Happy Japan: Tokyo Days 1-6

This summer I was fortunate to travel to Japan with my travel companion and boyfriend, JZ (you may know him from his blog The Sewer Den).
We spent 12 days in Japan, enjoying the customs and exceptional hospitality. I want to share so much, but every time I start writing a post with all the details, I end up with a novella before me. So, keeping it brief, here’s a highlight from each day.

Day 1: English Everywhere!
I was prepared to spend half my trip taking cabs out of frustration and completely failing to communicate, but quickly learned things were going to be a lot easier than I anticipated. I’m sure globalization is part of the reason, but I was so happy to be able to find my way on the subway with English signs. I felt a little bit more autonomous and it made me realize what a pull English has on the commercial world. There were menus, subway signs and more available in my native language and it made the trip much simpler for me!

Day 2: Cool Art
Checking out the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art was great way to spend some time early in the trip. The exhibits ranged from boundary pushing to humor filled. Seeing the visual style of Contemporary Japanese artists made me feel much more aware of the people I was now surrounded by. Plus, I had a sense of awe as I explored strange room  upstairs.

Day 3: Kaiten-zushi (Rotating Sushi)
Sushi was a major factor in our decision to visit Japan. My boyfriend and I have favored the sushi date above all others over the past three years. The chance to chew up some raw fish in the cuisine’s native land was sure to be a real treat. We made our way to Oedo sushi in the Ueno district and were pleased to taste many small plates! It was a gourmet dream come true that we repeated every time we found a kaiten-zushi spot!

Day 4: Robot Restaurant
Living in NYC, I generally avoid anything that looks like a tourist attraction. When I’m heading to other cities, I generally keep that rule going. But this looked too strange to pass up. It wasn’t strange, it’s was a majestic spectacle! All of the performers looked so happy and the show had some kickass fights between robots. I was constantly transported from across time and space by the energetic performers!

Day 5: Toys
Traveling with JZ requires frequent walks down memory lane. There’s always a gateway to nostalgia waiting to be opened! Together we hunt for toys and treasures from eras past and Japan was no different. Four days were spent seeking TMNT toys and souvenirs of favorite Japanese characters. I came home with more Hello Kitty and Godzilla toys for friends, loved ones and myself! The thrill of the hunt for vintage toys was invigorated by Mandrake and other stores from Nakano Broadway, Akihibara, and small shops all over Osaka. We scored some awesome items for JZ’s The Sewer Den!

Day 6: Piss Alley

This narrow alley in Tokyo is full of small bites and beer – two of my favorite things. All of the little restaurants along the way were cozy, the night was hot and the cold beer sealed the deal in making everything magical. After a long day exploring Mount Fuji, I got nice and tipsy in Piss Alley on our last night in Tokyo. We ate lots of yakitori, grilled squid and pickled vegetables alongside plenty of beer.

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