Highlights from My 6-Day Japan Trip
I’ve finally found some time to write up some of the most memorable details of the Japan trip. Here they are!
Staying with Kyoka’s family
Lucy and I stayed in Saitama with Kyoka’s family. 6 years ago, Kyoka stayed at my house in Vancouver during her high school exchange trip to Canada; I promised her that I would come to Japan and stay at hers. Staying at a Japanese family’s house was such an experience. Lucy and I made takoyaki, slept on futons, and used some Japanese phrases in real life (for example, “tadaima” I’m home, “onaka ippai” I’m hungry, “itadakimasu” let’s eat). A highlight was definitely the time that Kyoka’s family treated us to rotating sushi at one of the best sushi places in Saitama. I’m not so much of a foodie, but I can tell when food is fresh. This sushi was so fresh and “oishii” delicious that I probably had around a dozen pieces. Thank you to Kyoka’s family for welcoming us and giving us such an unforgettable experience in Japan!
3rd day in Japan: Tokyo DisneySea
It was the first time I went to a Disney resort. Tokyo has two Disney resorts: DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea. Apparently DisneyLand is better for kids, and DisneySea better for older people. I loved DisneySea. Lucy and I went on a couple of rides, watched a show, ate a lot of snacks, and just marveled at how nicely designed the whole place was. I dare say it was sort of magical.
It was the first time I waited 2.5 hours for one ride. Tower of Terror was totally worth it despite waiting outside in 0 degrees weather. For the other big rides, Lucy and I actually found a shortcut. If you don’t mind going on a ride alone, you can ask if you can go to the Fastpass line as a “single rider”. Instead of waiting 2 hours for a ride, we went on the rides alone but waited only 10-15 minutes. Tower of Terror doesn’t allow single riders, so we had to wait the full 2.5 hours.
It was the first time I experienced a crowded, and I mean crowded subway. It was 8pm, and we were heading back to Saitama from DisneySea. The subway was packed. I was one of the last ones to get on, and I actually had to push people to get into the train. Lucy had already got on and so I had to force myself into it or else we would lose each other—and we both have no working phones in Japan! When the train slightly changed direction, everyone would sway in one direction together. I didn’t even have to hold onto a handrail because the people around me kept me in one place. I didn’t mind it too much actually. It was nice and cozy, haha.
[No picture because there was no way I could reach for my camera inside crowded trains]
The food is “oishii” delicious, as expected. Even the packed sushi we bought at the grocery store on the last day was so good.
The first time Lucy and I had to pick a random place to eat at, we totally had no idea what we were doing. When we entered the restaurant, we looked for a counter to order food or a restaurant host to help us get seated, but there was no one! We finally saw someone near the kitchen and we asked how to order food. The lady didn’t speak English so she made the younger guy in the kitchen to help us out, haha. We never knew that we were supposed to order from the touchscreen machine! When you enter the restaurant, you’re supposed to order and pay at the machine, and then give your ticket to one of the restaurant employees. Anyways, we figured it out and had our dinner. We laughed about this for a long time afterwards.
We went to quite a few places for the Japan cultural experience. We went to Gyoen Garden, Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. My favourite was the Edo-Tokyo Museum. I haven’t been to a museum of any kind for years, so I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve gotten older and appreciate museums more, or if the Edo-Tokyo Museum was just spectacular. I highly recommend it. The English guides throughout the exhibition are great, and the interactive exhibition is really fun to be a part of.
Big city experience
Some other places we went to were Akihabara electronic town, Shibuya, Tokyo University, Ginza, and the Metropolitan Government building Observatory Deck. Tokyo is huge! Having spent so much time in little Vancouver (where the downtown area is puny), Tokyo was downtown everywhere I went. There were so many people everywhere and so many lights everywhere that every time I went out it just made me so excited. There weren’t as many cars as I thought, though. Everyone walks, bikes, or takes the subway. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you go to Tokyo, you should pay special attention to the trucks on the streets. 🙂