Visiting Japan: Days 1, 2 and 3

I’ve been writing a lot about how my application for a job in Japan has been going. While I wait for the rest of it to unfold, how about I talk about my amazing trip to Japan? This will take me a while to write, as it was a two week trip, and I loved everything so, yeah… Maybe it’ll help to write it in parts, so let’s start!

Day 1

Nothing much here, this was the day we arrived. It was actually the day after my boyfriend’s birthday, the poor thing had his party on a plane, but he was alright with that.

The first thing we did was getting the bus to Chofu, where his mom, who had gotten there a few days earlier, was going to pick us up. However, we couldn’t call her for some reason and ended up getting a cab. By the way, Chofu is a town on the outskirts of Tokyo, on the Keyou line.

We went to his family house and it was in the suburbs, about 20 minutes walking from the station. It was a big house and quite cold. I met his uncles, aunt and grandfather, all of whom don’t speak much English, if any. My broken Japanese was enough though.

We walked around the neighbourhood and saw a temple. The streets were very quiet and peaceful, the opposite of London. Everything was so tiny and compact. The houses only had two floors and the pavement was very narrow, if there was any.

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Later on, due to jet lag, me and my boyfriend woke up at around 3am and decided to walk to the nearest Konbini (a small supermarket or corner shop) where I looked around in glee at all the weird snacks. On our way back we found a few vending machines (they’re absolutely everywhere!) and I just had to get a warm drink. It’s so weird to get warm drinks from a vending machine, but so nice and convenient, especially because it was winter and winter in Japan is quite cold and dry.

The streets weren’t completely empty, but I’ve never felt safer in my whole life! It was a really nice feeling, to walk around on the street in the middle of the night and not feeling scared.

Day 2

In the morning, because we were kind of tired from waking up so early, we took it relatively easy. In the morning, we walked around the neighbourhood again. Chofu is a really nice and quiet area, especially because it was a holiday.

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We had a lovely family lunch in a shabushabu restaurant, it was so tasty! Before I went to Japan I thought I was going to eat a lot of fish, but in the end what I ate most often was meat!

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Anyway, in the afternoon we took the train to go to Shinjuku and did a bit of window shopping. And we found gashapon heaven, where of course I got a lot of miniature goodies. I think I spent quite a bit of my money on Gudetama gashapon.

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This is me by the way, I keep avoiding showing pictures of me but what the hell, it was gashapon heaven and there was a machine with little miniatures of a naked man wearing women’s underwear. Apparently he’s quite popular in Japan, and I saw him on TV often while I was there. Don’t know his name though.

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Day 3

Our plan had been to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market early, but of course we didn’t. We ended up getting there at around 12pm, when most of the fish had already been sold and activity was pretty low. But we decided to try and have lunch there.

IMAG2297Something about Japan is that people seem to love queueing for stuff. They’ll queue for hours if they know that in the end they’ll get a good product. This was the case with most of the sushi places in Tsukiji Fish Market, and we waited for around an hour. But the sushi was incredibly tasty, so it was worth it in the end. And the line was right next to a vending machine so we were able to have some tea while we were waiting.

We then walked up to Ginza and walked past all the high end stores as we were trying to see the Imperial Palace. Including a really expensive fruit shop. All the pieces were perfect and beautiful and some of them cost £40! Anyway, we got there but unfortunately, the gardens were closed. It was still beautiful, though.

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After that we decided to walk all the way to Akihabara, as we weren’t that far off. Akihabara is where a lot of the anime and manga merchandise shops are, and that’s exactly what we checked out. Unfortunately, all of my pictures were blurry…

We got into the first store we found. It had 6 or 7 floors and each floor sold different things. One had costumes, one anime, one manga, one figurines, and so on and so forth. One thing I did find quite creepy was that, on the floor with all the pop idol figurines and girly merchandise, I didn’t see one girl shopping. All the shoppers were creepy older men. It was so, so creepy.

However, there was a floor I loved and that was the one where you could look at endless gashapon collections and choose the actual prize you want for a little over the gashapon price (some a lot over). I don’t think I got anything, but my boyfriend got some for his colleagues.

And I found some cool Star Wars figurines!

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Hope you guys enjoy this, and please comment! I’d like to hear from you! After all, that’s what this is for, to start conversations with people I don’t know (whatever happened to “don’t talk to strangers”? oh well…).

If you want to read about part 2 of this amazing trip, click here!

Until next time,

Inês

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6 thoughts on “Visiting Japan: Days 1, 2 and 3

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