Taking in Tokyo

Tokyo left me mind blown. This huge, bustling metropolis is like Seoul’s big brother. The fusion of old and new, the crazy lights, arcades and shops and of course the food; this city seemed to have it all. Over our three days there we were often left amazed and speechless, whether it was over an architectural feat, the skill of the lads in the arcade or a sushi dish.

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We landed on Thursday afternoon and navigated our way through the metro maze to our airB&B. Very small, but with everything we needed to sleep, shower and make breakfast in the morning. Space in Tokyo really must be valuable. We were only a twenty minute walk from Shinjuku and headed there in search of something to eat. Amongst the narrow streets of Golden Gai we found Nagi Ramen, which looked like it would be heaving in the evening but in the late afternoon had two seats at the small bar for us to sit and eat at. Our first dish of the trip left us more than satisfied and hoping that all our meals from then on would be the same. We watched the chef in front of us make our noodles from scratch and put everything together. The unique twist was the dried baby sardines which left the noodles with a delicious fishy taste. With only about 8 customers able to fit into this tiny restaurant at one time the atmosphere was wonderfully intimate and felt pretty authentic with the Japanese guy next to us loudly slurping up his noodles!

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We took the metro to Shibuya and found ourselves on the infamous Shibuya crossing along with hundreds of others waiting to cross at all directions. When the green light appeared a slightly organised chaos descended onto the road as people came towards each other from all angles, trying to get to the other side. Despite a manic cluster of people in the middle, people avoided bumping into each other with a bit of nimbleness. Watching the madness unfold from the Starbucks that looked onto the crossing was almost addictive. We watched the people slowly accumulate on the pavements, waiting until they were able to descend into the disorder of crossing before making it to the other side.

We wandered around the streets of Shibuya, dipping in and out of some of the shops that were stacked on top of each other, with only their neon signs letting those who looked up know they were there. That is one thing I have learnt from living in Seoul- always look up. The first and second floors almost always have as many shops and restaurants as the ground floor. We ogled at beauty products we had never heard of, admired beautifully made cards and crafts and were left slightly overwhelmed by the ginormous Don Quijote stores that seemed to stock everything you could possibly need.  We knew the next couple of days were going to be fabulous.

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