10 things I love about Tokyo… from our first 5 days

18 May

So 10 things huh?

Um, well, I’ll be honest and say I could do
a post called 1000 things I love about Tokyo.

And that’s before I get into Kyoto, Nara and Miyajima.

(Of course, I’d be here from now until next year
putting it together… and it would be a very long post!)

So here’s 10 random things from our first 5 days
that I fricking adore the hell out of Tokyo for…
you crazy, serene, neon, crowded, uber cute city!


1. Saying hello (and kawaii a lot)
Last time we were in Japan, we were bewildered,
awed and sort of just overcome with the whole place.
And I was quite shy about trying out my Japanese.

This time, I got brave and when we went into
little shops, cafes, nice places… well
I found myself chatting away.

Of course I was mainly saying yes, hello,
kawaii and goodbye… but turns out
that’s almost all I needed!

2. The buses…

Yes there’s not many places
you can say that you love their buses
but the Tokyo buses are so kawaii!

3. Vending machines

Beer, hot green tea, espressos…
you can get all these things from
a Japanese vending machine.

Then we discovered that there were
banana vending machines too
and it somehow became a bit of
an epic quest that we had to find one!

Honestly we were so impressed with ourselves
when we finally found one… all for a banana!

4. The parks…

All the guide books tell you to go to Yoyogi Park
to see the Harajuku girls doing their thing…
but once inside the park, things get more interesting.

There’s people painting, busking, weaving
and oh yes have a rockabilly dance-off!

Head to Inokashira Park and you’ll find
blossom trees and uber cute swan boats!

5. Cats in baskets…

Look closely at the picture below
there are actually two cats in that basket!

Um, yeah, so you can take your cats for a stroll here…
in a basket… and then give them to
random, bemused strangers to hold.

The owner of the cats also gave us a free calendar
showing the cats in a supermarket,
at the beach, going for a stroll…

6. Naps… on the train

Everyone seems to work such long hours in Japan
that they catch up on their sleep on while commuting.

For the first week in Japan I found myself
awake during the night (I think I was being
a dweeb and being too excited about the next day)
so napping on the train seemed like the thing to do!

6. The Studio Ghibli Museum

I love Studio Ghibli movies so this was a must-visit.
The tickets have to be bought from a specific convenience
store from a machine that’s only in Japanese… a challenge!

Oh but it was so worth it. The adult catbus was so furry
and snuggly inside that I could have stayed for a snooze.

7. Crafty fun

So normal department stores I’m not really fussed about…
Japanese ones however are entirely different matter.
Especially ones that have a whole section devoted to
Japanese washi tape… and check out that floor!
(Isn’t that the most beautiful painted floor ever?)

We went to lots of crafty,vintage and just damn cute places…
I’m writing a feature on them for a magazine at the moment
so I’ll tell you about all of them later. (Or buy the mag of course!)

While doing a little Japan research, I realised that
Hello Sandwich had a crafty class on when we were there.

So I dropped Ebony a line to ask if we could come along…

It was so much fun… creating photo collages of our
digital pictures. Every 2 minutes someone in the class
would say kawaii at what someone else was doing.

It was also the first time I sat still for 2 hours
in the time we’d in Tokyo. Was a good rest too!

8. Lost in Translation advertising

So Richard Gere is the face of Orangina,
Tommy Lee Jones is the ‘Coffee Boss’
and Jean Reno is the star of an ad
that sees him put on a little helicopter hat
and fly away… no idea what the product is.

But most of all, I adore the Japanese logos…

The cat carring a kitten is for a delivery firm.
The Hello Kitty is warning you not to trap
your finger in the bus door.
The egg… well, he’s advertising eggs.

And the drunk chick (possibly my favourite thing ever)
is to tell you can buy vending machine drinks
with your travel card. (I think!)

10. Snacks

Cheetos, popcorn and mini Doritos? Hell yeah.
Pressed peanut butter sandwiches… with a peanut on them? Yup.

The food in Japan is amazing (more on that later)
but their snacks are pretty supreme too
and of course the packaging helps!

Ok, that’s my 10 random things…
I’ve actually missed out so much here
that it makes my head spin.

If you’re thinking of going to Japan,
just go… you won’t be sorry!

Next Japan post: wild tame deer,
temples and shrines… and eh, me
dressed as a Geisha! Yes really!

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