A Day and Night on the Town
After sleeping in the comfortable capsule hotel the guys and myself went around Asakusa, Tokyo looking at various markets and finally ate at a small place that the lady kept on saying Hai. She said it at least 20 times before we were able to sit down, but nonetheless the food was pretty good. We then proceeded to go to Shinjuku to check out the goth kids and do some shopping.
The place was really packed with tons of people and there were people dressed with goth clothing all over the place and actually had quite a few shops that specialized in goth clothing. I bought a couple of accessories, but was really shocked with most of the clothing and apparels being westernized. At the time it was raining and was the first time I heard a Japanese thunder and damn did it scare the shit out of me, the sound was like a defiant striking sound with a slight echo. It is hard to explain but you know for sure that you were not in the states. The highlight of the day was walking in the area of Shinjuku, the time square time of place. There were lights, large tv screens, and tons of people everywhere. I loved when the lights changed green and everybody in the area from all sides of the circle crossed the street. You had to be there to get a feel of the shear excitement it was to cross “The Street” of Japan; you can get a good idea of the excitement it is by watching Tokyo Drift. My hostel buddy and myself continued to walk the streets around the area doing some window shopping and looking around finding some interesting things. We eventually stopped at this local restaurant that was serving all you can drink for 1800 yen (about 15 bucks) for 3 hours. We quickly jumped on the opportunity and drank all that we could and ate appetizers. They had the best chop sticks I have ever used and kindly asked them if I can have them. We also took various pictures of the employees and talked about randomness and about the importance of traveling. Getting back to the hostel was an adventure within itself and I quickly passed out once there.
Monday was a laid back day. I woke up early at around 5 a.m. to go to the fish market with a couple of friends from the hostel. I don’t know how to really describe it, but it was madness everywhere and all of the people working were in harmony with it. There were small bed vehicles moving in and out of traffic while tourist and locals were walking and being fascinated with the selection of all the types of sea food. We eventually tried to find a place to eat breakfast but all of the good spots were backed up with people standing in line.
Randomness Around Town
I rested throughout the morning and I convinced a couple of people to go to Tokyo Zoo. The trip down there took no time, but the rain was still out and about and almost messed up our day, but we eventually got to the zoo’s entrance to find out that it was closed on Monday. This is when the trip got pretty random; we rode the subway to various places none of us have been and walked around not caring what we got ourselves into. We ended up at a restaurant building that had at least 30 floors and looked at the city from the top and viewed the stores at the bottom of the building, next we went to the Tokyo Tower to also view the city from above and then went back to the hostel afterwards. I didn’t know how BIG Tokyo really was until I got to see it from a tall building, it really overwhelmed me with the amount of space they had and the things they can cram into it. However, I did enjoy looking at the city at different sides of the structures that I was in because Tokyo did present uniqueness with different buildings, water and landmarks, cemeteries in between buildings, tennis courts on top of buildings, ferris wheels, harbor, and so on. Words cannot explain how much fun I had just doing things with no mission to plan and it showed me that we as humans are not designed to have everything figured out. We may think we know what we want to do for our lives, but a person can get a better understanding of what they want to do when doing things with no direction.
It’s All About the Adventures of Honda
The night before I took a nap and was wired for the rest of the night so I decided to take my trip to the Honda Museum and Twin Ring Race Track in Motegi, Japan, about 2.5 hours away from Japan. I will have a separate post about this trip because it truly provided so much direction of what I ultimately want to do for my life and I was a kid again the whole day, so stay tuned. That night I ended up staying at an internet café, so I was able to catch up on email and just bummed around for a couple of hours and get a good night sleep. The café had great liquid selection ranging from cold and hot coffee to fruit drinks of all different flavors and there was one vending machine you had to pay for in order to get food, but it was crazy putting a couple of coins in and waiting a couple of seconds for your food to heat up.
The next day was time to go to another place, I could have easily spent the whole 2 weeks in Tokyo and still wouldn’t have seen everything, but that just gives me an excuse to come back. So I took the bullet train to Kyoto for 3 days, I had a great time looking out of the window observing the country side and reading a great book called, Never Eat Alone. Once getting to Kyoto I was lost for at least an hour trying to find the hostel (very shitty directions). I took a nap and headed out to check out the town. If you want to see temples all you have to do is go to Kyoto and you will see them everywhere; on a cliff, near the park, in the middle of the city (scary as hell if walking alone on a pitch dark night), and so on. I would have loved to see what Kyoto looked like back in the day where there were no modern buildings, cars, and subway systems in the way. After going to my first temple I then proceeded to go to another temple and loved taking pictures during the time of day that I was there. As I was walking a guy with a warm smile said hello to me and we introduced ourselves to each other and started taking pictures of temples, scenery, and also the Geisha district. His name was Mark Soni, who is from Maryland and he was exploring Japan as I was. We talked about the reasons why we were in Japan, school, sports, God, had a mega mac, girls, the locals, about our friends, and whatever came to mind. Whenever you travel you never really know who you are going to meet and ironically I don’t think we would have met if we were in the states being so close, it took to strangers that had an interest of a place and just stop all the bullshit and take that leap of faith and find out about that place. And that was the same case with a lot of the foreigners I met and that are what I believe what kept most of us comfortable around each other. I ended up going back to my hostel and said that we were going to meet up the next day to do some more sites seeing. This never happened because I got lost that night trying to find my way back to the hostel, finally getting on the bus…the bus stopping because it was the last stop…me telling myself wtf… me walking at least 5 miles back to the hostel…a temple shooting straight into the air…me getting scared because of the temple and bums sleeping in the street…me finally getting to my hostel walking up steep as can be stairs to lay in my thin mattress and pillow filled with rice or rocks…just awful, but now I can laugh about it.
Day 2- Exploring Kyoto Alone
The following day I woke up late and was suppose to meet up with Mark, but that didn’t happen, I was too tired and missed him and his roommate at their hotel. So I walked around looking at stuff I hadn’t before and went to a pachinko bar to play slots and walked around town taking pictures of scenery and more temples. One of my gracious parts of the trip was when I saw 2 Japanese girls around the age of 10 smiling and waving at me, so I smiled and waved back. I believe at the time I was taking pictures of the scenery and crossed over to take pictures of the other side when I noticed another set of 3 Japanese girls also waving and smiling at me. All of them were friends and continued to wave at me, so I couldn’t pass up a moment to ask them to stand together to take a photo. A good day I tell ya, people are interesting and curious at the same time and until you get them in that comfortable state the expression on their face, the way they move their body, the sudden pause in their mouth will tell you what that person is truly feeling that words cannot describe.
Day Three in Kyoto………and Nara
I decided to wake up early this day to see if I could catch up with Mark and his roommate and do some early site seeing. I wanted to go to Kobe for half the day and enjoy the night in Kyoto one last time, but that didn’t happen. I ended meeting up with Mark and his roommate and we decided to go to Nara, because it was a little bit closer and Kobe went through Osaka which was my next destination and also that was where Mark and his roommate was flying out of. Nara isn’t big at all. I think you can see a very good part of Nara on bike in a couple of hours, but it is so relax-ful there you can easily spend a couple of days (I mean a full day) there. Once you get off the subway you walk through the shopping center and go into a park that is filled with deer, everywhere is deer, and they are so friendly, but will chase you if you have food. There is one deer that everyone knows which is a blind baby deer that just stands there; he/she is a really cool ass deer. As we walked through the park we approach a huge temple and it housed the 3rd largest Buddha in the world. I think the temple was the first temple made of wood, I am not sure, but it was the oldest of something. The Buddha was crazy big and the design of it was very descriptive, I would only imagine how much bigger the other two Buddha carvings are. We headed back to Kyoto for the night and was raining some, but the night was great just walking around, enjoying the place, not taking a photo, and enjoying life.