Japan 2019 Day 1

June 19, 2019

The first day of my trip to Japan with Joel is over! And it’s been a long one - 31 hours total.

The trip to Japan itself took the biggest part of the day, one hour between London and Paris (departing from Heathrow Terminal 4, the most sparsely populated terminal I can imagine), four and a half hours of layover, and another twelve odd hours between Paris and Tokyo. When you factor in the airport security scans, etc. it adds up to a lot of time in transit. Fortunately, the layover was broken up by some Super Smash Bros. and the first flight was harmless enough to hardly matter. Unfortunately, the twelve hour flight was a little less comfortable. I’d purposely stayed up late the night prior to try and make me tired enough to need sleep and I took a sleeping tablet to seal the deal but after an initial 30 minutes of rest between boarding and some point after takeoff I only managed to grab moments of sleep here and there. I’m not sure if the lack of success was mainly due to the fact economy is just not conducive to sleep or the guy next to me who kept knocking into me. Either way on the return journey time I’ll try and get a good measure of films in before trying to nap.

Tokyo itself is lively - in a way that London isn’t. Whereas London feels like an overcrowded melting pot of cultures, Tokyo feels very uniform. The males all seem to wear variations of the same clothing and from the glimpses I’ve had on my first day it’d be hard to suggest Tokyo was overcrowded. I’ve found myself fascinated by the size of establishments which generally are small and seat anywhere between a small handful to a few tables worth of people.

You can see the Sky Tree - Tokyo's tallest landmark from near where we're staying
You can see the Sky Tree - Tokyo's tallest landmark from near where we're staying

As our AirBnB is in Asakusa we started exploring there - we found a 100 Yen shop, the equivalent of a Poundland, a 7-11, and a FamilyMart where we grabbed some chicken on a stick. From there we accidentally stumbled across Sensoji Temple. A Instagram hot spot and popular tourist destination. I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed, it felt like a lot of the art and statues surrounding the main temple had been imported. It was definitely an enjoyable place to wander around though - but not impressive enough to make it worth crossing the world for!

After that we wandered over to the Unero district’s park which is less green than Joel or I imagined. It did have a cool shrine in the centre though and we whiled away half an hour as we waited for our friends Alice and Dan to join us. They took us to a cool local noodle restaurant where we made a fool of ourselves trying to eat with chopsticks. In the end I got the hang of it but I did get a lot of soup down me.

Finally to round off the night we found an “Irish Bar” to grab a drink in, Alice - who’s in Japan for a few months as part of her degree, recommended a drink, Highball. The bar claimed it was authentically Irish but it is actually a Japanese invention - whisky with mixer.

Alice, Dan, Joel, and I outside The World End's Irish Bar
Alice, Dan, Joel, and I outside The World End's Irish Bar

All in all the first day was definitely a success. The upfront planning around getting a Pocket WiFi and where to get cash out definitely panned out and without either cash or WiFi I think it’s fair to say we’d have been lost.

Tomorrow, karaoke with Alice and Dan is on the cards as well as a trip to the Rainbow Bridge, Shibuya, and possibly Akihabara. We’ll see how it all pans out.

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Last Updated: 2019-06-20 23:30