodles freshly made.
The people are soooo nice and they bow their heads when they greet you and when they say goodbye and hey always smile. I was so surprised to see so many Americans living there and we came across one black girl from America who spoke fluent Japanese! That was sooo awesome! I love seeing that! She offered to help us with directions and was so sweet. Japan is just like New York City but in my opinion more live because of the colorful bright billboards and lights and tall buildings and if you go on side streets you find the most cutest little stores and they have very unique snacks. Nothing is in English at the supermarket besides the food brands but that’s about it. I loved the Japanese fashion. People there dress so clean and in style! They are serious about their clothes! I loved seeing Japanese girls wearing bangs with the school uniform. It reminded me of watching Kill Bill for a bit and season 5 of the HBO series Girls, when Shoshanna moved to Tokyo. I literally was in most of the spots she was at and walked the same streets she did lol. So cool. I will for sure be back to Japan again if I spot a good price and do a lot more exploring there. I can see why Americans move there, it’s awesome. I’m glad I visited and seen Japan for myself and not just in movies or in Anime books. It was so great seeing how everybody crosses the busy streets in a cross formation in sync. People wait for the Walkman light to cross so don’t be like New York folks that just jet across the street because people drive in all directions there. Be sure to check out Japan life in the country side and away from the city. It’s beautiful and serene there and you can actually relax and think. Check out Airbnb instead of hotels because there are some sick spots to stay in and feel like you’re at home for decent prices. I give my visit a 9/10.