Friday, June 15, 2012

A Weekend in Tokyo

This post is long overdue... but since this tumbleweed managed to float over to Japan, I thought I'd share my experience.

I went to Tokyo for a weekend (last month) to visit some colleagues in my company. My company is composed of only 8 traveling individuals and we're divided among three teams that are scattered all over the world. Our work/lifestyle is exciting and dynamic but also very demanding. At times it can be hard to relate to others because of our nomadic worlds... so when any of us gets a chance to visit each other, it's like a breath of fresh air. We're kindred spirits- we adapt, we live in the moment, we know why we do this. We get it. We love this sh*t.

Ok, done with the sap.

Other than the United States (yeah, America!), Japan is my favorite country so far. I was only there for two nights and three days, but I am in love with the country. I can't wait until I can see more of it one day.

The weather in Tokyo was rainy from the moment my plane landed until I met my friend at the train station. We stopped at her apartment to put away my carry-on and then walked outside to start our weekend. The skies were clear, the sun was shining, and the air was nice and cool. Good omen.

First stop was sushi (of course) and then Shibuya Crossing. We found a nice spot at a second-floor Starbucks and people-watched for at least an hour. This was a great introduction to Tokyo culture. I saw hoards of the cutest Japanese men and women flood the intersection over and over and over again. It was mesmerizing.

Afterwards, we walked around the area and grabbed some dinner and beers. The restaurant had a touchscreen menu for us! Japanese engineering at it's finest. I should have taken more pictures, but I was too preoccupied with catching up with my buddies. We ended the night walking out of a club, only to be greeted by the 5am daylight. Yep, it was one of those nights.
Entrance to Harujuku district. This is home to the fashionistas dressed like the trendiest school girls. 
We spent the next day recovering at Yoyogi Park near Harujuku. Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo. It was crowded with people enjoying the good weather. We people-watched again all day while sipping on some beers and planning festivities for the night.

I spent a lot of time people-watching because Tokyo street style is fascinating. It's everything you'd think it'd be and more. Women are freaking adorable. Men are so well-groomed. Everyone has tiny little anime voices. When you walk into a store or restaurant, you get the highest-pich happy greeting. Every time.

Before heading out for the night, we stopped at my friend's favorite 24-hour diner. At this restaurant (and many others) you order and pay for your food from a vending machine and then the kitchen prepares it for you. The favorite choice here is cold udon.

Many nappers all over Tokyo. I met a fellow American in Tokyo that has started:

Check it out!
We headed back out after a quick power nap and spent another long night soaking up all the nightlife of Tokyo. Everyone is out and about- even if they're tired. 

The ramen bar surrounds this tiny kitchen. Only 8 or 9 people can eat in this little shop at a time. One side for frying up tempura goodness, another side for preparing noodles, and the third side for serving up the food and cleaning the dishes.
During my last day, we stood at an udon bar and ate a delicious bowl of noodles to cure our hangover and then went to Tokyo Tower so I could see all the parts of Tokyo I didn't have time to see.

A view of a temple. Pretty Tokyo- so green!
Little Japanese cutie standing on the look down window. 

Clouds rolling in over Tokyo.

The weather was perfect for my entire weekend until I was ready to get on my train back to the airport. While we were in the tower, it got stormy out of nowhere. It stopped raining for our walk back to the train station, though. Yes, Japan... don't cry, I'll miss you too.

No comments:

Post a Comment