I wish I could stay for longer, but I mean the Philippines are calling, so can’t bail on them now…Overall, I loved exploring around Tokyo and just taking in what culture I could in the short amount of time I was there-the main places I hit were Ginza, Shibuya and Harajuku. Many people warned me about feeling jetlagged, but I’ve never really felt it before, so I wasn’t worried. Then it hit me like a brick wall around 7pm Thursday night, and I quickly passed out around 8, only to be wide awake at 6:15 with nothing to do. I proceeded to go to Starbucks (only thing open that early) and read until it was a suitable time to explore the city on my own for a few hours. Here is a compressed list of things I learned/saw:
1. Everything is smaller in Japan (cough, cough, the people). For example, beds, ceilings, silverware, glasses, cars, etc.
2. My body is not use to humidity, especially my hair. It’s going to be a struggle the next couple of months.
3. The metro is much bigger here than in the Bay area, but just as easy to navigate, even though it was in a different language-which is saying something.
4. Shibuya feels eerily similar to SF or NYC, as there are huge billboards everywhere with English writing on them, and it felt like the concrete jungle.
5. I stumbled upon a large park in the middle of the city, called Yoyogi Park. It was beautiful and peaceful and empty. It made me wish I could have gone on a run there.
6. I was shocked to find how many American franchise stores were in the city. To name a few I saw, there was Abercrombie, Forever 21, Dennys, American Eagle, McDonalds, 7-11, not even including the designer stores.
7. People would start talking to me in Japanese and then I’d say, “sorry, English?” They proceeded to talk in Japanese…this happened multiple times.
8. However, people here are very helpful! A few came up to me and asked if I needed help, because I probably looked seriously confused.
9. The subways are always silent because everyone is staring at their phone or sleeping.
10. I wandered into a protest on the streets of Shibuya, which of course was no big deal, considering I live in Berkeley.