It shouldn’t come as as surprise I think to anyone who has been to Tokyo that Tokyo alone deserves a blog of itself, because although it credits itself in being the capital of Japan, it really feels like a whole new world!
We left the house early on Sunday morning and drove about 2 hours until we were 2 train rides away from the heart of the city…Shibuya. Now I expected being in one of the biggest cities in the world that the trains would be crowded, but what I wasn’t quite ready for was brainstorming the best way to breathe under the severely squished circumstances I was under. It was okay though because what ever air we had left in our lungs was used to laugh because even my host family would agree that sight of us was a funny one indeed. When we finally arrived in Shibuya what hit me first was the heat. It wasn’t exactly the highest of temperatures but it was the humidity that killed me. Only in Tokyo have I ever seen a hot window that everyone rushed to close as soon as everyone was on the nicely air conditioned train.
Being in Shibuya did not feel real. I can’t tell you the amount of times I daydreamed looking pictures and videos of Shibuya Scramble crossing, the tall skyscrapers and of course Hachiko the dog who waited for his owner at the station every day and continued to do so even after he died. Being there in person and actually being theone taking the pictures instead of looking at them was a completely surreal experience and one I will never forget.
Next on our list was the most popular place among young people in Japan and among young tourists…Harajuku. Like it was necessary to do on the earlier train, in Harajuku too, we shuffled instead of walked due the the unbelievable amount of people that had also wanted to taste it’s famous crepes and unique shops! Before we could do any shopping though, our stomachs told us that it was time for lunch so off we went into a cool (as in temperature wise…in that moment that was all we cared about) Italian restaurant. I’ve been to many Italian restaurants in my life but this was one that I will surely never forget as it is where I experienced my first earthquake.
About 2 minutes after we had dug into our pasta, I first felt a shaking sensation. Now being the overly worrisome person I am, I had done some research on earthquakes in Japan before coming here, and what I was feeling certainly matched the description. My host mother Miho is terrified of earthquakes so she screamed and ducked which somehow turned the restaurant on silent mode. It lasted about 20 seconds but the rest of my family didn’t seem to be too phased so I also stayed quite calm also. We only felt about a 3 where people at the epicentre in Ibaraki prefecture felt a 5. Where we were it just felt like a big truck passing by, but it was not knowing when it would end and whether that was all, that was the scariest part of it all. There are notifications send to everyone’s phone right after though so we knew straight away that it wasn’t serious. I also learned that there is an earthquake somewhere in Japan everyday so it really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but still for me it was a first and something that made my trip to Tokyo even more memorable.
After lunch (which actually was rather delicious ignoring the earthquake drama) we started looking in shops on Harajuku’s Takeshita street. As expected the craziest and coolest things were being sold in every shop, so it goes without saying that I emptied quite a bit of weight out of my purse. I also had what was undoubtably the most heavenly crepe I have ever eaten. They also had so many options of crepes to choose from that if it wasn’t for the fast moving line (Japanese service is also something I’ll miss when I return to Ireland) I could have been there all day staring at the fake food samples that looked so beautiful they resembled pieces of artwork more than they did crepes.
Once I finally pulled myself away from the money dissolving Harajuku, we headed off to Asakukasa to see the famous Kaminari gate and temple! Like I did in Shibuya, I again felt that I had stepped right into my computer browser history as I stood there looking at the spectacular shrine! We even got our fortunes at the shrine and while Kaho my host sister was unlucky enough to get a bad fortune (which I was surprised at how harsh they are…’Even if you stay in bed for a long while you will never get well’ ) but I was happy with my good fortune as we headed to Tokyo Sky tree.
We didn’t actually go up because of it being late and us having a 3 hour journey home awaiting us, but we did go in and bend our heads back enough to see the breathtaking building over us. It felt more like I was looking at a projection rather than a real building because it seemed to go on forever. It was again my most overused word…Magical. The journey home then followed which consisted of about 7 train transfers and a very tired me. How we eventually arrived home at 1am is still a mystery to me as it all starts to blur around the 4th train transfer. But what isn’t a blur is the unbelievably exciting day itself that I will be sure to remember for as long as I live!
And there you go, that is Tokyo. I only have 3 more days left at the time I am writing this blog so needless to say the crushing sadness to be leaving this amazing country is setting in. But I’m not going to let it at me just yet because while I only have 3 days left, I have three more adventures!
So until my final blog I’ll say goodbye for now,
Katie ( ^ω^ )