Friday, July 3, 2015

Konnichiwa Tokyo

'The Scramble'
Tokyo was one of the most awesome experiences we have had. A slight contrast to the outdoor adventures we usually flourish in, however the city of Tokyo really offers a splendid array of contrasts and culture. There was an endless array of attractions to go see and experience and even just walking the streets and riding the subway was such an excitement.

This was the first time we ever used ‘Air BnB’, and we were nervous as our room was a bit out of the center of town. We had to take the subway to the farthest stop, then walk about 20 minutes further. Once we had made the first journey, lugging all our bags and looking quite the tourists in this very residential area, it was with great pleasure that we walked daily through our quiet little suburb at the start and end of each day.

Our quiet little neighborhood for the week.
Usually while traveling, we walk everywhere, both to save money and to experience all that we can, but this week we opted for a weeks pass for the subways so we just bounced from one location to the next with Amy taking full charge of planning our days activities using her Tokyo Lonely Planet guide. She usually arranged a varying schedule that really highlighted the contrast that I speak of. A bustling shopping street, followed by a beautiful garden then ordering lunch by pointing and guessing. More train rides, lots of walking and even ending the night with a nice Japanese craft beer a few times.


I loved everything we ate in Tokyo. This was the first place that we have traveled to where we have just completely gone for it and only ate out for every meal the entire trip. Whether it was at the more chain like establishment in our suburb, a tiny eatery on a back street or some delicious market food. We ordered by pointing and by placing our order at the machine then waiting in line with perfect synchronization to be seated right as our order was ready. Amy’s favorite day in Tokyo was the day we had authentic Ramon soup for dinner by ordering at the vending machine, followed by crazy Japanese ice cream with flavors like green tea, red bean paste, and toasted brown sugar dough. We went out of the way a few times to find the one Sushi street vendor and to eat it by the river. It all was amazing and well priced.

My favorite experience of all was walking around the famous Tokyo fish market. The smell, the wet gut covered floors and endless rows of fishmongers selling all manor of sea creatures most of which we would not be able to identify. Seeing a large tuna being filleted using a samurai sword was awesome, and you really had to be on your toes as there were guys buzzing up and down the rows on funny little electric carts. After walking around the market, we walked along outside trying some various and suspicious fried seafood from stalls at the food markets.

Tokyo was a true urban adventure, in one of the ultimate urban environments. It was a pleasure for us to visit with the ease of travel, cost, politeness of people, cleanliness and the awesome contrast of city madness verses peace and tranquility in the gardens and ancient shrines. Arigato Japan! Thank you for the experience!