where to begin?! let me preface this by saying the trip consisted of 9 total flights, several shuttles, trains and water taxis. it was worth, every single exhausted moment x10. when that hypothetical/mythical figure says, you can sleep when you’re dead, it’s the truth. somehow, deep down you summon the stamina, patience and mental fortitude to continue pressing on and making decisions even when you think you can’t.
choosing life is exactly that, a choice. each of us is given a finite amount of time to accomplish the things we set out to do. how are you making your moments count? ok, now that we’ve got the philosophy portion of the post aside, let’s delve in shall we?
after approximately 24hrs of travel, we arrived fresh off a train into shinjuku station (the world’s busiest metro). oh yeah and we can’t read kanji. delirious, and hauling our luggage out to the street around 11pm to find our hotel, we spotted a taxi. we hailed him and hopped in only to find that he didn’t know where our hotel was either even though it was 0.2mi away. lesson #1, there are no street names in tokyo. also, try figuring out a toilet when you are sleep deprived and it has a 100 buttons on it?! i DID love that all the seats were heated though….man that was nice haha. especially after freezing our butts off in the cold/windy weather whilst exploring
after some crazy hand gesturing/smoke signals and other nonsense, we arrived safely to our room. we stayed at the hotel century southern tower and i highly recommend it! the staff were friendly, helpful and the rooms were huge and clean! pro tip: request a room at the top of the building to get a choice view (we stayed on the 32nd floor and the view blew my mind every single day).
our trip to toyko was a bit of an extended layover to our final destination(s) in the philippines. however, we have a (chef!) friend from university who is half japanese who found her way back to japan a month ago to pursue new opportunities in the city. she kindly met us for sweet hang outs every day and was an amazing guide around shinjuku, ginza and shibuya. we would have been completely lost without her help and never would have been functional enough to ride the train. there was no english!
our first day, she took us to a tiny suburb where we had the most incredible tasting menu lunch prepared gluten free for us! it was a traditional style meal called washoku and my favorite meal of the entire trip! it contained an incredible array of textures, temperatures and flavors that i hope i never forget! there was a black sesame jelly on the left, a rehydrated tofu/daikon/carrot soup, stuffed fish in cabbage, a sweet egg thing, the best miso i’ve ever had and some mackerel in a tiny thimble!
it also made me more obsessed with pickles (oshinko) and tea (ocha).
can you spot the kabocha?!
if you ever want to get your shop on, go to tokyo! i have never seen more luxury stores in my life—even in the train stations! every high end designer you could possibly think of exists in actual stores there. think lanvin, chanel, kenzo, louis vuitton, cartier etc. the department stores are of epic proportions and seem to go on forever! gourmet grocers are found in most of the basements of these department high rises as well. need that shopping fuel or you can just wear a squid hat…
ginza is a very wealthy area of tokyo and we had quite a sashimi feast…the scallops were like literal candy they were so sweet!
we also found our way to this incredible and hidden little basement bar called lupin. if you go to ginza, you MUST go here! the bar tender takes his cocktail making very seriously and the atmosphere is bar none (pun intended). read about the history of lupin here.
and of course, i had to have a lost in translation moment and cross shibuya while looking all around! what a crossing, yet somehow it was so calm. the people never seem rushed, stressed or anxious. it was a totally surreal moment!
ok i could go on forever with this recap but i’m going to stop and just open it to you guys to ask me some questions about it and i’ll answer in the comments! i shrunk the pic sizes so as not to overwhelm you when loading. you can just click them to make them larger to view. hope you enjoyed part 1 of this leg of our incredible journey! x-m