My blog is my time machine. It transports me back to past moments of my choice. Come travel with me. We’re going to Tokyo today.
At night, the streets of Tokyo were full of blinking lights. A cacophony of sounds.
Shop workers stood at the doorsteps with megaphones and shouted away their best offers, non-stop, to passers-by. Inside the shops, the lighting was blinding. Our eyes and ears told us to leave before we could find what we were looking for.
We passed more small shops selling what might’ve been sweet pastries. We went into a convienience store and bought seaweed triangles but didn’t know if we should peel them, heat them, or just bite in. We said hi to the cashier – and two young men in samurai-styled painters’ work clothes laughed at us. Later, we remembered that probably sounded like yes in Japanese.
Looking for somewhere to eat, we stumbled upon a small, hidden back alley, in the bustling metropole. It might not come as a surprise when I tell you that the whole place looked like it was from Hubby’s favorite film, Blade Runner. The alley was steamy with delicious smells drifting out of the tiny wooden shacks; restaurants; the smells mingling competitively. The tiny eateries looked exotic. Flags of writing hung outside, as signs. We didn’t dare go in.
We found a nice sushi place with locals and a sushi conveyor belt. In front of each seat there was a tap for hot water, which you could mix with the green tea powder provided. I didn’t know how to use it, or that I was supposed to use it, until a grey-haired Japanese gentleman eating his dinner alone next to us showed us how. I felt so baffled that I even dropped my chopsticks to the floor.
Later, we ate at another restaurant and hubby is convinced to this day that it was offal on BBQ sticks. I thought it was good. We found some overwhelmingly large, but truly delicious waffles with sweet whipped cream and strawberries galore at a park while watching the ubiquitous cartoon of a boy on fire. We were outdoors but, bizarrely, so was the cartoon.
Inside an electronic store at Akihabara, the cacophony continued on the PA system, commercial after commercial. Without understanding the language, we knew what they were saying. Buy this at only 99,99!
Somewhere, we stepped into a gaming place. Men were sitting there, eyes transfixed to their games. Dings, dongs, cheering and thundering sounds. The sound of coins falling out of a machine resonated from somewhere in the room.
I stopped on the street for a moment and it didn’t take long before a blinking minivan with loud music appeared and I stared, too slow to take a good photo. It had an outrageous pink color and was decorated with J-Pop idols.
I loved feeling clueless for a while, since this was only a trip and not my so-called real life. Please, baffle me some more, Tokyo! Bring it on!
I wonder if Japanese people from other towns feel at all like this when they visit Tokyo?
A few years after this trip, I did a very short Japanese cultural course just for fun. The course actually just managed to highlight how alien of a culture it is to me. I’d like to travel to the countryside one day – maybe visit Kyoto. Who knows where my time machine will take me in the future.
Part Two coming up in my next post – stay tuned!