A Travellerspoint blog

Japan Welcomes Us! (First Stop - Tokyo)

Day 1 - 2 (Tokyo)

overcast 19 °C

3/22-23
Meagan's Post

(Shinjuku (Kabuki St/red light area), Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya (purikura/arcade , Shiba statue, maid cafe), Akihabara (electronics), Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station)
Being hosting us at his apartment in Iogi, our super nice British couchsurf host Dave took us around the West/Central Tokyo area today. We started the day with looking for Melissa's jacket in one of the lockers at Seibu Shinjuku Station, where we believe she left yesterday while testing out the sizes of the lockers. Unfortunately that jacket might be lost to us forever.
It is very amusing walking/training around with Dave. He's a whole head taller than everyone else! This proved hazardous for him, especially on a rainy day like today when all the opened umbrellas are at his eye level, attempting to take an eye or two out with every step he took. Fortunately our human-GPS survived.
The maid cafe was a HUGE rip-off. We went just to experience it, but like Melissa said, going to a ramen place instead would've been a better use of the money. 500yen cover charge/person, each have to order something from the menu, and a picture cost 500yen. But the majority of the entertainment was watching the middle-age bussinessmen repeating grossly cute phrases after the maids when they bring them the food. The fake, high-pitch, squeaky voices also made my ears hemorrhage. Interesting experience none the less.
We got a bit lost in Shinjuku Station trying to get to the Sumitomo Building to catch our night express bus to Matsuyama, so ended up just taking the taxi there. Turned out the bus was also 45minutes late, so we could've walked it if we really tried. Right now Melissa is sleeping next to me and we are 11 hours from our destination.

\(^∀^)メ(^∀^)ノ \(^∀^)メ(^∀^)ノ \(^∀^)メ(^∀^)ノ

Melissa's Post
3/22
- 10 hour plane ride (US 2pm - Japan 4:15pm)
- Got our luggage, went to get the sim card for our phone, called home, and headed to take the train to Shinjuku!

- We just got on the first train that we saw, hoping it would take us to Nippori. Afterwards we switched over to Station 11, where it took us to Shinjuku station. When we arrived, we tried to find a locker to put our luggage inside so we could go exploring while our couch surfing host was finished with his plans. Except one small problem - OUR BAGS WERE TOO LARGE FOR THE LOCKERS! Luckily, we got a text from our host that his plans have changed and could meet up with us at Seibu-Shinjuku anytime. We immediately called him and told us he would come in 10 minutes. During those time, my sister and I observed the people walking in Seibu-Shinjuku station.

- Dave finally found us and took us to his place. We rode on a local train to Iogi station and dropped off our bags in his house. After settling for a bit, he took us to a cheap place to eat in Takadanobaba. Everything (or most) dishes and drinks were 270 yen! So we got a couple of drinks, yakitori, chicken katsu, and salad. The atmosphere was the most interesting - relaxed, but exciting; new, but comforting - a mixture of contrasting feelings. Listening to the laughs from drunk businessmen, ordering our food from a high-tech tablet menu, and inhaling more second-hand smoke I have had in a year, it was definately an experience that one could only get in Japan.

- After some delicious food, we headed back to Dave's place, took a warm shower, and called it a night.

3/23
I lost my jacket! We went back to Seibu-Shinjuku station, hoping to find it in to Seibu-Shinjuku station, hoping to find it in the locker, but no luck. I really wanted to find it, but we had limited time, so I tried my best to accept the fact that it just might be lost forever. Dave took us to many different places in Tokyo - Shinjuku, Harujuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, and the Imperial Palace.

Harujuku - we started our day by going to the Meiji Jingu. It was drizzling, but a nice walk nonetheless. The first of many temples that we will go to! Afterwards we went to harujuku, the place with interesting clothing and the cutest totoro bags! Definately planning to return to Harujuku after the pilgrimage.

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Shibuya - there was an arcade, so we decided to go in to take my first purikura! Most of the machines didn't allow any males, but there were some that allowed males.

Akihabara - the district of manga, anime, maid cafes, and electronics. If you are an otaku, this is the place for you. There are lines of shops that sells all your favorite manga and anime. If you're hungry, you can go up to the maid cafe and be served by the maid of your dreams. We wanted to see what the maid cafes were like, so we decided to go up. It was... expensive for the amount of food we got, but it was definately a one-time experience. Business men go there to enjoy being called master. Squeeky maid voices that gives me goosebumps - it's a cute overdose. But it was definately an entertainment to watch these old guys do all these cutesy stuff with the girls. Afterwards, we went up to the largest electronics shop in Akihabara - over 7 stories high!

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Imperial Palace - we decided to walk to the Imperial Palace, the place where the current emperor lives. The palace was guarded and closed when we went, but it's open two times a year (during New Years and on the emperor's birthday).

Afterwards, we went back to Dave's place to pack up so we can take the night bus to Matsuyama. Of course, we got lost after we arrived at Shibuya. I got kind of flustered by all the people walking around the station. We eventually gave up and decided to take the taxi - 780 yen. Sigh, at least we got where we needed to go and experience the crazy night life of Shibuya.

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Posted by thewongway 06:44 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo dave Comments (1)

Things I've Learned So Far In Japan

Melissa's Post

semi-overcast

( ゚▽゚)/コンバンハ
Staying in Japan for the past three days, I have noticed a couple interesting things.

The things I learned in Tokyo

1 There is a different ringtones for each subway station

2 There are vending machines in Tokyo that suggests what type of drink you should get based on gender and height

3 Always stay on the left side of the escalator; the right side is for people who are in a rush

4 People fall asleep A LOT on the train ヽ(´ー`)┌

5 Businessmen also go to Maid Cafes ( ゚ Д゚)

6 There are no garbage cans in toilet areas (probably because they are very strict about their waste disposal)

7 There are actually many American stores in Japan (A&E, A&F, Claire's, Starbucks, Tullys, Gap, etc)

8 AKB48 is very popular. There was even a whole train that only had their advertisements!

9 Japan is very stingy on giving free wi-fi (I miss free wi-fi at US Starbucks!)

The things I learned in Matsuyama

1 Heated toilet seats are very comfortable! (≧∇≦)/

2 The roads are very narrow, which fits their very tiny cars.

3 Many people ride bikes, but not one wears a helmet

It's currently 12:39 am and we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow! So good night and come back for more updates! More updates to come about our trip very soon.

オ(・ェ・)ヤ(・ェ-)ス(-ェ・)ミ(-ェ-)。o○Zzz…

Posted by thewongway 08:18 Archived in Japan Tagged interesting fact Comments (0)

Packing/Planning (almost there)

Meagan's Post

overcast

Planning for a trip is not easy...but here's a tentative plan for the first few days of the Japan trip (we'll see how well we keep to the schedule in the upcoming posts).
3/21 Depart Seattle
3/22 Arrive Tokyo. Explore Shinjuku and sleepover at a Couchsurf host in Shinjuku.
3/23 Night (12h) bus (Tokyo to Matsuyama)
3/24 Arrive Matsuyama. Meet my old host family (Takahashi) and revisit my old home/town/high school/dojo
3/26 Begin Pilgrimage (bike 800miles to 88 temples)
I'm going to keep this post short and we'll elaborate when the real time comes ;)
Wish us luck!

Posted by thewongway 23:23 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Introduction

メリサの書きこみ

rain 5 °C

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ワーニング:大学に日本語を勉強する事が止めましたから私の日本語は少しおかしいです。すみません!(^_^メ)

今日はメリサの書きこみはです。舞書きこみは日本語と英語を書くつもりです。がんばります!

このブログはメリサとメイガンの旅行のブログです。3月21日から4月23まで日本にいて、6月5日まで、中国に来ます。アジアにとても美味しい食べ物を食べたり、古刹へ行ったり、 たくさん 写真を 撮りたり、ショッピングをしたり、花見へしたり、すばらしい人を会ったりします。四国でお遍路するのはきついでしょうが、とても良い体験になると思います!

去年の夏に姉とこのお遍路をする事は思念だけですが三日に日本へ行って、ドキドキにしています!今「私は夢にいますか」と思っています。でも、夢じゃなくって真実です。私と姉は遍歴者に成ります。笑

English version:
I will be sharing this blog with my sister, so you, the readers, will be able to see two completely different perspectives of the same trip! Since you are not able to travel along with us, we will connect to you through this blog. There will be inevitable arguments and small fights along the way, but we will both work together to show you the beauty of Japan and China!

This is a blog about our experiences as we travel to different parts of rural/urban Japan and China. We will be traveling through the quiet and peaceful cities of Shikoku, as well as the boisterous and metropolitan cities such as Tokyo. We will be staying in Japan from March 21 to April 23. Afterwards, we will be traveling to different parts of China until June 5.

In Japan, we will be doing the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. We will be traveling with my sister all around the island of Shikoku, visiting the major temples and performing traditional rituals. We will also explore around the cities and make many wonderful friends along the way. After the pilgrimage, we will travel to other parts of Japan, such as Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, and immerse ourselves with the urban culture, latest trends, and amazing food!

When we head over to China, we will be staying in the urban Hong Kong and the rural Taishan. In Hong Kong, we will be able to see the bustling streets, haggle for various merchandises, and experience the amazing street food at nighttime. Afterwards, we will head over to Taishan and shadow at the local hospital. This will be an interesting experience since we are both pursuing in the field of medicine. We will be able to compare and contrast the healthcare services provided between Taishan and Seattle.

So please, fasten your imaginary seatbelts, and enjoy the ride.

Posted by thewongway 11:11 Archived in USA Tagged melissa introduction Comments (0)

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