A photo letter of the seven days that I spent in Tokyo during Summer.
Prior to my exchange program I spent a week in Tokyo, Japan. The weather was forecasted to rain every day but nothing like a bit of rain could make me fall out of love with this beautiful country.
DAY 1: Shibuya
Rain on the first day. I loved how a majority of people held clear umbrellas. You don’t see that very often in Australia.
We visited an art museum on the more quite end of Shibuya to escape the rain. There was a little less than an hour before the gallery closed, so upon entering the room I saw a small spread of people softly whispering amongst the exhibition. It was a nice change of pace from dodging the rain and the excessive walking! I’m too used to vegetating back home 🙁
You can find out more detail here: http://www.bunkamura.co.jp/english/museum/20170715.html
Okachimachi Station. The one thing I took for granted in Australia was how fast it is to walk from one line to another. In Tokyo I had to plan 10-15 minutes ahead to ensure I would be on the right platform at the right time. There were moments where we had no idea where we were and would ask the locals for help. Even with the language barrier they make such an effort to be of assistance, whether that be walking us directly to the platform or guiding us to an information booth. Japanese people make me so weak with their kindness (sigh)
Jason and I tried Goldfish Scooping in one of the quieter stalls. I was reluctant to play because I had watched the group before us but to my surprise, I wasn’t too bad!
Initially I felt that renting a yukata was too much of a tourist activity but Jason ended up convincing me! So here’s me pictured above in a yukata 🙂 The best way to make an experience more meaningful is to do the unexpected. It’s funny how putting on this yukata made all the difference.
I got about an hour wear until I gave in and got changed out of it because I really wanted to eat from the street vendors.
Waiting to eat shaved ice. I realised that although public transport provides convenience it limits the potential to finding hidden gems. Travelling by foot has given me an opportunity to fall in love time and time again with the quiet concealed streets of Japan.
Jason ordered the brown sugar shaved ice and it was so sweet it left him feeling sick the whole day. We thought it’d be small since the servings for Japanese food was typically very little so this came as a huge surprise for us.
Akihabara + Ikebukero
Akihabara and Ikebukero are one of my most favourite places ever because only there can my inner otaku be unbridled.There were tons of gacha stores, claw games and anime/manga shops so if this resonates with you, Akihabara and Ikebukero will feel like home.
Our first win at a claw game! This triggered us to spending a good two hours visiting different gaming centres to get coupons to feed our addiction. We ended up winning seven different toys with only 400 yen because of these coupons and I’m not sure what to make out of this new profound skill…
If there is any place in the world that makes me most comfortable, it’d be Harajuku. Japan surprises me every time, depending on where you are, people have a certain way of dressing and presenting themselves.
We visited Harajuku Gyoza-ro, a place renowned as being the best gyoza in Tokyo. It was such a delightful experience as it was cheaply priced and although we had to line up, it went by incredibly fast. The staff were amazing and food was delivered almost instantly! We had a unique experience in which the main staff focused almost all his attention on us. He told us how much vinegar and soy sauce to pour and charged us only for the two glass of beer!
Exploring Shinjuku alone with no access to the internet was one of the most memorable things about this trip. After waving goodbye to Jason I started to become nervous because at that moment, I only had myself. But something clicked in me, maybe it was the idea that I was so far away from home and that I kept reminding myself “Emily, you’re in Japan!! JAPAN!!” that I suddenly became comfortable with the absence of familiarity. I was determined to be lost in one corner of Shinjuku and that led me to places that seemed to be home to the locals.
While I got to experience summer in Japan, I’m eager to feel winter on the tip of my skin when I return for the Christmas break.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this photo diary. I hope you enjoyed seeing a snippet of the amazing things I saw and look forward to seeing more. Have a wonderful day!