This post is way, way overdue…by 6 weeks. I guess that is what happens when you get back to real life! It was only a few short weeks ago that I found myself writing multiple times a week and racking my brain for a list of things to do everyday in paradise. Anyway, Tokyo was the last stop of my nearly half a year adventure and it was the best finale I could have asked for. I spent this last leg with my best friend and her husband, and because they have family friends in Tokyo, I was able to experience a lot of the city like a local- how cool! I’ll just start by saying Tokyo was one of the best experiences of my life. It was by far the biggest culture shock of my whole trip and I could not get enough of it. SO much culture, amazingly kind people, endless things to do, and the food…don’t even get me started.
Getting to Tokyo should have been a breeze since we were just flying two hours from Okinawa, but I somehow managed to book (let’s be real, it was the cheapest) airline in this makeshift shack outside of the terminal with no air conditioning and a strict baggage policy ( I won’t go into detail, but it really was ridiculous what happened, trust me). Jenna and I were losing it but no one spoke English so we basically looked like crazy b’s sweating our butts off. Two hours later we arrived in Tokyo and met up with Austen who had taken a different flight. If it wasn’t for him, Jenna and I would have never made it to the city. He guided us through the subway and a couple of hours later we made it to our traditional Japanese apartment (belonged to family friends).
Isn’t it cute?? We slept on the floor! I mean, I won’t be bringing back this tradition to the states with me but for a few days it was pretty neat. This first night we found a Chinese restaurant a couple blocks away and let me tell you it was real good and probably smothered in MSG. So good I didn’t have time to photograph…oops
The first full day we went to the fish market and walked around. It is filled with sushi, food stands, thrift/gift shops, and fish (obviously). We strolled around with our clear umbrellas in hand and stopped at a sushi place Jenna and Austen had tried before. Again, SO good. How about from now on just assume the food I talk about was amazing so we can skip this part.
FUN FACT: There are over 55,000 restaurants in Tokyo (in comparison to say, Portland, which has 3,700)…so don’t bother looking up “the best,” just walk down the block, use your nose, and you won’t be disappointed.
One of the main touristy things we did was visit the Skytree, Tokyo’s tallest building. I wanted to go at night since all my other “viewpoints from very high locations” on my trip were done during the day. I thought Tokyo lit up at night was spectacular and possibly my favorite tower lookout.
We also visited one of the world’s busiest pedestrian crosswalks, Shibuya Crossing, and looked at it from above and also walked across. Maybe this doesn’t sound exciting but it was like nothing I’ve ever seen as far as the sheer amount of people walking across a street and just how normal that is.
Another favorite stop of mine was Ueno Park in Northern Tokyo. It’s Tokyo’s version of New York’s’ Central Park. There is a lot of interesting nature, architecture, and a few turtles as well ;). What stuck out to me about this park was how peaceful it was for being in the middle of a huge and busy city. I didn’t feel like I was in Tokyo for a while and it was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle.
On the second to last day we visited a nearby city for a change of scenery. We took a bus about an hour to Kamakura. Jenna and I wanted to go here specifically to see the massive Buddha and the bamboo forest. We did both plus Thai food and it was SO worth the trip!
Finally, the last day of my trip. I was insanely emotional this day for a lot of different reasons. My nearly half a year excursion was coming to an end. So much had changed in such a short amount of time, I gained a suitcase ( just a few Japanese souvenirs ;),a million unforgettable memories, and was more ready than ever to come home and “start over” in a different city.
Traveling taught me that life is about perspective. It gave me a lifetime of highs (literally, thanks Amsterdam) and low,lows. It gave true meaning to the phrase “it’s not where you are it’s who you’re with.” Traveling helped me majorly with my anxiety by forcing me to cope when stressful situations arose on the daily. I’ve always seen the big picture but the trip helped me appreciate the smalls things even more- to embrace the “now.” It reminded me how much I cherish routine and to never take where I live for granted. I’ve been home just a month and a half, but some days I feel like I never left. I’m finally settling in to my new reality and although I’m not exactly where I want to be, I know I’m on the right path. P.s I know the last two paragraphs belong in a diary but deal with it, okay?
I’d also like to thank all my fans for reading my blog this past year. Okay, maybe all my followers are related to me, but still, thanks ❤