Greetings from Tokyo!

Location | Tokyo

Hi everyone! Greetings from the very awesome Tokyo!!! I’m having a blast with my new friends and just chilling around town.

So yesterday I flew in on a 14 hour flight and got here around 4pm. We then took a 1 hour train to Tokyo’s Ueno station and switched trains to arrive in Aoyama Station. The picture on the left is of Bryan B and Ariela staring in awe a the vending machines on the train we took. So then we got to our hotel, the Hotel Asia Center in Akasaka. After checking in and all that good stuff (I’m rooming with Suma ^^v), we went to a random pub-like place down the street and had yakitori, ebi-chile, wonton soup and other various pub foods. Of course, I was the only person with the non-alcoholic drink :). Anyway, we got back to the hotel because we were going to wake up at 5am to go to Tsukiji Fish Market.

So this morning, I woke up at 5:20, since my alarm didn’t go off, and then got ready to leave for Tsukiji. Tsukiji was just amazing with all the giant fish and people running around and trying to run you over if you were in the way. Yep, almost died a few times by just sticking my foot out in the pathway of a quick-moving mini-truck. The left is a picture of a tuna selling warehouse. Shivali and I walked through the market and checked out what people were selling. It was really interesting to see what kinds of fish there were… We even saw a cut-fish with what was left of it, its head, nailed to a board. The fish was still moving… oooooh. Then we encountered a lost Kris and we went off to find a place to eat. At first we got in line, but afterwards we thought we’d go somewhere else. Then we went back in and went to a small place where we ordered the jyou-sei gentaku (???) set meal. It had different pieces of sashimi over rice and a sweet tamago (I forget it’s formal name) and we all had tea and there was miso soup. I was so excited to be able to order in Japanese!!!

Sushi Meal in Tsukiji

Sushi Meal in Tsukiji

So after eating we had to wait for everyone else in front of the subway station entrance. There were two (young) guys drinking beers and smoking. This guy came up from the subway (just a regular citizen) and said to go the guys that they weren’t supposed to smoke there. They apparently were blatantly standing in front of a sign that clearly said “No Smoking.” The guys just told the random guy to go away… hehehe…

After Tsukiji we went to Tsukiji-Hongan-ji, a buddhist temple that really doesn’t look like a buddhist temple. It was very interesting to see how people prayed. What you do is, you go up to the incense table and bow to Amida Buddha. You offer some money to the box and then you take some incense powder and toss it into the smoking flame. Then you pray (just by putting your hands together) and then afterwards you step back and bow again.

The strange thing about the Tsukiji-Hongan-ji is that there was a shrine to Hide, the famous rock singer of the late nineties. Apparently his funeral was held there in 1998. It was really interesting to see all the things left at the mini-shrine, notebook filled with messages, art work, a Hide doll!! I’m amazed at how attached people were to Hide.

Then we made our way over to the Nagakin Capsule Hotel. Though it looks really cool, because it’s an awkward kind of building, it was really dirty looking as well, because of it’s age.

Bathroom of the Capsule Hotel

Bathroom of the Capsule Hotel

After Nagakin, we made our way to Ginza, which is a famous shopping district. Since everything we pretty much closed when we got there (which was around 8:30/9am), we walked around looking at the buildings, like the Hermes, Gucci, Mikimoto, etc buildings. Ariela and I ended up looking at stuffed animals in a window and the store owner came to open the store and was trying to get past us -____-” it was pretty random. So then Brian T wanted to get some coffee, so we went to Starbucks. After that, we went to Mitsukoshi to meet up with Suma. We ended up going downstairs to the food courts to check out all the tasty foods!! I got some curry bread and choco-pan (bread with chocolate pudding in the center). The curry one was amazing!! So after that we went to Iti-Ya, a shop that sells stationary. Talk about awesome selection! I got a few pens and an eraser. Yay, I’m happy to have my thin pens.

After Ginza we walked over to the Tokyo International Forum, this amazing glass building designed by an Italian architect. It’s basically just an exhibition hall, but the building itself is a site to see. We walked this really long ramp to get to the top (7th floor). Seriously, no steps, all ramp!! Looking down was really cool. There was also this random wall that said “push” and it turns out it had a door carved into it for and emergency exit. Talk about a weird place to put an emergency exit… no one really noticed that it was until I looked up and saw that it said exit. Weirrrrd.

Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum

After that we walked over to the Tokyo Train Station. The station turned out to be really old and dilapidated. It really doesn’t fit in with the rest of that area because it is a weird western style architecture. From there we got on the JR Train and went to Shibuya!

I was so excited to go to Shibuya because it’s my main area of study!! Seriously, so many cool looking people and then we walked out into the Hachiko Exit/Plaza. OMG I LOVE SHIBUYA!!! We walked out into the crosswalk which all the cars stop and the pedestrians just fill in any direction. We walked in a weird direction into a street near the famous 109 store. We were trying to find a place to eat and ended up at a small restaurant across from the Tokyu Hands store. It served Chinese-style food, mainly ramen. We also walked by a Taiwanese restaurant earlier (YAY!). Anyway, I had the Chinese-style ramen for 390 Yen. So cheap! (like $4.50ish). Coming out of the restaurant, we saw some real ko-gals. Some REAL UGLY ko-gals/ganguro girls… Hehhee… they really should get rid of that style… it’s soooo ugly!!! Then after that we didn’t have much time, but we walked around for a bit and ended up in a CD store. Then back to Hachiko Plaza to meet everyone again.

Hachiko, Loyal Akita

Hachiko, Loyal Akita

From there we were to walk to Omotesando, a famous shopping street filled with high-class stores. We ended up walking to Yoyogi Park — the site of part of the 1964 Olympics. It was truly an impressive buliding and looked really pretty. It had some good views of “regular Tokyo” instead of “tourist Tokyo.” From there we walked by the Meiji Jingu Garden/Park and the giant wood Torii (or front gate). We walked into Omotesando and saw awesome buildings like the Omotesando Hills building (by Mori, the leading building developer in Japan), we saw the Chanel and Oriental Bazaar Buildings. We then went down to the end of Omotesando towards the Prada building. The Prada building was cool because of the dressing rooms. Unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures on the inside. The dressing room is cool because it has a glass door/wall and when you go in, you hit a button on the floor and the glass becomes shaded so you can’t see inside.

After Prada, we were set free to do whatever. Shivali and I ended up walking down Omotesando to the Oriental Bazaar store. I got a coin purse and some other goodies from there. We then went down to go through Harajuku. It is an amazing place, but I feel like we went at the wrong time, there weren’t that many people and plus we were just exhausted from all the walking we had done!!! After that we walked back to the Chiyoda Line and took the train to Omotesando (the end of the road) and then changed to the Ginza line and got back to Aoyama!! So here we are, back at the hotel!

I can’t believe the first day is pretty much over! It’s so cool that I’m actually here and that I had a really good first day! More updates soon. I’m going to upload pictures and the map stuff in a little bit so look out for them.

Lots of Love~!

[This entry was taken from my old blog, Building Tokyo. Formatting may have changed when moved to Explore!]

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02 2007

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