Our timing was perfect for a stop in Japan. We arrived on March 31st, just in time for the daytime highs to reach 60 degrees and the cherry blossoms to be in full bloom. Our friends from Seattle, Josh and Shelly, were also in town for a wedding so we’ve been able to spend a few days with them touring the city. Josh happens to also speak fluent Japanese, which is a real asset in this country. Unlike most countries, where English is fairly prevalent, Japan is still very much a one language country. That’s not to say we couldn’t get around, but having someone decipher a menu in kanji makes eating a much more pleasurable experience.
Before we met up with Josh and Shelly, my Shelly was attempting to decipher what was in her ramen noodles
Yesterday, we spent most of the day sitting under the cherry trees in the Ueno district, drinking Asahi beer and eating okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake filled with egg, shredded cabbage, and squid). It sounds a little strange but actually tasted really good. We sat for hours watching thousands of people pass by and just enjoyed the afternoon.
Josh serving up our okonomiyaki
Today we spent most of our time touring the Harajuku district in T0kyo. This area is known for its trendy young crowd and their fashion. Simply put, in 32 years, I’ve never seen outfits like this. It was facinating to see the clothes in the stores and on the people. Josh put it best when he said ”it’s a cross between a French maid’s outfit and gothic”. The picture below gives you some idea of the style.
After three days in Tokyo this may be the the most facinating stop on our trip. Everything here is unique and different from the places we’ve been. Unlike most countries, there seems to be very little western influence. The product brands, food choices, etc. are all 100% Japanese. About the only familiar thing you can find with any certainty is a Coke. Another thing that’s great is the number of vending machines. No longer do I have to wait for the cranky 7-11 clerk to ring up a bottle of water. There are rows of vending machines on every street corner just waiting for my loose change.
Lastly, we’re still deciding on whether to travel down to Kyoto for a few days before our flight back home or just stay in Tokyo. It’s very hard to find lodging right now with the cherry trees in bloom and the bullet train down is very pricey. We hope everyone is doing well back in Seattle and we’ll see you in a few days.