I don’t know about you guys but I find it interesting that when you travel, you see things totally different to how locals do. It’s especially perplexing every time I visit Tokyo and see things that you can’t find in London and wonder why we can’t have those! And usually those things are just part of the Japanese norm, you know – clean trains, electric toilets and 7Elevens! The locals might even find it strange that i’m taking photos of bottle crates, vending machines and multi-coloured taxi cabs… But if everywhere was the same then nothing is special isn’t it? I think it is part due to the respectful and dutiful nature of the Japanese people as well as their mission to make everyday life as convenient as can be that makes for a pleasant trip for outsiders that visit the country.
To answer the question; why do I love to travel?, it’s because those little things we overlook in our city is what makes places like Tokyo amazing. Don’t they say that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure? Or something like that. Now on the topic of rubbish, what I noticed in Tokyo is that there are hardly any rubbish bins on the streets and yet it’s still 90% more cleaner there than in most cities in the world. And that’s because of the theory that people will litter less if there aren’t bins nearby. Seems a little backwards but its better than bins getting filled to the brim and wind blowing the rubbish all over the place, causing more mess.
Apart from the cleanliness theres another aspect of Japanese life that I love and thats all based around aesthetic of course. I don’t know why, but everything; big or small looks so aesthetically pleasing, especially for
those hunters of the ordinary. From the wires that hang over the city streets, to the multi-coloured milk crates that are picked up every morning and those bright neon signs that light up the night; everything in the city of Tokyo is made to draw you into it’s captivating visage.
I spent a lot of time walking around the Eastern parts of Tokyo like Ueno, Asakusa and Kinshicho looking for these “super-ordinary” things. It was in the residential areas of Kinshicho that I felt had less ‘wow’ than other parts of Tokyo, but was still quite interesting to walk about in with its maze of charming streets filled with local restaurants and corrugated metal workshops. But my most favourite spot is Asakusa, home to one of the city’s most beautiful temple structures; Senso-ji Temple and it’s adjoining streets and arcades. In these streets you can find anything from traditional Japanese Kintsuba (sweets), craftwork, street food and even take part in some indigo-dying or plastic food making workshops. If you’re looking to get away for a bit, then maybe head to Ueno Park for a stroll around the Zoo or various museums and ponds then have lunch at Ameya-Yokocho for some fresh seafood and street food delicacies. If you’re more into the night life you can head on West to Shinjuku after dark for the ultimate pub-crawl at Golden Gai or Omoide Yokocho for a more authentic dining experience amongst the locals. There are a lot of strange themed bars and clubs around Kabukicho including a must-see attraction, the Robot Restaurant. If you could imagine Mad Max inclosed in a dark room with lasers and large animatronic dinosaurs. That’s what this particular restaurant is about. But anyway this blog isn’t much a comprehensive to-do list, but more of a why you should you visit Tokyo blog so i’ll get back to that!
Now, Tokyo, or Japan in general is a place which will change your whole perspective on the world. It’s a pretty big statement I know. But its true. There hasn’t been a place i’ve been that has been more welcoming to foreigners that after only a few days, you feel like you’re at home. And even with that, there are many things, an endless amount of things that will still captivate you and keep you wanting more. And those “super ordinary” things I’ve been on about this whole blog, I promise you, you will not get bored of seeing and that you’ll actually miss, when you’re back home. Theres no amount of writing and images that I can show you that will truly describe the experience of being in Japan. You just have to go yourself.