So besides eat and sleep, what did I actually do in Tokyo?
To be honest–a lot of it was wasted on me.
Seeing as I am neither a fan of Edo period, or a fan of anime, just about everything went over my head.
But I am a fan of new ideas, so I still had a wonderful time exploring the Old Tokyo and the New Tokyo.
The New Tokyo:
Just like I feel bad for people who come to Korea who know nothing about Kpop, walking around Ikebukuro, I felt bad for myself.
I saw the fangirling taking place, and I wanted to participate so badly. The walls lined with colorful manga and the figurines and the 50cent machines and everyone looked so happy and I’m looking around thinking,
I followed Silvia and Maria through the 9 floors of the largest anime store in the world—as well as countless other anime stores that line Ikebukuro street.
There are so many thousands of people who wished they could be standing in the largest anime store in the world and then there’s me, a total n00b walking around hopeless.
Luckily, I do know one anime. I consider myself fairly well versed in Pokemon. I’m not sure if that entirely counts as anime—but it’s the closest thing I have.
So we went to the largest Pokemon Store in the world, also in Ikebukuro. It’s just what you imagine the largest Pokemon Store in the world to be—stuffed with thousands of Pikachus. Personally I think Pikachu is a little overrated.
Unluckily, if the corner wasn’t stuffed with a Pikachu in an elf costume, it was full of some new Pokemon I don’t know.
But—I did find some original things. Aren’t you jealous?
While I may not have appreciated the anime as much as I could have, I did drag Silvia and Maria around to four different music stores throughout Tokyo to complete my second mission of the trip:
2. Find the recently released Shinee in Tokyo Dome DVD. Because it’s nowhere in Korea.
Trust me, I’ve looked
And apparently everyone and their dog wants to watch it because it was sold out everywhere—including the “largest music store in the world”. Which also happened to be having a fan signing which unluckily, we didn’t have tickets to.
In Shibuya, overlooking the busiest crosswalk in the world.
We finally did find it at a mall in Shinjuku, after much googling and hoping.
So that covers New Tokyo.
But we also did old stuff.
The Old Tokyo:
Tokyo has been around for a while so it has some pretty old stuff. Granted, a lot of it is brand new but built on the same location because of wars and bloodshed and bombs and the like,
The Imperial Palace is right in the center of Tokyo, surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens and lakes. When I say surrounded I mean, you can barely see the actual palace. If you stand in one certain corner in one certain parking lot you can catch a glimpse of it if you catch it just right between the European tourists and the Japanese field trips.
The Royal Family still lives there, so I guess I’d still want some privacy too.
The Meiji Shrine is a Shinto Temple on the West side by Shibuya. Get this—we walked in on the one day of the entire year when it is free. An anniversary of some kind.
We did a rinsing ritual, which was nice to splash water on your face in 95 degrees (not exaggerating—it was atrocious). And then we wandered around the pretty plaza for a bit and took some selfies.
I was proud of us for even stepping outside in the heat. But it’s not like we had a hotel…so outside was our only option.
Another day we went to the Asakusa Temple (all the days mesh in my head). It’s a beautiful place—as all temples are— and unfortunately another opportunity wasted on me because that’s all I really have to say about it besides the fact that outside the gates are dozens of stalls selling Jpop tzotchke and tea sets.
So, that’s what I did in Tokyo besides eat new food and wander around looking for somewhere to sleep. Walk, sweat, and learn about Tokyo– the old and the new.