The Trip of a Lifetime…Japan – Part 1

From having beer with my first local, being less than 300 meters from my hostel and couldn’t find it if my life depended on it, toilets everywhere, dancing with a young girl, getting looks from nearly everyone, stopping at almost every vending machine, getting overwhelmed from all the temples, walking atleast 6 miles per day, eating the best beef of my life, to arm wrestling with a clothing owner, and realizing that I the best 2 weeks of my life was ending in a couple of hours we some, but not all of the great memories of a place that I dreamed of exploring for a long time.

Why Nippon?

Well I don’t know when, where, and why my fascination for Japan came from, but it was there and now had all the power, money, and determination to get myself there for atleast 2 weeks. I went ahead in booked my flight in April, looked for podcast relating to Japan, bought a guidebook that came in handy once during the trip, applied for my passport that almost became a nightmare, and continued to dream. I also asked a couple of people that seemed like they would be interested, the responses I got were, “We should plan to go next year”, “That time of the year won’t work for me”, “That is alot of money”, or whatever else. None of the people I asked ended up going and were surprised that I actually booked everything.

Day 1-Tokyo… Getting lost and drunk

It was weird being up 24 hrs and chasing sunlight for that 11 hrs on the plane to Narita and not being able to go to sleep because of the excitement. Once I got off the plan I boarded the train to Tokyo and a couple of minutes later I was greeted with my first Japanese person. I believe his name was Mi-tei-ha-tei, something like, but he was laughing at me for setting in the wrong setting area and in his seat. He left and came back and continued to make fun of me so I proceeded to get up and he pushed me back into the seat and insisted that I stay there. We got to chatting, him working on his English and me working on my Japanese and managed fine. He really surprised me with a beer and some snacks and we continued to talk to each other. Once I finally got on the subway it became difficult to understand what was going on, but managed and took well over an hour to find my hostel.

I met some guys at the hostel and they were going out to the club district called Roroppongi. We went to a couple of bars/clubs, got really drunk, at late night food, and slept outside until 5 a.m. to wait for the subway to start running.

The Festival…

Since sleeping late a couple of guys and myself decided to check out the Asakusa firework festival. It was nearly 8 hrs before the beginning of the festival so we booked our capsule hotel and went sightseeing around the area, which Sensoji Temple was in the area. We found a spot near the back and started putting our cardboard and backpacks to mark are territory. There was one Japanese guy that gave us one of his spots and we had some drinks with him and his friend.

There were more people as time got closer to the event and there were some young girls that sat right in front of us. After awhile we started chatting with them, we took various pictures with them, talked and tried to communicate with them and there was one of the girls that I was teaching how to dance salsa. I mean who would have expected any of this to happen, that is one part of many that I loved about the trip, the shear fact that things done and happened randomly. The girls and alot of the people were fascinated that we were out there having fun with them and I had an exciting time with some strangers I met the day before and the locals.

The Capsule

I didn’t know what to think of what a capsule hotel was until we walked into the area. It was an open space in the middle of the room and on one side it was a setup of 2 x 7 capsules and on the other side there were something else and a couple of capsules. The capsule didn’t feel so much like a coffin as I thought it would and was very spacious for it being deep enough for my 6’1″ frame. If I had to guess the volume of the capsule was 2.5′ x 2.5′ x 6’3″. I slept very good with the blind pulled all the way down and everyone there kept to themselves.

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