First, I’m not going to say that it was my intention to disappear and remain inactive for many months now. I’m not so sure how it happened, but it sums up the second half of my 2016 for ya: catching up on life. First, I had to adjust moving to a new city, and I picked up an internship which left me with less down time on my schedule. To my credit, though, I have read three books, and am still taking #ootd’s on my Instagram.
Most of you are on my Instagram more anyway.
Tokyo is the up and coming winter break spot, and so what it seemed like on my Instagram feed. Suddenly I feel like one of the cool kids when I hopped on the plane to this cool vacay spot to meet up with the rest of the family.
After a series of unfortunate events (I don’t want to get into it) on my journey to Japan, I embrace the opportunity to discover a new city. Of course, this is easy to say in the heaven of all things sushi and green tea. But what got me most excited was seeking discovery in newness. The thrill of learning a new culture and environment, that is so unfamiliar and as dynamic as Japan— like a scene out of a Hayao Miyazaki movie. Despite the lack of English speaking anyone, Japan cuts through the noise with their human etiquette, cleanliness, politeness, and exceptional customer service. I must say, right from the beginning, I was impressed. These were the happiest, most polite people— and the happiest people have an incredible ability to make you both content on life and question your past moral actions (if you were ever nice enough to others).
I didn't have much planned for the trip since my mom already sent out our itinerary weeks ago— most days involved waking up before sunrise and hitting every tourist spot by sun dawn. We managed to eat a Japanese meal for every lunch and dinner, and I managed to eat matcha flavored everything! Things were really working out for my food pleasure senses. The best fresh sushi was found at Tsukiji market. Among the sea of fresh fish, were octopus legs and believe it or not; sweet rice cake mochi. They manage to sell yummy desert next to sliced tuna, fresh fruits next to sea eels. It was bizarre. But once you visit Japan and you are handed face covers in fitting rooms and find every bike on the street unlocked, your usual bizarre radar is irrelevant.
Japan was so beautiful in the Winter that even the dying cherry blossom trees were perfect. Of course, a picture with pink flowers towering over me would have made for a great ootd. But Japan’s landscape made up for it. The full garden bushes, bamboo fences, and the piercing blue sky were magical. Even the city, with its high rises such as the tallest UNIQLO building, was enticing. Drop by Chiyoda for a one-of-a-kind vibe. You will find manga entertainment on billboards and game shops crowding both sides of the streets— where you’d find boys and men of all ages in game centers. Oh, japan. This is where you realize being a fan girl or fan boy is so conventional. All things anime really transcends all age and gender.
Then there are sidewalks lined with girls in maid uniforms passing out coupons for maid cafes (which is like a Japanese version of Hooters). I wish I didn't have to talk about this, but it was such a major part of our trip. Ever since my 14-year-old brother mentioned he saw maid cafe on Buzzfeed, the whole family got in on teasing him, which weirdly lead to them joining in on the hunt. Well, it wasn't much of a hunt once we hit Chiyoda. There was at least one on every block. I don’t have much to say since I walked in and out within a couple seconds, reluctant to engage in men’s maid fantasies. Again, bizarre radar, irrelevant.
I wasn't planning on making a vlog about my trip at first, but I realized we weren't making home videos or photo albums anymore, and I miss that. Looking back at old videos when my dad used to record us kids growing up, a 3-year-old me sulking away somewhere about not getting candy is always good for laughs. So enjoy my amateur video making (no, really, please, don't expect much). I'd like to mainly thank Snapchat for allowing me to record these precious moments! Geotags and Snapchat filters always make for better videos right? Anyways, watch it to get a glimpse of what we did around Tokyo for the six days we were there.
It was a true pleasure exploring Japan with the company of my family. To not worry about how much I spend on good food, and to have my brothers laugh at all my jokes is exactly what being with family is all about. For this, I am forever grateful. Of course a part of us were missing since my sister couldn't join us (good safe).
I'm still in awe that we were lucky enough to explore Japan. The past few days have been so refreshing. From the no-delay subways arrivals to the heated toilet seats, it was everything I've ever wanted in a city.
Too much information?