Thursday, June 27, 2013

HEAD OVER HEELS FOR TOKYO

Konichiwa! After spending a spectacular week in Tokyo, I decided on my last day that I no longer wanted to be a tourist in this city, I yearned to be a resident instead! Lol! But in all seriousness, I totally fell head over heels for this metropolis. As a matter of fact, it is my best-loved to date. I would definitely go back, walk in its streets once more, experience everything all over again, explore the unexplored... and well, just keep discovering.

Konichiwa from the Imperial Palace

So what actually ignited this romance between Tokyo and I? Giving you my topmost reasons, here's why:
 
1.   Because it is one of the fashion capitals in the world. The streets of Tokyo are like 24-hour catwalks filled with people that are all styled and dolled up. Definitely no way to dress down here. The roads are their runways and being in fashion for the majority has obviously become a necessity. It always amazes me whenever I'm in a place where people freely express themselves through what they wear. And seeing Tokyo like this, I just felt right then and there that this was my city. Ok, I've been to Paris and Milan, which are fashion champions no doubt, but there is something unparallel in Tokyo's trendy scene. Clothes and accessories that I've never seen anywhere else,  I could easily acquire the freshest fashion ideas from the people walking on the streets, no need to browse through magazines. Some even appear a bit overdone but are still pefectly pulling it of.  
 
Catwalking in Shibuya

A few days of being in Tokyo might get you accustomed to the daily fashion scenario.  When the roads start to bore you and you feel the urge to witness something really extraordinary,  I  suggest that you go to the Harajuku strip. On Sundays, this is where teenagers dressed in eccentric clothes hang out and display their exceptional creativity in cosplaying. Some of them may look intimidating but trust me, they are friendly and would just be as thrilled as you are to take photos!
 
An example of cosplaying in Harajuku
 
Busy Harajuku on a Sunday
 
 
2.   Because I am crazy about Japanese food... eversince I was young. Eating authentic Japanese food everyday, Tokyo indeed was euphoria. It was a paradise as I was never starved, there were restaurants and food stalls in every street. I forgot thirsty because there were beverage vending machines in every corner.
 
 
From that first moment of exiting the subway in my hotel area, I was all wowed with the pre-packaged food and snack items enticingly showcased in the food stores outside the train station. I didn't actually have to go farther to devour a sushi! I certainly enjoyed the accessibility. 
 
 
But make sure not to miss an all-out sushi and sashimi dining experience especially in the Tsukiji fish market area. Ahhh... tried every plate in the sushi conveyor. Fresh ingredients resulted to a fulfilling feat obvious in the stack of empty plates too high to quantify!
 
 
 
Let's not forget those mouth-watering desserts such as cakes, ice creams, crepes (crepes!!), cream puffs that were too cute and colorful to resist! And dessert "temptation" stands are all over the city there was no escape!  
 
 Look at all these cakes!
 
 
 
Add to that the limited-edition Kit Kats found in convenience stores that were actually sometimes more than enough to fulfill my craving for sweets.
 
Kitkat time at the convenience store
 
3.   Because I love living in convenience. Who is ignorant of Japan's incredibly "advanced technology" reputation? Its genuises' leading-edge technical knowledge is a resource that makes living easy and convenient for all . From toilet seats (sorry I have to mention this as an example, but look at all those push-buttons!) to its train stations (that Shinkansen railway, or the bullet train with half the speed of an airplane connecting one city to another).
 
The Shinkansen bullet train
 
Small gadgets such as a price scanner for your color-coded stack of empty sushi plates (there must be a microchip or something inside these plates), or an adding machine at the payment counter (where the cashier just have to drop your money onto the machine and it calculates everything up), or an umbrella wrapper (where upon entering a building you just insert your wet umbrella into a machine that automatically wraps it, goodbye wetness and dripping!). Hassle-free all the way. The comforts of living state-of-the art!
 
Hassle-free!
 
4.   Because the country itself is beautiful and its people are to be admired. I think I need not explain the allure of the cherry blossoms during spring, the appeal of its mysterious gardens and historical temples, all of nature's grandeur and the city's organized modernity all combined.
 
 
Top it off with disciplined, polite and very helpful citizens that live in harmony and peace. I've surely noticed that the Japanese are poised, well-mannered and are quiet people who are not easily angered. I have observed that there was a consistent silence in the public buses and trains because people talk discreetly, no boisterous laughters, no shouting, no loud ringing tones and there was minimal car honking in the streets... absolutely no unnecessary uproars in general.
 
 "Peace!", with the schoolkids at the Tokyo Tower

First timers, promise me that you will...:
 
+ spend time strolling along its breathtaking parks and gardens. There are many to choose from and its great if you can visit them all. I had a memorable walk and moments at the Yoyogi Park. I love The Imperial Palace Garden because it felt like a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Lush greens, beautiful ponds and walkways.. immersed myself in complete silence and serenity
 
Meiji Shrine
 
 Sake barrels at the Meiji Shrine
 
Quiet & serene at the Imperial Palace garden
 
+ contemplate over a panorama of the entire city by rising atop the The Tokyo Tower or the Tokyo Skytree Tower. Nowhere else to catch an amazing bird's eye view of the whole Tokyo.
 
View from the top of the Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo Skytree Tower

+ grace the temples and shrines with your presence. The Senso-ji is one of the most significant, and within its precints stand a five-story pagoda. I  love the souvenir shopping strip outside the temple area too.

Meiji Shrine

The five-story pagoda

The Senso-ji Temple

Shopping outside the Senso-ji

+ bring out that inner child in you at Tokyo Disneyland. I'm going to feature this theme park in my future post, watch out for that!


+ shop or window shop in Akhibara, the electrical city. An area full of electronic shopping where car traffic stops on Sundays from 1:00 - 6:00 pm on its main road and everyone can freely walk along. Lovely to go here in the evening too as the entire area lights up making it bright and lively.
 
People walking freely in Akhibara
 
The electrical city lights up at night
 
+ enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Sumida river. I thoroughly recommend this approach to see Tokyo as you will see the city in a totally different perspective.
 
 Sumida river cruise
 
There are more, more attractions to see and activities to explore. I certainly gave my best shot to make the most out of my time and enjoy the short love affair with this city. Couldn't get enough and I'm still dreamy about going back to Tokyo to conquer those that I've missed! And though it was expensive, I surely got back my money's worth from the unforgettable and overwhelming experiences in the land of the rising sun.
 
Follow me on Instagram as RUNWAYFARER
 



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