Hello my friends, and happy 2015!
Thank you for being okay with my holiday time hiatus, but now that I’m settled in our little apartment in Japan where my husband will be studying at the local university for a few months, and have internet access, I can get this blog up and running for the new year.
To start it off, how about we talk a little bit about my year thus far?
On New Years Day hubby and I hopped a 13 hour flight to Tokyo. Even though we didn’t have to be anywhere specific until the 6th, we wanted to avoid spending our 1st wedding anniversary in travel mode, so we opted to leave a few days early and celebrate in Tokyo. The plane ride was very long, and my legs did not want to walk after sitting that whole time, but other than that the flight was great. Our seat mate was a young lady about our age who knew a lot more about Japan than we did, so we chatted for quite a bit and she gave us helpful tips and tricks to help get us started.
While we took off on the 1st around noon, our time change had us landing around 4pm on the 2nd. Our only adventure after getting to the hotel was to find something to eat. We were informed that 7-11 is a huge thing in Japan, and they really are. They’re in better condition and filled with more exciting things than the 7-11s back home. We grabbed a little haul of random things to try for dinner/snacks and spent the rest of the evening in the hotel, figuring out what to do the next day and relaxing.
We did a lot of exploring and window shopping on Saturday. We hopped the train and went to Harajuku first. We were told that since the New Year’s celebration was still happening at the shrine (New Year’s is HUGE here), we should check it out.
- Many of the train stations here have a ton of shopping places and eateries attached to them. The stations alone are a lot to explore.
On the way to the train we ran into a guy our age from England, which was awesome since we were actually able to talk to him on our walk to the train station. Once in Harajuku, we went to Yoyogi park and to Meiji Shrine. The walk through the park was beautiful, as there was still plenty of green on the trees. The shrine itself ended up being a lot less peaceful than I would have liked simply because there was the New Year’s event happening. There was an entire out door food court, shopping booths and a ton of people. We couldn’t go inside, but we got to see the main building.
Then we decided to hit the main street of Harajuku and find lunch. There were food stands all lined up in a row just like at a carnival, all full of different Japanese foods. This was also due to the New Year’s celebration. Hubby wanted to find a place to sit and eat, so we climbed up to the second floor of a little cafe, where we managed to get a rather American experience. I had a rice, tuna, and avocado bowl that was delightful, and finally got my hands on some coffee.
Oh.. and you’ll never guess what else we saw there..
E was stunned, as he had never heard of Garrett’s until we stayed in Chicago in November, and now he saw it in Tokyo. As a Chicagoan, I found this to be pretty awesome.
After lunch we got back on the train to go to Shibuya, which contains what I call the “Times Square” of Tokyo, called Shibuya Crossing. There are so many intersections there that traffic in all directions stop at the same time and pedestrians flood the street to get to where they’re going. Of course we had to join in. (Video footage in my YouTube video below). In Shibuya, it was a lot of walking into different shops and seeing the fashion and all of the unique things there are to see. There were always store workers shouting out loud (and some on megaphones) what I think were ads for their store’s sales. There was so much to see and hear. Very overstimulating. I found a LUSH, and was pleased to see that the prices were comparable to in the US. Good to know that if I need something, I have access brand I know.
After getting completely tired out from 7 hours of being out and about, we opted to try out the TGIFridays near the hotel. Lame, I know, but we didn’t feel like hunting anymore. Then we stopped at 7-11 again and called it a night.
Sunday we celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary! How? Mostly by laying low, to be honest. I was so sore from travel and all of the walking the day before that I was perfectly okay with that. Hubby researched his plans for the next day and I did some reading. In the evening we went to a place called Rippongi Hills, which was originally supposed to be this utopian community of sorts, where people could live, work, go out, etc all in the same building or area. While that didn’t work out, it’s still a building full of things like a museum, cinema, restaurants, and shops. The bummer was that our plans to have a fancy sushi dinner didn’t work out because many places were closed for the end of the holiday (and the fish market was closed). We did manage to find a little sushi place that had a conveyor belt of options to choose from.
After dinner we explored and window shopped more of the area, before heading back to the hotel to watch Big Bang Theory (we’re catching up on season 7) and get some sleep. We were hoping that the last of the jet lag issues would be gone by the next day.
Monday hubby and I decided to go our separate ways. Mister went to Akihabara, the video game/manga/cosplay/nerd out capital of Japan (and maybe the world..Who knows?) and I stayed behind to explore this bazaar down the street. Turns out that there was a lot for me to see there, including finally finding a beauty department at a local pharmacy. I wandered around observing and taking some complete guesses to what things were. In the end, I purchased a few sheet masks and two face cleansers, both to help with acne since my skin is an utter disaster right now. After our day apart we decided to have dinner at the hotel. I’ve noticed that in Japan it is very common to get a generic “all-inclusive” meal. For example, we knew that we would get soup of the day, salad, meat, bread or rice, and the dessert bar, but we didn’t know what kind of soup, meat, etc. It’s kind of like chef’s choice I suppose. We decided to take the risk and we were very pleased with our meal.
The following day we checked out and were on our way to the city we are now staying in while Mister is studying here.
That was a glimpse into our first set of Tokyo adventures. What’s nice about being not too far from there now is that we can go into the city whenever we want since we live by a train station. I’m sure many more of our adventures will involve trips to Tokyo.
Stay tuned for more of what I will call “Diva Does Japan.” I will be posting about everything from our outings, food, beauty products, likes and dislikes and everything in between. Is there anything you think I should do or experience? Anything you want me to write about? Let me know in the comments below. Also, my vlog of the Tokyo trip is below as well.
Thanks for reading!