Well, I arrived in Tokyo yesterday, and I am already loving it. It is such a different place. I just can’t get over how quiet it is! Seriously. It is the most quiet, most clean city I have been to. It is a lot like New York City (big), but a lot cleaner and a lot nicer. People here give little bows and smile all the time. I love it.
And the little kids are all dressed up in these cute school uniforms (I’ll try to get a picture of that later), with hats and matching backpacks. It is simply adorable! The really cool thing is how safe it is. We were on the subway yesterday afternoon and I saw a litlte girl dressed up in her school uniform get on. I kept waiting for her parents to follow, but they never did! This was a little 6 or 7 year old girl riding the public transportation system all by herself. My sister says that is perfectly normal! I just couldn’t believe it.
Another funny thing about Japan is that a ton of people wear masks around. My sister says it is because if they are sick, they don’t want to get any one else sick, so they respectfully wear a mask in public to protect those around them. I think that is very interesting.
Here are some pictures from my first day here:
Here is my first view of Japan. Trust me. It was a very welcome sight after 10 hours on a plane, trapped in a little seat, unable to escape. I like how there are three different colors of water in this photo.
I saw a ton, but a TON of these squares on the way in, and I think they were rice fields, because they were kind of glistening in the sunlight. So cool. I saw some more up close on the train from the airport into the city (see below).
Okay. I know this is maybe a little strange, but I love, love, loved the toilets at the Narita Airport! They had nice, tall doors that closed tightly, and this nice, little shelf behind the toilet to hold your belongings. Every bathroom should be like this! Again, completely spotless!
I was walking down the international terminal and just couldn’t believe it when I saw a “Hello Kitty” plane. Completely cracked me up! Here is the other side:
Isn’t that awesome?! Armistead (the Brother-in-Law) says there is a Pokemon plane as well. Maybe I’ll see that one on the way home!
They use the British driving system here (drive on the left side of the road…wheels on the right side of the car), and that goes for their sidewalks as well…at home, you usually walk on the left and stand on the right, but it is backwards here. I thought that was cool!
So, here is my first Japanese food. I don’t remember what it was called, but it is a rice ball (in the shape of a triangle) with some salmon in the bottom corner, and then you wrap it in seaweed and eat it. It was pretty good! One of my friends from Hawaii makes these things, so I’d already had a little practice.
Look in the background of this photo: strawberry kit-kats!? Seriously. They are so so so delicious! I loved Kit-kats, and making them strawberry doesn’t hurt them in the slightest. Mmm, mmm good.
We also got this drink called Aquarius. It looks like water, but it is actually a really mild grapefruit / lemon / lime flavor. I loved it. So, so good. Apparently the Japanese like really mild flavors.
Here is a picture of the Rice Paddies up close. We were speeding by on the train, but I think this shot turned out pretty nice. Oh. Something funny about the train? It is just a typical light-rail into the city, but everyone has assigned seats. Kind of strange, but they observe their seat assignments! The train was nearly empty, and so I wasn’t in my assigned seat so I could instead sit next to my sister, and I had to move to let a woman sit in her assigned seat. Haha. It was funny. But it seems very Japanese…they like to follow regulations that are for the good of the group. I like that idea.
I love this picture. Harrison and Clara. Is that kid not the cutest?! Look at those chubby cheeks! He is the best baby I have ever encountered (sorry, Addie)! He is so mellow and calm. He did not mind in the slightest that some strange lady was holding him and carrying him around. He just kind of looked around. He was not-at-all particular about how I held him (inward, outward, or cradle-style), but just kind of chilled however. Apparently he was really acting up yesterday because he was so tired, but he was still the best behaved child I have ever met. And so cute!
I thought this was a cool building. Do you see at the top of the picture it is labeled as a “Green Building”? There is hedge growing on the side of the building! This was on the way to Tokyo Tower (see below!). I wonder if the hedge ever flowers? That would be so cool!
Here is where we went yesterday: Tokyo Tower. If you think it looks like the Eiffel Tower, you’re right! It is based on the Eiffel Tower, but bigger and painted red and white. It was pretty cool. We could only go halfway up, to the “Main Observatory” because the “Special Observatory” was closed for weather (it was pretty windy, so maybe that’s why?) It was still an awesome view.
Here is a little robot that kind of walks around by itself and talks about the tower. Let’s be honest: It’s a little creepy. Do you see it’s face on the screen? It has a kind of creepy high-pitched voice, and at one point said, “I’m going to go back to my re-charging station, now.” Haha. Very cool. Clara is laughing at it in the background.
I don’t remember what this is, but we’re going to see it tomorrow. It is a famous shrine with a lot of children sculptures too. I’ll show you pictures from ground level tomorrow! I like how you can see the shadow of Tokyo Tower on the left side of this photo.
Seriously though. How can you not just love this kid?!
Here is one of my first encounters with Engrish, right at Tokyo Tower. Funny.
Here is a little window you can stand on to feel like you’re just floating over the tower. This one wasn’t as cool as the next one…
…which was HUGE! Ok. Obviously I’m a little bit of a coward, but I’m proud I even dared stand here. Harrison on the other hand…
…Harrison had absolutely no fear! Look at that! Smiling in the face of very high places. So cute. ps. This just about killed his mother…but she wanted a photo!
Here’s a little more Engrish. I’m not really sure what this is supposed to mean…it was at a cafe in Tokyo Tower. I’m not sure if they’re saying they don’t sell dangerous goods, or if they didn’t want you to use any dangerous goods? Not sure, but gave me a chuckle.
Here is a Mango Sundae I got at the Cafe at Tokyo Tower. Sorry the lighting is so bad! We were watching the sun set, so it was very orange-ey up there! Seriously though, I love, love, loved the mango soft serve. And there were fresh mangoes on the bottom. Does it get any better?! I’m still not sure if that heart thing was edible or not, but I ate about half of it before I realized there was absolutely no flavor.
I just absolutely loved this poster! Is it not the prettiest advertisement for a tourist site you’ve ever seen? Love, love.
So, we just ate at the hotel last night (an American establishment), and I was just going to go with Spaghetti, because they were mostly just serving American food..and I love spaghetti. Seriously. It is an addiction. But I was telling Armistead about how since living in Puerto Rico I have become a lot more “daring and adventurous” with my food habits, so he wanted to challenge me with the calamari. Later, he retracted the challenge, deciding to use it at a more opportune moment (I imagine that will come at some point while we are in an actual Japanese restaurant), but I still decided to get the Calamari. It was pretty good. I little rubbery, I guess, but not in a bad way.
Armistead was disappointed that it didn’t come with eyes / tentacles. Hmm. Maybe later?
Well, that was my first afternoon in Japan. It was so fun! I look forward to seeing all the other awesome things there are to see!
ps. Would you try Calamari if you had the opportunity?