Day 6: we had to check out at 11 am, but the flight wasn't until 10 pm, so we just wandered around Tokyo for a few hours. Angela and I wanted to see the Harajuku girls (google it. Hard to explain), so went to the Harajuku district and walked around. We didn't see the girls but we did find an interesting place called Johnny's. We noticed a lot of people (mostly girls) going in so we were curious. We walked in to see rows of walls covered with pictures of guys and numbers by them. People had pieces of paper and were putting check marks by the numbers. We were afraid it was some kind of weird sex show so we left and googled it. Basically the girls were just choosing pictures they wanted to buy of popular boy bands. Not very exciting.
Next we stumbled upon The American Pub so we swung in for a burger. I was getting tired of Asian food. Some of it has been good, but I feel it's the same in the U.S. Sorry to disappoint the foodies. I haven't been impressed with any of the food.
14 July 2017
Day 4: We went back to Tokyo the next day because we were meeting Hiro for dinner. He lives in Tokyo but went to Vanderbilt for his MBA and knew one of our friends. We went to a really good restaurant in the Shinjuku district that serves small plates. I told him it was my birthday eve so he had the waitress bring me some ice cream and they sang happy birthday. Then we went to sing karaoke!! He took us to a karaoke bar where you get to pick a costume and have your own private room. So much fun! The TV screen was showing random pictures or videos during the songs, and at one point there were pictures of Nashville! Very random!
Next we went to Golden Gong district. It's a small block of pedestrian only streets that is lined with tiny bars. Tiny as in only 5-10 people can fit inside.
We stopped to get some ramen at what seemed to be like a Waffle House but Japanese style.
13 July 2017
Day 3: Angela and I realized we are not big fans of big cities. So we decided to go to Kamakura Beach (an hr from Tokyo) to surf. We walked along the beach and then went to see The Giant Buddha. It was too late to get surf boards so we decided to stay the night. We got some bunk beds at really nice hostel ( way better than the damn Clarion in Philadelphia). We got our surf boards at 6am the next morning. The waves were small but a few other surfers were out there so we gave it a shot only to be very disappointed. Angela caught one wave but it wasn't much. We also soon realized the water was disgusting. There was trash everywhere in the water, complete let down after being in crystal clear waters in Siargao. ☹️
PSA: Please don't litter and do recycle as much as possible. It was sad to see the ocean full of trash.
I did get to check one thing off my list- Meet Pepper the robot! He spoke Japanese so I couldn't understand him, but we did dance! FYI, the robot dance has changed.
12 July 2017
Day 2: We took day trip to Kyoto. We saw a Shogun's Palace. I learned that a Shogun is a Japanese general ( not just a restaurant) 😏
Next we stopped by the Fushimi Inari Shrine. It was a big hill with a winding route to the top lined with the shrine gates ⛩. There was also a bamboo forest which was really pretty to walk through.
Then we went to the Gion district where the Geisha girls work. We ran into a few getting into cabs. Then we saw a performance that showcases several Japanese traditions ( tea ceremony, flower arrangement, puppet play, comedy play, and a Geisha dance). We enjoyed a few pieces of delicious Nigiri after the show.
I have also learned that "sushi" here is just nigiri (raw fish on top of rice). I haven't seen a menu with sushi rolls like I'm used to.
11 July 2017
First day in Tokyo was very chill. I have been traveling for 20 days now and every day has been go,go,go. I needed a little break so I slept in, washed some clothes, and took my time getting ready while the rest of my group headed out to the Ueno district.
I took the train out there a few hours later. Even though everything is in Japanese, the trains are surprisingly easy to navigate. I tried to contact the group but they didn't have wifi so I just walked around Ueno park and saw a few temples.
Then I had lunch at a nearby restaurant. The menu items had a few things in English so I chose a bento box. I recognized the tempura veggies, rice,salad,
miso soup and sashimi. The rest I wasn't so sure about, but I was adventurous and took a bite out of everything. Nothing tasted too gross, but I wasn't a fan of the textures. I went back to the apartment and took a nap. Everyone else went to the famous Robot Show. It's not my type of show so I was OK to miss it. I ate Italian for dinner 😉