I’ve had 3 really interesting paradigm shifts recently in the way I view travel. Also, pretty sure this is what privilege looks like:
1) I think most people travel like they’ll never be to that city again. They try to see everything in a short period of time. But for me, it doesn’t occur like I’ll never be there again anymore. I know I can afford to come back and Ive traveled internationally enough to know that for me international trips occur 5+ times per year.
2) I don’t have a 9-5 job. Instead I run a relatively stable business and work 2 days per week, so the concept of “vacation” just doesn’t resonate with me anymore. My whole life is a vacation. And that changes the tone of the trip when I travel
3) I have a remote job so I can work from anywhere that has WiFi ... so I’m taking longer & longer trips (a month at a time is common now). That also changes the tone of the travel
Feeling grateful to even have access to such a perspective.
Walked to the rooftop at the Hyatt (about 10 mins away). Has a really good Japanese/Western hybrid breakfast buffet. Expensive but definitely what I needed on a lazy, rainy Sunday.
After breakfast I walked to a seating area on the 41st floor. That’s where I’m writing from right now actually! Blogged for an hour
There’s a city-wide marathon today. Can see the start of the marathon outside the window below.
Walked back home
Went home. Fell asleep at about 7pm (I was exhausted) woke up at 4am. Had a long emotional talk with Taria. We both cried 😊. Felt good to talk about life and get some frustration out of our system
2 March 2019
Poked our heads into some Pachinko spots. There were so many on every street that we had to see what was going on! Slot machines! Took photos for my grandma. 😊
As of 2015, Japan's pachinko market generates more gambling revenue than that of Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore combined 😳
We got off the bus at Ueno. We were starving and decided to hit up multiple sushi & dumpling places:
1) Magurobito- this was by far the best! It’s a teeny tiny place. Standing room only for 9-10 people at a time. Rated the best standing-only sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Sushi chefs were super serious and transactional- focused more on their craft than service which was great! Plus we read about this in advance and were prepared. Walked away only paying 1,600 yen
2) Part 1- ordered dumplings 🥟. They were huge & not very flavorful
3) Sushiro- Also did conveyor belt sushi. Grab anything you want on the bottom belt. Order on a tablet. Custom orders come directly to your table via the upper conveyor belt. Fun experience but not nearly as good as Magurobito
Took the train to Tokyo Tower to get on the Sky Hop bus. I know it’s touristy but I always like to do hop-on-hop-off tours at the beginning of my trips to get my lay of the land.
This tour was particularly boring though. I didn’t realize that Japan doesn’t really have landmarks so the guides audio tour was subtle and anticlimactic. I like the idea of not having landmarks though!
Jamarr and Taria arguing this morning so Robert and so ditched them to get breakfast 😊
Went to a Le Pain Quotidien but I wanted to try non-Western bread. I have a gluten allergy and I heard non-Western bread is sometimes fine for those with sensitivities.
Got some avocado toast with shrimp 🍤. You can take the girl out California, but you can’t take the California out the girl. Food was good. Avocado was just so-so 😊
Spotted a Cocos restaurant on the way. This is the name of my grandmas favorite restaurant in San Diego so I took photos to send her
1 March 2019
I found a restaurant for dinner on Fourquare. We walked about 10 mins to a place that kind of looked like Time Square, which is wild because we aren’t even at the core of downtown.
The restaurant I wanted to go to had an hour wait. So did 3 other restaurants on the street. So we ended up at a casual Udon place. I got a bowl of rice and chicken (it’s possible it was tofu actually lol not sure). It was super spicy- even for my tastes. But the umami was overpowering for me... couldn’t really hang lol
Walked back home. We stopped by the grocery store on the way home. I was too tired to shop though and left to head home with Taria.
We also stopped by McDonalds for an ice cream. Somehow I wasn’t too tired for that 😂
Arrived at our AirBnB which was a super cute 3 bedroom 2-story apartment in Nishishinjuku (pronounced knee-she-shin-joo-koo)
I was a bit worried about the 4 of us having enough room for our Western tastes, but there’s plenty of room.
Only thing there’s not room for is Jamarr’s head (see photo). He has to duck when he goes through some of the doors and thus far he isn’t doing a great job remembering lol
The shower room and the toilet room are separate here... which makes a lot of damn sense lol. The shower room (see 4th photo) is an entire room with a tub on one side and a shower on the other. Taria told me that the bath isn’t really for cleaning it’s for relaxing. The shower is for cleaning - which is fine with me because I hate baths lol.
Landed at Narita Airport.
When I got off the plane I was immediately relieved to see just about every sign translated into English.
Flight was great. Surprisingly, I stayed up almost the entire time, watched movies, listened to podcasts, meditated, etc. And I only got antsy on the final 3 hours
I’m traveling with my friends Jamarr and Taria (plus Taria’s little brother). They arrived a day before me and warned me that getting from Narita to Shinjuku, where our Airbnb is, is tricky- they had to take 3 different trains
I read a couple blogs and decided to take the Narita Express (N’EX) from the airport straight to Shinjuku then take a 10 min taxi the rest of the way- I’m willing to pay the 1,200 yen (about $10 USD) for the extra taxi
The N’EX is cool! At one point it splits in half- with each side traveling to a diff location (see photo of me on the train). I downloaded Japan’s uber equivalent app called JapanTaxi although I had to cancel my ride & just take a regular taxi