My first night in Tokyo was a whirlwind of new experiences.
Living in China, there’s always some anxiety when traveling to another Asian country. I never thought I’d be going to Japan around this time but here I was!
I landed at Narita airport which is pretty far from the city of Tokyo and in the spirit of frugality (thanks dad) I opted to take the train system which came out to about 25.00USD.
The first thing that stood out to me, in a weird way, was that no one was staring at me. I was ready to dig deep into the souls of every individual I would make eye contact with but none came.
Anywhere in China, as soon as I would step off the plane(
shit, while on the plane even) , I would be met with stares and whispers from every uncle, auntie, mother and child, even some pointing at times.
I was always on defense in the past, but arriving in Japan I was automatically able to start shedding my defensive layer little by little.
And when I was obviously in distress trying to figure out how to maneuver my bags down a long flight of stairs, a kind woman gently tapped my arm, said something in japanese, and opted to help me carry a bag down not one but two flights of stairs!
Japan was somewhere different, a place where I would experience being in a new culture, a new environment and I hadn’t had that experience in a long time.
Almost two hours later I arrived at the air bnb, a tiny but quaint loft style apartment perfect for two people. Everything was clean, almost as if it was brand new. The shower was enclosed and had the best water pressure and hot water. Yes, if you’re wondering, I did shamelessly spend an obnoxious amount of time locked in the the shower.
My toilet (and most of the toilets around the city, even in the metro) had multiple functions. I kept hyping myself up to use the bidet function.
That first night I headed to Shibuya and got off the metro right at the infamous “busiest” cross walk in the world.
Though it was definitely crowded, I somehow managed not to bump into anyone. Another new for me in Asia.
I ended up down a small alley with food billboards and bright red lights. I opted for ramen since I had heard so much about it. And since I’m about that noodle life, I walked in …only to be kindly shown out.
I learned quick that the menu was put up outside the restaurant and I placed my order with a vending machine look alike before being shown to an empty table with a glass of ice water already waiting for me.
A table of young girls squealed shrilly and one of the chef’s and I exchanged a glance and shrugged our shoulders in unison, his tattooed sleeve extended past his elbows.
There was hospitality, energy, diversity and food… amen there was food. Tokyo was off to a great start.
After dinner, I had just enough energy
I was forced to explore some of the streets around Shibuya.
Everywhere, I seemed to pass by huge arcades covered in colorful anime pictures. All the characters seemed to have extra big bust. To be fair I didn’t see any young children running in and out of the arcade at 9 o clock at night. I did see a businessman, suite and briefcase in hand casually stroll out of the automatic doors and my mouth almost hit the floor. I poked my head in to the multi story facility and row after row, there was the random business man gaming away. That definitely wasn’t something i’d see every day.