Hostels and Capsule Hotels: Not for hookups but are fantastic for travel

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My get up for the actual pride parade

The other day I wrote about going to pride and clubbing for the first time, but today I would like to talk about another new experience I had on the same weekend. I knew that we were going to go clubbing and I didn’t want to be stuck out all night. In addition, I wanted to be able to escape at any time during the weekend if I needed too. I wanted a place to go to if it became too crowded, if I got too tired, if it was too hot, or it was too late. My friends and I had originally planned to go to pride on Friday as well but I’m glad we didn’t because I don’t think I could have stood up on Monday if that were the case. Through some misunderstandings, I booked a hostel over the weekend for Friday night and Saturday night for myself.

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View from Window

Friday night, I ended up staying there alone. Leading up to it I felt nervous, but I also understood that Japan is a lot safer than most places around the world (Including the US). The place I chose had pretty shining reviews on Hostels.com. I could have canceled but decided dive into the opportunity for a small adventure and for the first time, stay somewhere by myself. I got there nearly an hour early 

 

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View of Street from Window

 

thinking I would get lost on the way, but they let me in anyway. The place was really nice. I mean it wasn’t a 5-star hotel obviously but it was clean and it was decorated very nicely. The man who greeted me and checked me in was very nice and the other employees were wonderful as well. They made the place feel kinda homey. In Japanese or English, they would speak informally but still politely.

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Shallow river running

 

I had planned to go out that night but decided to give myself the night off, go to a conbini (convenience store) and get some food, and binge watch Netflix. The following night one of my friends stayed with me and we both really liked it there. The place was set up more like a capsule hotel than a hostel. Everyone get’s their own sort of cubby. At the bottom, there was a curtain you could close for privacy or for sleeping. The beds were cozy and very stable. Not at all like bunk beds that are the typical hostel set up from what I understand. Their bathrooms were also very nice. The shower was actually pretty wide. It fit me quite comfortably and I’m huge (especially here), so I was very pleased. I was so happy to have a shower by myself for my stay.

 

Overall, my two nights there was a very pleasant experience. I might consider going back just as a place for me to retreat to if I need it. I felt safe and the other guest were friendly but most kept to themselves. From my experience, it seems like the perfect place for someone who is traveling alone or a pair to stay a couple nights on their way to the next place. It was pretty inexpensive, especially considering we were booking on the weekend of Pride and of Golden Week. They are called Tokyo Fuji Hostel. They aren’t in the middle of Tokyo, which is a good or bad thing depending on what you’re looking for, but they are only about 10 to 15 minutes from the center and they are literally right next door to the subway station. I would definitely recommend it (I am in no way sponsored by them, by the way).

The experience has definitely given me more confidence in my ability to get around but also to travel while I’m here, even if by myself. I know to be careful, but I also know what to look for now when picking good places to stay. I think I might just do a blog on that later. I had a great time that weekend. It was filled with firsts. I’m glad I have pictures and this blog to look back on in the future. As always thank you for reading. Keep those comments coming, and consider subscribing to my blog. I plan to post again soon.

Aja

Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade!

It was already a while ago now (wow, time flies) but I attended Tokyo Rainbow Pride. It was really fun and definitely exemplified the shift that’s happening with Japanese culture relating to their LGBT community. It was exciting. The parade itself was a lot smaller than an American Pride Parade is typically but It’s still very new here and a lot of people, even within the community, seem to still not be aware of it. Even still, the feeling was very much the same. Truthfully, There were a lot of foreigners, but the Japanese native population was still very prominent. There were plenty of Japanese couples there and it made me feel good to see a country I’ve spent so long studying going through similar changes my home country went through not too much earlier.

The first day I went there were a lot of booths advertising different Japanese LBGT organizations, or companies that support LGBT rights. There was also a ton of food stands and even an outdoor stage featuring artists from the Japanese Community.

 

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Later that night I went clubbing for the first time in the gay district of Tokyo. There weren’t a lot of lesbian bars but we found one we really liked, call Gold Finger. Great name I know. It was very small but the music was great and we danced until 3 am. Boy, was I tired the next day. I recorded almost the entire Pride Parade, however, this site doesn’t allow me to upload videos without a membership so I will make a video on my channel about it, featuring that footage and when I do, I will, of course, post it here as well. I definitely don’t regret going, it was well worth the long recovery time. Man, my legs never hurt so much. I did get a lot of steps on my pedometer though.

During that weekend I stayed in a Hostel which was Capsule Hotel Style. It was really great. I will publish a blog about that experience as well, very soon. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. As always, if you liked this blog you can go ahead and leave a like to let me know or even better you can leave a comment! I always love to hear from you guys. If you have any questions, you can leave it in the comments or go to my contact page and I will do my best to answer. If you like what you see here and think you might want to receive a notification for when I post, consider subscribing to my blog. If you are not a WordPress user you can now sign up with email!

Thank you again! Happy belated Pride,

Aja

 

What to do when your cell phone breaks while you’re abroad? Send help!

Hey, guys!

I mentioned earlier that my cell phone died, more of self-destructed, so I’ve been left without a phone for probably about 2 to 3 weeks. In this time, I’ve had to overcome my millennialism and learn how to live without a cell phone. I have some tips for you!

“My cell phone broke, what do I do now?”

Well, you have a couple of options. If you’re an お金持ち人, a rich person, you can go down to your local SoftBank or any provider of your choosing and get a prepaid phone, which means you either pay for a certain amount ahead of time or you can pay for what you use. Of course, if you’re living somewhere long-term, you might just consider a plan.

“But wait, I don’t want to pay for all of that! My old phone was just fine, can’t I get it repaired?”

Why yes you can!

“Even if I don’t speak a lot/or any Japanese?”

Yep! Actually, there is a hand full of smartphone repair places in Tokyo that specifically cater to English speakers or have English speakers on staff. I went to LoreaTec and the guys I worked with were very nice and professional. Its location was a little odd.  To get to it, you take a back road behind what looks like an apartment complex. However, in Japan, it really isn’t as sketchy as it might be in the states. Finding places like that is actually a bit commonplace. I can say the place was legit. The man I worked with was a foreigner himself, so he spoke English well and could clearly communicate what was going on.

There was a catch!

If the phone you have isn’t a Japanese model, there is a chance that the parts they have will not be compatible. I don’t know if this is the case for most phone companies or not, but the parts for the Japanese Asus Zenphone 2 are completely different than the American version. It is possible to ship the needed parts, but it usually ends up costing more than the phone is worth.

I learned that when making the inquiry to set up an appointment, make sure to specify the origin and the model number that is on the inside of the phone so that they can better know whether they can help you before you get there. I took an hour train ride to find out they couldn’t repair my phone, but it ended up being fun anyway for reasons I will explain later but, for the sake of your time and energy, make sure you give them all the info you can before you get there.

Now there is a third option, but you’re not going to like it. You can just go without a phone. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I’ve been really missing my phone, but maybe you won’t be in Japan for too long or you’re just really frugal. Don’t worry, your trip doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt. Here are tips for getting around without a phone:

Getting to LoreaTec was the first trip I made without my phone and it was only the second trip I made on my own. The first was me getting back to the dorms by myself and I’d already been shown one way. I had never been on that particular route before. I was going in blind (without my phone), but I used my brain and the computer that luckily still worked. Keep reading and I’ll teach you how. Google Maps is your savior. Both on the phone and off. Google Maps is pretty accurate in Japan for train schedules and walking directions. I haven’t taken the buses yet, so use it at your own risk as far as that goes.

One of the greatest things about the train system here is almost every train runs on a loop. The same train will come every so often. The longest  I’ve had to wait between trains is about 15 minutes, and that’s for less popular local lines. Regardless of what times are listed on your Google Maps sheet, you will likely still be able to use the instructions as written. This is different than with buses in the states where you don’t always know when the next bus will come. This is not the case with trains here. The exception to that might be for very late hours but I believe it doesn’t change that much. I’d say if you’re staying out until the last train, be sure your local lines will still be running. In all likelihood, they will be but check anyway and avoid taxi fare or being stuck at an internet cafe all night. More on those later.

Now that you know that the trains run in a loop, you should also note there is usually one going clockwise and another going counter clockwise. This is very convenient but it also means you need to pay attention to what stops the train is going. Often time google maps will tell you which line you need to go on to which stop but not what direction. However, there is usually a sign either at the platform entrance or on the pillar on the platform, which lists the stops the train will go to.

Most stations have this, but for the ones that don’t, there’s another trick. All the signs that say the lines name, will usually have in smaller letters below the big stops it hits. On google maps next to the line name it will list one of those stops. Oh, btw, all of the signs are both in Japanese and English typically, especially the farther into tokyo you go 

Alright, for some reason you can’t find the correct platform, maybe it’s a more rural area and there isn’t enough English or you are in the center of tokyo and it’s a huge station that you’ve gotten lost in. Never fear! Station attendant will happily help you. To find a station attendant simple find any entrance gate, next to it will be a window or even a small room and in there will be a station attendant that has access to all the info you need. Now, it is helpful to know some Japanese still, however, I have found most train attendants I’ve run into, know enough English to easily help you find the correct platform and probably every platform number until you get to the station you want to go. A good tip for this is to always have the name of the station you are going to, preferably written down, so you can show it to the attendant. This goes especially for those that may not have a lot of experience in Japanese as they likely won’t understand what you are saying if you say it with a strong American accent.

Great, you’ve gotten to the final station and have exited only to realize you have no idea where you’re going. Luckily, google’s walking directions are usually very helpful. I find that printing out the places to turn and a map with landmarks is the best way to go. You can find two corresponding store to help orient yourself and find street sign (which usually also have english in more populated areas) and find where to turn. Sometimes the street simply isn’t named, and landmarks can usually help with that, but sometime…

Great, now you’re lost. Now what? Well, the best thing you can do is find a コンビニ, or convenice store, like 7/11, Family Mart and Lawson, and ask for help. To make sure this is a viable option for you, make sure you write down the full address and name of the place you are headed too. This would be best to have both in English and Japanese. Generally, people at convenience stores are less likely to speak English, so having some Japanese if for the best but you can make it work even with simple questions. If you show then the address and say “すみません、これはどこですか。” (sumimasen, koreha doko desuka.) Meaning, “Excuse me (for the trouble), where is this?”. While certainly lack a certain amount of nuance or explanation, they likely will be able to pinpoint it on the map and show you can easy route there. Be sure to say thank you afterwards by saying “ありがとうございました”(ari gato gozai mashita), though even just thank you, they will likely understand.

Best case scenario, no one loses, breaks or forgets their phone, but the truth is happens and it’s good to be resourceful when you don’t always have access to the almighty google. It’s good to know your options in case you find yourself without your phone. Hopefully, you find these tips helpful. If you have any follow up questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I would love to hear your tips if you have experienced anything like this. Soon, I would like to give some tip on how to ride the train like a native. Some of these points will be rehashed but there’s a lot more to talk about when it comes to the train system. Thank you for reading! I will write again soon (hopefully).

Aja

 

 

How to: Survive being sick In Japan

Hello,

Today I’m going to talk about how to successfully survive an illness while abroad. Specifically in Japan, but some of these insights might apply elsewhere as well. About a week after I arrive in school and was just getting over jet lag, I got a cold that lasted roughly 9 or 10 days and it was freaking miserable. Now, I made a bunch of mistakes and I’m determined to help you not do the same.

I had been feeling weird for a few days but one morning about half way through my first class I felt death’s cold breath down my neck, so I went to the health center. Turns out I had a solid fever, and what would turn out to be a very bad long lasting cold. Now in Japan, colds are not really excused. Like, you better be puking your guts up to take a sick day, because a cough won’t cut it. Or at least that’s what every blog I ever read said. And while this might be true of work culture, this didn’t apply to my college. Certainly, it is always better to go to class if you can but the International center helped me work things out with the teacher whose class I missed. And luckily, as far as I know, I’ve received no penalties for it. That being said, Japanese Colleges are significantly more chill than workplaces or even high schools here.

Japan, despite being advanced in many weird ways, is also very behind in many weird ways. In the place where you can order just about anything from a machine and ask little helping robots questions in grocery stores and coffee shops, you still have to go to work and be around thousands of people when you’re sick. My doctor told me before I arrived in Japan that she believes most, if not all flus, originate in Asia. At the time, I thought it was an insane thing to say, but now I’m not so sure. Because there is an expectation for people to work even when sick, you are exposing basically everyone, to every illness circling at any given time. In addition, while I was sick, many people told me it was because of the weather, saying things like “Yeah, the weather keeps changing from hot and cold right?” or “Did you bring an umbrella, getting wet can make you sick!”

Of course, I’m paraphrasing, but it’s still baffling to me. I’m sure if it is just something they say or if they really believe that the weather and not bacteria and viruses cause colds. Who knows though, because old wives tales live a long time, even in America. Anyway, this mindset means that sick people are around all the time. They don’t stay home and what ends up happening is you have several hundred people packed into a tiny train, all breathing the same air and I could swear at least 30% are sick at any given time. They often wear face masks, which I guess is helpful but if you were eating and coughed into your hand, then held onto a place handle, the next person to grab that has now been infected. Japanese people must have great immune systems or they’d just be sick all the time.

When I first got sick, I went to a walk-in clinic after being sent by my school’s health center. There was only one doctor so they did the quickest exam possible and gave me some medicine. I swear this medicine made me worse, or at the very least did nothing to help. I took it as directed and after 2 or 3 days of feeling not the slightest bit better, I stopped taking them and started to feel better… go figure. After that, I spent another two days thinking I couldn’t do anything because I have watch videos and read articles that said Japan doesn’t have drug stores or you can’t really get any actual over the counterDSCN0100 medicine, you have to get it from the doctor and I’m here to say THAT IS NOT TRUE!!!

Luckily, my “big sister” a Japanese girl assigned to look after me, brought me over the counter medicine that actually worked. I will add a picture of it in case you need it. I believe she found it at a convenience store actually, but I could be wrong. It shows on the front in little pictures what it helps and all that. I also discovered that there are cough drops. They’re actually meant for voice care for singing apparently but they work well as cough drops. I think they’re made of natural teas, but I swear dscn0102.jpgthey work just as well. They’re kind of hard to find though because they’re found in the candy aisle. I found them low and out of the way, but they were there! I will also put a picture for these.

Don’t do what I did and not get medicine and the things you need simply because of what you read online. Regardless of where you are, go look anyway. At worst, you’ll find some sick herb shop and you’ll end up with some fantastic herbal medicine. Don’t knock it til you try it. Some herbal stuff works better! Either way, don’t just sit through it miserable like I did. Also, unless you need a doctor’s note (which you can only get for throwing up illnesses (ie the flu)), if you know your body and what you need to get better, I’d suggest maybe skipping the doctor’s visits. Even as a resident with national health insurance, while it was only like $17 totally roughly, it can add up, especially if you’re a tourist who doesn’t have proper insurance. And even then, the multiple visits they might suggest can also stack up.  In addition, the lines are long. Plan to wait way longer then you’re going to want to while you’re not feeling well.

HOWEVER, if you are feeling abnormal or particularly bad, go see a doctor. Go to a walk-in or a general hospital just to be safe. If for any reason you’re feeling that possibility of needing to go to a hospital, listen to your body, you know yourself the best.

Every culture has some form of sick food. You will likely not be able to get your sick comfort food while you’re abroad but find out what that country deems sick food. You get to learn more about a culture and you know you’re going to be getting good food for healing. In my household, it’s chicken soup and soft boiled eggs, here it’s a stew-like thing with rice and broth. Of course, you’re not going to want to cook, so at least in Japan, you can get instant Miso, which is what I lived off of for several days along with more basic types of ramen. I don’t suggest going for the fancy ramen or instant noodles, all the extra meat and even the noodles can hurt your stomach when you’re sick.

Quick survival guide for being sick while abroad!

-Don’t listen to blogs, Japan has drugstores, get the medicine you need. The label are usually easy to figure out but if not find a clerk who speaks English, there’s usually one, or find someone and point to what is wrong, they can probably help you.

-Those aren’t candies, they’re cough drops, good ones too. Use them.

-Go to a doctor if it’s an emergency, otherwise take it easy and give it a few days.

-Drink lots of fluids (ie: water, soup, tea, etc.)

-If you can, have a reserve of quick easy sick food ready, if not, when you start feeling sick, it’s time to build up that stock, because you’re not going to want to go out later, trust me.

Avoid sugar and dairy. (I know you might have gotten ice cream as a kid but sugar and dairy are best friends with the bacteria residing in your body right now.)

-Rest, don’t let the Japanese culture work you into a serious medical situation. (Plus, you get a little leeway because you’re a foreigner.)

-Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are in a dorm situation like I am, every one of your roommates or floormates will not only be excited at the chance to meet you but a lot of Japanese people love to help out and they know how you feel and how best to help you. Remember, they’ve been living here a lot longer than you. (Don’t forget to be appreciative!)

I made a lot of mistakes. I probably pushed myself too hard. Went out with friends when I started feeling better even though I should have rested. I didn’t get the medicine I needed right away and I didn’t necessarily eat all the right things. There was one day when I was out of soup and I was so hungry but I didn’t feel well enough to go to the store so I didn’t eat…. That’s also not good. If you can eat, do. It will help quicken the process.

Fortunately, I’m all better now. And I have a new camera and a new phone! (Oh yeah, my phone died if I didn’t already say, more on that later). You know, I did go pray at a shrine for my bad luck to leave and what do you know, things are getting better. I’m sure it’s a correlation but I’m going with it.

If you found these tips helpful leave a like! If you think you know someone who could benefit from my experiences, share it with them! And as always, I love to hear from you guys. Do you have any horror story about being sick while away from home? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below! Have any follow-up questions? Feel free to leave me a message or a comment, I would be happy to answer as best I can! Thanks for reading!

Okonomiyaki!

The other night I went out with some friends to Okonomiyaki. It was my first time eating the Japanese savory pancake. I believe only native in our group knew what they were doing but we had a great time learning the ropes for grilling our own food. The table we were sat at was a traditional short table with cushions around it. Typically you sit on your knees or crisscross but my legs quickly started falling asleep so I was the weird foreigner all sprawled out but they were very understanding as my legs are stupid long.

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Unfortunately, Mihi didn’t send me any pictures she was in, but she was taking this one so that’s something. The other two are Swan and Jihyung (AKA Kelly) 

 

Mihi, the native in the group convinced us to get the courses so we could try a bunch of different things. We got a few different kinds of okonomiyaki, something else I don’t know the name off and some yakisoba. It was all very delicious but I got full almost half way through. So much food. In America, we often stereotype the Japanese as eating less and it is true that their portion sized tend to be smaller but don’t be fooled, Japanese people can eat. There were two Japanese girls across from us and they put away almost as much food as the four of us did. I don’t know where they put it all. The first okonomiyaki was my favorite. Not a clue what was in it but it was so good. I always have so much fun going out with my friends. That was a really fun night. Lots of good conversation. We stayed there for almost 5 hours I think. We got there around 5 and didn’t leave until after 9. Time flew.

I look forward to going out with them again. I will, of course, write about it when I do. Thank you for reading. As always, I love to hear from you guys so please leave a comment. If you enjoyed, give this post a like and consider sharing it. I’ll write again tomorrow.

Aja

Birthday Dinner and Japan’s Italian Food

This was more than a week ago now, but I met a girl in one of my classes that introduced me to her friends and they ended up inviting me out to dinner. They said there were getting pizza so I said yes, naturally. They didn’t tell me until we got there that it was a surprise party for one of the girls, so I was even more flattered they brought me along.

P_20170411_171551First, they brought out some gnocchi that had some parmesan on top. I’m pretty sure they were basil flavored. They were great. Then we looked at the menus and there were some odd combination pizzas. Ones with fish eggs and mayo, and stuff like that. There were some normal ones too. I chose a simple pesto pizza and they chose a variety of other things. As Japanese people often do, we all shared so I got to try the P_20170411_174936assortment of Japanified pizzas. First came the margarita pizza another girl asked for. It was good. Though, I immediately noticed the very small amount of cheese that was on the pizza. This continued to be the case with all the pizzas, but this makes sense since cheese is very expensive here. Next came out the pesto pizza. It was great. I love P_20170411_172839pesto, and even without a lot of cheese, the pesto carried the pizza for me. Off to a strong start. So far everything is tasty and is fairly standard despite the distinct lack of cheese. The next pizza to arrive is this nicely displayed pizza. It has a bunch of some meat laid out with an egg in the middle. The meat was some form of pork. Back in America, I’m a half vegetarian, meaning I don’t eat mammal, but here it wouldP_20170411_174940 be difficult for me to be strict about it and I would have to miss out on a lot of classic Japanese dishes so I decided while I was here I’d let it go and eat whatever. I have to say the pork on this pizza didn’t totally make me regret being a half vegetarian. I figure I just haven’t developed a taste for it. I’m not much of a meat person anyway. The next one was a pizza similar to the margarita pizza except it had anchovies on it. I know

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Sorry for the blurry photo, not sure why that happened.

this is a classic in America too, so I tried it. It’s a margarita pizza with the flavor of fish. Not my forte, but I get why some people like it. Then we got something that looked nothing like pizza but it was actually pretty good. Gotta be honest, I’m not totally sure what was on P_20170411_173620it, but it was pretty and tasted good, so I didn’t really care. I think the most surprising thing of all was the pasta we had that night. At some point, we had spicy penne pasta which all of us agreed was very spicy. And a white pasta which had sounded good to me. What was in the white pasta was startling, to say the least. I had been eating it and it actually tasted pretty good. I was pleased with it until I realized the sauce was made out of tiny fish. I started seeing all the little eyes and thought about the tiny colorful fish I had as a kid and was a bit disturbed. I finished it though I felt a little weird after. P_20170411_180251

 

I felt bad that I was so surprised by all the food. I don’t know why but I was expecting something like Olive Garden or Cheesecake factory and it was not like that. Foreigners must come to Japan a lot and find themselves eating an unfamiliar version of Itailian food. The experience made me wonder though, how is American Italian food different from actual Italian food. I bet we’ve Americanized it, much like with have with every type of food we’ve appropriated. I wonder how Japanese people like the Americanized Italian food when they visit. Or better yet Italian food in Italy. Eating Italian food in Italy is one of my bucket list goals for sure. Japanese food is better in Japan so I can only imagine Italian food would work the same way.

P_20170411_181401After we had all eaten, the birthday girl got her surprised. The restaurant had put together a beautifully decorated plate with a little ice cream and cake on it. She was very surprised but I think she felt good that her friends had thought about her like that. That night was great. I had new food experiences and had great conversations with new friends. I definitely want to go out with them again. I really appreciated them taking me into their friend group. I’ve been very lucky in friendship here.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Consider leaving a comment below. If you enjoyed this post leave a like and if you really enjoyed, consider sharing it. Thank you for reading!

Aja

 

 

Harajuku! Off The Beaten Path

The other weekend a new friend of mine took me around Harajuku, which for those of you who don’t know, is a district that is huge for fashion subcultures and anything that isn’t Anime or Mainstream. It is very popular with many artists such as Gwen Stafani as she mentions a lot in her Rich Girl song.

Even Marilyn Mason is known to strut that territory when he visits Japan I learned. There’s a good reason for that. This time around I didn’t get any fashion shots, I will save that for another post, but I did get to go to plenty of cool places, some popular and some more for the locals.

 

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The first thing you see when you exit the station

 

After we got off the train and exited the stations we decided to get lunch as we were both hungry. She asked what I wanted and I said whatever. The first place we were going to go to was closed so she took me to this great 70s themed burger place. Whoever picked the music in this joint knew their stuff, bands like the Bee Gees and America, and even some Jackson 5. I was singing along to almost every song. If you want a sense of the atmosphere of this place, listen to I want you back by Jackson 5 while you read this like I’m doing as I write this.

 

P_20170409_130038While there I got a chicken burger and a mintP_20170409_131428 milkshake and it seemed artisen. The burger was so juicy and the mixture of the sauces and veggies on it were well thought through. It was delicious. The milkshake was another pleasant surprise! They used actual mint. There was not a drop of syrup in that shake. It tasted very different than the hyper sugary shakes you get in the states but it was so rich and still very sweet. It was great. I’d be curious to try their other flavors.

Next, we went to Kiddy Land! It’s a hot spot for tourists and foreigners but it was worth it. Four floors of plushies and figurines from lots of great media. I didn’t take too many photos as I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to, but you can get a sneak peak of what you can find in there.

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There’s something for everyone. There’s Disney, Starwars, Ghibli, and plenty of Japan original characters, some anime stuff and even some terrifying mascot character you can take pictures with. Lucky for me, it was already surrounded by kids so I skipped out on that. The place was a wonderland for kids and for those that enjoy youthfully sort of media. Sometimes it’s nice to escape into a Ghibli Film, what can I say? Another very interesting experience I had was going to the bathroom. That was the first time I ever saw one of those fancy smart toilets. It even had a flush sound button. Which I don’t quite get because I’ve heard it, it’s not convincing and who are you tryna trick anyway? The seat was heated which is both kind of nice but also a bit disturbing having been use to a cold toilet seat my whole life. I still have not tried the bidet, I have to admit, I’m mildly scared too, but I guess that’s an experience I should have. I’ll let you know how that goes someday.

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Next, we went to a mall that has a super cool entrance. It’s like going through the looking glass. Inside was even more surprising because the shops don’t have store fronts. They’re P_20170409_152420just open. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when one shop ends and the other begins, except they usually have different color flooring and internal walls. This really surprised me and my friend was amused by this. I said “Does this make it easier for people to steal?” and she explained to me that that isn’t a very big problem here. There’s a sense of trust between the Japanese, so they don’t feel the need to make shopping more difficult. Apparently, most malls are like this here. It was very nice. You could easily see what was inside and there was a nice flow between stores, overall if we could swing it in America I would say it’s a better way, but unfortunately, our culture doesn’t support the same level or trust or morality, ironically. You can kind see the open shop format in the Conan Cafe picture below. This trust and respect in this country makes it feel like one big neighborhood a lot of the

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Characters outside a Conan Cafe

times. I feel very safe and able to get help at any time if I needed. The shops trusting its costumers embodies that to me. It’s just an example of how it’s different here in a good way.

 

Lastly, we went to a Sushi restaurant. It was super cool. You order on a screen and it comes on a little platform that speeds down a track to you. It was delicious and not very expensive. I got P_20170409_200243quite a bit of food and didn’t spend very much. The sushi was amazing. I got some raw tuna on rice or tsuna nigiri and the fish here is so much fresher and way less fishy. It tried a bunch of different things but that was probably my favorite and I don’t normally like raw fish.

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P_20170409_122943We did so much more that did but I didn’t capture it all. This post would have been twice as long and I wanted to experience somethings not through a lens. Undoubtedly, I will make more posts about Harajuku. I plan to collect fashion pictures and street art photography. I will give you a taste of what I saw.

Look forward to the things to come. This post has turned out to be very long, so if you made it this far, thank you very much! I hope you enjoyed it. I promise to work on my photography.

Thank you for reading. If you have anything to add or have any questions, leave me a comment below! I love hearing from you guys!