Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Fast and the Furious - Hanami Madness

Saturday was our last day in Tokyo. We got up early to go to Tsukiji Market, the huge and famous Tokyo fish market. Everyday 2,300 tons of fish and seafood arrive from all over the world. There's an auction that starts around 5 in the morning. Afterwards you can go to the local market and eat fresh sushi!

We walked through the hustle and bustle of the market. There’s a lot of activity so you have to be careful not to get run over by a fast moving truck and other such seafood obstacles.

Next, we headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. The building alone was a piece of art. We saw a great show of a Japanese artist and his work starting from the 1950s to the present, their permanent collection and another show of four emerging artists.

We went to the Tokyo Bay area to get some Manju, Tokyo’s version of oknomiyaki.
Then we went on a riverboat ride to eat an amazing meal, drink a lot, see the cherry blossoms, and sing karaoke. We also celebrated Julian's birthday again!

Then to Shinjuku for our final night of drinking. Julian took us to Golden Gai, the dive bar area in Shinjuku, which I had mentioned in a previous blog. We went to the coolest little hole in the wall bar with flamenco music, cave like walls and cool locals.

Unfortunately, we couldn't stay there very long because we had to catch the last train home. As we were walking through Shinjuku, we ran into these cute girls that let me take their picture. Maybe they work at a "maid cafe".

In a city that is open all night, I can't understand why the trains stop between midnight and 1am. It was such a bummer to have to get the train, but it was good we went back, because we had to leave the next morning at 7am to catch our bus to the airport.

We flew back to Himeji the next day. We did so much in one week, but I still feel like I could explore Tokyo for another 3 months or longer. Each area of Tokyo is like a mini-city or community, so there’s always tons to explore.

Stepping off the train into Himeji I was in a complete daze. I couldn’t believe how few people were walking the streets of Himeji on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But then I realized I was just comparing it to Tokyo’s density.

In regards to the Kanto (Tokyo area) versus Kansai (Osaka area) fight, to be honest, I didn’t see that much of a difference. Tokyo is a bigger city and there are just so many people that I think sometimes, people have to be rude or fast about helping you and people do knock into you and you get pushed around more as well, but to be honest, to me it’s Japan and it feels just as Japanese as any other place. I love it all!

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