So, I was lucky to get the chance to travel to TOKYO last May 21st until June 30th. First of all, it was my first time to travel outside of the Philippines and second, I had to travel alone. So talk about FIRST TIMES!
Anyway, my flight was at 2PM and lucky enough, PAL flights weren't delayed and I arrived around 7PM in Narita Airport. Not knowing what to do, I just followed the crowd as soon as the plane landed and there I was, Immigrations-Customs then out. I then told myself, "Yes, I am finally here" . Nick G. met me at the airport and we took the airport bus going to Shinjuku. I was amazed that there wasn't any heavy traffic on the way to Shinjuku. I was taking pics of the street plus, I can't help but notice how polite people were because since I boarded the bus, I have been thanked 4 times by different personnels for taking the bus ride.
Fashion is one thing that I wanted to see in Tokyo. So, that night, I noticed how people dressed the same for work. Specially the guys. Black blazer and pants, white collared long sleeves and tie. Yes, a bunch of guys crossing the street wore the same thing and I was in awe.
Upon arriving in Shinjuku, we took a cab going to Nakano-shimbashi where I lived for a month and 2 weeks. The cab was so different from what we have in Manila simply because the driver's seat is on the left side. Plus, the cab drivers are so polite, they give receipt after you pay and yes, NO TIPS REQUIRED.
Nakano-shimbashi at 9PM. It was so cold. Probably the coldest I have experienced since I went out of Manila ofcourse. We walked in the street of Nakano-shimbashi and Nick showed me places where I can buy food and water and the train station I need to take going to work. Finally, after the short tour, we arrived at the Sakura House. It was so neat and beautiful for an apartment. I got my own room and the house unit has a clean kitchen and 4 bathrooms ( bathing and urinal rooms are separate and well, separate for girls and boys too ). One thing that made me smile when I got in my room is the fact that I was expecting to sleep Japanese style, tatami mats. But, I got a nice comfy bed instead! WOOOOOWWWWW. Happiness! :)
I woke up early the following morning since I had to go to work. I have never experienced riding a train and my first time to take one going to work ( Nakano-shimbashi-- Akasaka-mitsuke-- Tameike-sanno or another option is Nakano-shimbashi-- Nakano-sakaue-- Akasaka-mitsuke - Tameike-sanno ). Train was very crowded since it is the main means of transportation in the country. But I can say that having tried that was a really "japanese" experience!
When I got to work, I was pretty nervous since I am the only one who belongs to the 5th floor. The rest of the Filipinos sent there for a business trip were on the 4th floor. So, with a smile, I went up and finally met everybody! Some of them know me from Facebook because I have added them in the past. It was great! I finally knew the people from the company website. And the feeling was like " Oh... this is how he/she is like in person. "
In Japan, I didn't just work. Of course, I had the chance to go to different places. Some places I went to were Kamakura-- saw the huge Buddha there! ; Odaiba -- saw the huge Gundam Wing Robot & AgeHa ; Daikanyama -- went to Cafe Michael Angelo and Hacienda del Cielo ; Harajuku -- shopping street!!! ; Omotesando -- Asahi Super Cold, Super Dry beer place, Abercrombie&Fitch and also Suzu Cafe ; Ginza-- Aoyama -- brunch at Two Rooms ; Shinjuku -- H&M, Forever 21, IOIO ( Marui ) , Kirin City for frozen beer , Din Tai Fung, Daidaya and the freakin' Lock Up place ; Ropponggi Hills -- Mori Tower , Ropponggi -- Feria & Chinese Cafe Eight , Chiba -- Huge Outlet Mall! ; Shibuya -- Hachiko and the famous crossing. I also attended Ken's kendo class. Imagine all those places! Those are only some of the places I've been to. Imagine the food I ate in those places too. I just love it!
Also, it's so nice to walk around Tokyo on a weekend just to observe people because everybody's so fashionable. They are not afraid to look different which is the normal fear of Filipinos. We just want to blend with everybody whereas people in Tokyo.. it's like everybody wants to stand out. Heels, shorts, hats... everything is so fancy and fab! I also did a bit of shopping specially in Harajuku and the surrounding streets. H&M became my favorite. I went to 2 stores of H&M in different locations.
When it comes to food, I can say that the best part of eating in Tokyo is that they only serve fresh food. Fresh as in fresh. Not pretending to be fresh. I have never enjoyed vegetable salad in my life until I got there ( I'm so sorry Sonja's Garden ). Also, they serve the best tempura, takoyaki, sushi, sashimi and sandwhiches. Convenience stores have a wide selection of cold coffee and chocolates that I enjoyed everyday during my stay. 711 has great rice meals which indicates the carbohydrate content of the meal so if you are on a diet, it's no problem at all. I think it's because most people in Japan are conscious of their figure.
Actually, you seldom see obese people there.
What's Tokyo experience without clubbing? Of course!!! You know me. I partied at Blue Live in Korean Town, I also went to AgeHa and Feria. Although I was "culture shocked" with the clubbing scene, I don't think it's something negative. It was actually so much fun! Music were in English ( except Blue Live ) and I know most of the songs. People dance really wild ( which I seldom see here in Manila because when i go to Republiq, although people dance, it looked more of a sway-sway, head nodding to the rhythm and arms pumping type ) like jumping, hugging while jumping and yes, some didn't care if they were out of tune or stepping on somebodyelse's foot--> I am a victim. Ouch. hahaha!
I want to go back to Japan and stay longer. I want to relocate. When I was there, I felt so independent. Yes, I did miss my family a lot but I also learned so many things during my stay. Their culture, a bit of their language and personally, I learned to look after myself because I don't want to disappoint my Mom. I kept on thinking that if something ever happens to me there, how's my Mom supposed to know right? So, even if it didn't look like it, I watched what I ate, I made sure I got home on time and drank moderately. As well, I learned to schedule household chores which I don't usually do here in the PH.
From the time I got there, there was this feeling in my heart that I am meant to be there. I can imagine myself living a life in Tokyo. It's such a nice place and thinking about it makes me feel a shiver run up my spine. I'm inlove with it.
I would really recommend visiting Tokyo. It's one of the greatest places to go to. And, not to forget that it's so safe there. No robbers at all. People are always polite and honest. Where else would you rather be than in a place as great as that? :)
|Hacienda del Cielo in Daikanyama|
|Mori Tower in Ropponggi Hills|
|Ropponggi during the Press Room Event|
|Two Rooms in Aoyama|