tokyo, japan: reflection
When I started planning my trip back in December, Tokyo was at the top of my list. I had heard incredible things- descriptors about it being another world and out of this world. Everything I experienced in few days was just that. Tokyo is unreal. Unreal.
This fast-paced, clean, efficient, high-tech, cool, trendy, modern, new meets old, design-focused city offers an explosion of history, culture and energy.
I was on such a high as I strolled aimlessly through the streets of Tokyo. Each neighborhood offering a different look and feel. I have never been somewhere so clean and efficient in my life. It blows my mind how one of the most populated places in the world can operate in such a seamless way. From the subway to restaurants to public toilets, every detail is carefully considered, thought out and executed. Such a smooth operation of a country. Plus, as I've mentioned the amazing people match the ease and welcoming nature of the city.
I also feel so lucky as each night in Tokyo I was able to meet up with a friend for dinner. The first night, I met up with my friend Yumi who I met in India a few weeks ago. I love traveling! So cool to meet people and unexpectedly see them again in new places. Yumi took me to a great local place for dinner and ordered me vegetarian dishes. SO sweet. Then we went to an underground building- more "Old Tokyo" with lots of little bars. It was so fun to see something I would've never known about otherwise.
On our way out we stopped to talk to these three people who were singing Karaoke with a book and a guitar. SO cool. Then, we ended at a Mexican bar where seated outside, ran into one of Yumi's friends and had some quesadillas. In India we joked about my love of paneer and cheese. Yumi promised me cheese in Japan and it was so thoughtful of her to deliver! Yumi has traveled all over the world, she is an incredible photographer and has a big heart. I feel so lucky to have learned about her amazing life experiences and the variety of the spice of life she has cultivated.
The next night, I got dinner with my friend Joey who graciously messaged me upon my arrival to Japan. We met last fall at our friends Brittany and Stephen's wedding. So cool to now be together on the other side of the world! Joey is an architect in Japan (how awesome?! best architecture I've ever seen!). It was so fun and eye-opening to hear about and see the amazing projects he is working on and leading. Such thought, art and design that goes into every move. We even discovered that he is working on a building of the artist from one of my favorite pieces in Roppongi Hills! Small world again!
The final night, I met up with my friend Abhi and his grandpa, cousin and friends. It turned out to be great timing as they were in town from California and in Tokyo the same time as me. It was so great to be around a family and so fun to hop around to some dinner and drink places on my last night in Tokyo. The night was filled with music from karaoke to seeing the most amazing live jazz music over the city skyline of Tokyo. This was such a memorable experience as the music radiated feelings and energy throughout the bar! Such incredible talent in Tokyo.
I find it difficult to put into words the feeling of this city. I reflect back on the sights, senses and exchanges I experienced with such joy. There is so much more of Japan I would like to see and I cannot wait to come back.
Tokyo!!: Space Hostel (Japan hostels are so nice! Felt like a spa! Fluffy comforter, no shoes, nice soaps :)- the little things), Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills (public art exhibits), Mori Tower (view from the top), dinner & drinks at Ginza (walking the city streets)- TaiMe-An (great local food), underground set of bars by subway stop near by, so many amazing little bars to hop in and out of throughout Tokyo!, Shibuya (Ichiran Ramen), Meiji Shrine, Shinjuku (great restaurants, bustling streets), top of the Hyatt (New York Bar- most amazing views and live jazz music ever!!! the best), Akasusa (walk around the neighorhood, market, Senso-ji temple), Ueno Park (temples and lillipads alike!), Tsukiji Fish Market, Karaoke in Golden Gai
PS- Olympics Tokyo 2020 anyone?!