Tokyo – Arrival and Day 1

13 hours on a plane is a hellishly long time.  There’s really nothing else to it.  Luckily I didn’t have anyone sitting next to me, but that only made it marginally better.  I arrived in Tokyo at 4:30pm local time on Friday, November 2nd. The first night consisted of heading to the hostel, grabbing some food from the grocery store around the corner, and falling into bed. The real fun started the next morning.

After walking down the Sumida river to get a closer look at the new Tokyo Sky Tree…

…I headed down to Meiji Shrine.  It just so happened that I arrived just in time for the last day of a festival celebrating the Emperor Meiji’s birthday.  While I missed the days of dancing and theater, I got to see the yabusame, aka horseback archery.

I then walked around Shibuya

Hachiko- the beloved loyal dog who waited every night for 12 years at Shibuya station for his owner, who had passed away at work one day

And fell in love with the architecture in Shinjuku

Pachinko parlors were EVERYWHERE in all the districts

*Pachinko parlors – as noted in the caption, these establishments were everywhere in practically every district and city I went to.  From what I gathered, it’s like pinball, but requires less skill, and since gambling for money is illegal, you win a prize which you then take to a shop around the corner to exchange for money. I considered trying it, but they have an indoor smoking area which does very little to contain the smoke, so I lasted all of about 2 minutes walking through one before I needed to get out into the fresh air.

Food of the Day:

*Brief disclaimer:  I ate breakfast and dinner at the hostel (usually consisting of fruit for breakfast and a microwaved cheese and veggie sandwich for dinner), so everything here is going to be lunch and snacks.  I tried my best to eat like a local and only failed on 2 days – today being one of them.  I caved and got street fair spaghetti in Shibuya, hence no picture.

Monjya-mon: beef filled steamed bun

Milk Tea- basically milk and sugar with a little tea flavor

Vending machines were also everywhere – a little research revealed that Japan has 1 vending machine for every 23 people.  I made it my mission to try something new every day, although some days that just consisted of trying the same drink by a different brand.  Even considering that I don’t drink soda, energy drinks, or straight coffee, I had plenty of options.

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