11 Variations of TOKYO!

 

〜A city in Green〜

ogasawara islands

Ogasawara Islands (Chichijima)

Tokyo maybe the world renown megapolis, but it’s nested around more nature than any other large scale city with tropical Islands, mountains and valley’s most foreigners are unaware of.

Islands:

Izu Islands (main) – Oshima, Toshima, Niijima, Kozushima, Miyakejima, Hachijojima, Mikurajima, Shikinejima, Aogashima.

Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands (main) – Mukojima group, Chichijima group, Hahajima group.

Mountains: Mt. Takao, Mt. Mitake (Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park)

Parks and Gardens: Yoyogi Park, Inokashira Park,  Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, Imperial Palace East Gardens, Rikugien, Koishikawa Korakuen, Hama Rikyu Garden, Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, Kiyosumi Teien.

〜Hidden Beauty〜

The daily commute

Busy bodies of Tokyo (recently awarded by TIME as people with the least sleep) also need a moment of Zen to heal from the treacherous 1 hour commute one way.

Hot springs, esthetic salons, massage boutiques are just a few of many ways Japanese effuse their stress and regain not only sanity but also liveliness.

Look no further than the premium hotels to get the full service treatment that will blow your mind. No need to worry if you are on a budget. The average quality of massages, and spas go beyond what you can get at a hefty price in any other country. It’s almost laughable.

Orgasmically Good

Super Fine Tuna

Super Fine Tuna

Okay, so you’ve had sushi or ramen before. Shut up. What you ate is not sushi. Honestly it’s 3rd rate crap unless you’ve morgaged your house to eat sushi, it’s just fish cut up to look like sushi, staffed with asian looking people who can’t even say “welcome” properly.

Well, don’t worry. You will finally have your taste buds freed, and by that I mean the gastronomic culture of Japan will remind you of every joyous moment you’ve ever experienced as child, teenager, and man or woman. The only  bad news is  you’re left with the nostalgia of fine cuisine when returning to your country. Poor you.

When asked “do you like Japanese food” most people reply, “why yes, I love sushi”. For those of you who think sushi is all that encompasses Japanese food, well then let me introduce you to the Michelin Guide, Michelin Guide, meet the simple minded. The world famous gourmet guide has ranked 3 cities in Japan among the Top 5 best cuisine cities in the world: Tokyo takes the top spot with Kyoto at #3 and Osaka at 5th. No other country comes close.

Sweet Sweet Satisfaction

577698342_ba60011168_oSweets are in a group all to itself for the sole reason that if there is anything such as perfection, sweets made in Japan come so close. Gentle texture, balance, design, and packaging, all come together bringing to life the creation. Words cannot be enough to describe the desire and pleasure, anticipation and sadness before each bite and after its finished. The best place to visit is the basement floor of department stores. Prepare for drooling, if you’re lucky they will have samples.

“Omotenashi: Pleasure in Service”

The value of each customer

The value of each customer

 Taxi drivers with white gloves and doors that open and close automatically; buy something from a shop and the staff insist on walking you out the door and bowing until you leave the building; drop your wallet or leave something behind and someone will take it to a police station and nothing will be taken from it; walk into a restaurant on a cold day and get warm hand wipes, on hot days, cool ones; trains are never delayed for a second unless there was a jumper (one of popular ways japanese commit suicide), and if they are delayed you get a ticket receipt showing you were late to work due to the trains fault; part-time workers pass out tissues packs around stations; the list goes on…

Service is a form of pride. Japanese people work hard to represent themselves, their establishment, and their country the right way.

〜Safe & Affordable〜 B level dishes, donquixote, 100 yen, all you can eat/drink,

$7 bowl of sashimi

$7 bowl of sashimi

 Unfamiliar language coupled with a different cultural setting may be daunting to the novice traveler let alone an experienced one. But that’s part of traveling, seeking new adventures learning unique cultures, but even then safety is a concern. Japan may not be THE safest place on earth, but it’s up there.

Safety standards for buildings in cities like Tokyo are demanding due to the frequent tremors and the occasional earthquake. Trains, buses, and all form of transportation are neatly kept as if coming straight from the manufacturing plant. Have you ever seen Japanese people wearing masks? Japanese people are very cautious of safety in food and public areas, after all, like a billion people use the train. Japanese people don’t want to cause other people trouble and want to protect themselves from getting ill. Masks ON!

There’s no gun violence, and even gangs are not that threatening. There is a reason Japan has a reputation for being safe.

And…JAPAN is not expensive. The median income of Tokyo dwellers and other large city folks are not that far off. There are plenty of shops and restaurants that are a “bargain”. For the price you pay, most of the food you’ll have in Japan will pale in comparison to quality and taste in your home country.

Ever heard of 100 yen shops? You could practically build a house with that stuff, oh wait…that’s already happening! Don Quixote, “B” level food or in other words “Japanese soul food”, All you can eat restaurants, lunch time value meals, capsule hotels, and shops like uniqlo. Whoever said Japan is expensive clearly didn’t look at it from the local perspective.

〜Truly “Conbini”〜 

Why do locals love their Tokyo? It’s convenient. What’s so convenient? That’s a funny question hahahaha…EVERYTHING! Transportation to anywhere and everywhere. Restaurants and bars, lounges, open until early in the morning or 24 hours. Shops that offer everything in the encyclopedia. There’s hardly anything you can’t get.

For example: 7-Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart, Sunkus, Mini Stop, and other smaller convenience stores that are open 24 hours are not your typical drive by gasoline stand shop to pick up junk. No, it’s a place to get cheap and pretty darn good coffee, Japanese set meals for under 500 yen. Get bottled tea or the latest health vitamin drinks. Need a pair of socks or a tie? Maybe a notepad or charger for your phone? These “conbini” shops have it all and then some. Walk in and be prepared to acknowledge the level of quality and convenience that you wont see in your country.

〜Life and Love at Night 〜 9. Nighlife (drink) Love Hotel

Dark sky’s encroach upon the city. The two faced Tokyo appears, and with it, flickering Neon lights, energizing the young and over worked to bars, clubs, red light districts, and every form of “entertainment” you can think of. From showy performances, to the seedy side that travel books rarely talk about. Tokyo’s got it all and is quite famous for it, you just don’t know it.

Ever heard of the term “Love Hotel?” well now you have. Hotels that are supremely clean and brilliantly located around clubs and other nightly ventures to offer yet another convenience. Cheaper, more spacious and always available are these underground hotels that will never pop up on a travel agency or an advisor of trips website.

Boredom is a rarity. Sake, cocktails, karaoke, clubbing and having fun are in infinite supply.

The daytime = cultural experiences, tours, learn something.

The night = memories that will you remember for the rest of your life.

It’s a one way road. Go hard and go home with stories. Go easy and you will regret it.

〜Shrines, Temples〜

4123819157_87a087a087_oAs popular as cafe’s on every street corner, shrines, temples, and “power spots” are very much a part of everyday life with a temple or shrine for every and any thing you can think of. Safe baby birth, passing an exam, financial gain, marriage partner, good luck, the list is endless.

 

 

 

〜Clean〜 

Basic Principle: clean your own classroom

Basic Principle: clean your own classroom

How do they do it? After every baseball, soccer, international event, you see articles and photos of Japanese people cleaning up after themselves, I mean wow, they actually do what we should all do, and we think that’s above and beyond.

Come to Tokyo, one of the most populous cities and here, Shibuya area is considered dirty, why? a few cigarettes here and there, and a guy here or there that had a rough weekend (ya! a true partier!). If you can manage, wake up early around 7am on the weekend or earlier on the weekdays and you will find shopkeepers, and local residents sweeping what looks like nothing, but they do it everyday. sweep the dust, or the air? Or perhaps it’s just a leaf that’s had the misfortune of falling at the wrong time. Whatever the case, Japanese people are clean, anything less and society will not accept it.

〜You people are beautiful!〜 11. People (Beautiful Girls, Guys, Fashion is Life), Crazy Anime, drunk salaryman, new IT era. Loveable freaks (cosplay)/Otaku Nation, No such thing as Niche/ Pop Culture??

harajuku fashion, anything goes

harajuku fashion, anything goes

We all know Anime is popular, Japanese beer is good, the food is amazing, lots of culture, and it’s the land of samurai’s, ninja’s, geisha’s and godzilla, oh and also beautiful and cute girls.

What am I trying to say? Tokyo’s got a niche culture to fit anyone’s taste, be an 80’s rocker with greased back hair on the weekends, or dress up as your favorite anime character, it’s ok to be geekified because Tokyo is probably the birthplace of it.

But Tokyoites have also got style. Go to Ginza, Aoyama or Omotesando and the flashy business doers congregate.

Like I said Tokyo’s got everything to enjoy from am to pm,  insect collecting aficionados to heavy metal head banging troups, school uniforms to salarymen and women.

Japan has got it all, and it’s all for you to enjoy. 

 

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