Half a year in the books! Incredible how much we have done in just six months of living in Tokyo. Even more incredible that I feel as though we’ve hardly scratched the surface of what this city and country has to offer. In the first six months these logs were such quick posts to write. Now, the everyday tasks and novelty of the city has worn off. I’m used to doing a ridiculous amount of laundry, and driving has become almost natural. So, although it takes a bit more reflection upon our life here to populate the log, I still have quite a bit to share. Read on for this month’s list of things that I’m currently loving, liking, and wanting to leave behind.
Neighborhood Variety. One of the things I’ve really fallen in love with here is the variety of neighborhoods in the city. Each one has a different vibe and is known by different attributes. The best part is that they are all about 15 – 30 minutes from our place by train so it’s really easy to explore different areas without traveling very far. Two of my favorites are Harajuku (known for it’s unique street styles) and Shimokitazawa (described as a hipster paradise).
Fuji – San. The proper way to refer to Mt. Fuji around Tokyo and rightfully so as placing the “san” after implies respect. I get it, it’s just a really big mountain (also an active volcano) but if you’re lucky and see it on a clear day, in all its Fuji-San glory, it’s actually really impressive. I’ve officially become mountain obsessed and have decided it’s bad luck if I don’t take a photo EVERY time I catch a glimpse of it.
Tokyo Disney. It’s different than back home and to be honest I found it a lot less magical. The vibe is much more laid back which is refreshing in a way, but we only saw glimpses of the characters and you are on your own for photos. I did see one park photographer but she would only take a photo for me with my camera, which seemed really weird. I probably missed the sign up for photographers somewhere. In any case, we still had a lot of fun and enjoyed the Tokyo Disney tradition of the popcorn bucket which you refill throughout the park with various flavors. The parades were awesome, the shows were great, and the classic rides are all there. Definitely worth a visit if you have kids or are a Disney lover.
Pachinko. I still can’t really make any sense of it but for 1000 yen ($10 US) you can play for a good 40 minutes and have a blast. I’ve never actually won anything from playing but the experience is always worth it. Most likely because I have no idea how horribly I’m losing and the machines are constantly moving and playing music.
Masks. As in the surgical masks people wear. You see a lot of them here, not as much as China where the pollution actually warrants them. Here, most people wear them as a courtesy to others if they are sick. Now, with spring allergies you see more people wearing them to avoid hay fever. Coming from the US, it’s just visually jarring and will probably take me about another 6 months to get used to.
Parking. This is really trivial but also really weird. Everyone backs in to park here… literally everyone. Well, except me and probably a few other expats. I’m not sure if it’s actually a law, I can’t imagine it really is, but then again you never know! I’ll keep you posted should I ever get a ticket for pulling in to park.
That’s it for Month Six! Now that we’ve done a considerable amount of sight seeing and living in Tokyo, I’ll be posting more often about the trips we’ve taken and places we’ve seen since arriving. Thanks for following along and stay tuned!