Spending a week in Japan felt like a vacation from our vacation. (Much thanks to my awesome friend, Auhona, who let us stay with her and showed us the best spots around town!).
Japan was the most positively unique place we have been yet. Everywhere else we have visited, no matter how far or different from home still had traces of the American way of life we are accustomed to. Tokyo was entirely different in so many ways.
… People are extremely polite and soft spoken. There were numerous times we were at the train station during the day with many people around and noticed we were the ONLY ones talking loud enough to hear outside a 2 foot radius. Courtesy seems to be a part of their culture. See this actual posted sign we saw on a train.
… The whole country (at least as much as we saw) was so incredibly clean. It was like walking down a movie set of a big city…. Or the streets inside Disney World. There was ZERO litter on the street, or on the trains, or at the train stations, or the parks. Oddly, there were also almost no trash cans in public places.
… In general the Japanese seem to be a very trendy and materialistic people. Both men and women are always dressed in the latest fashion. Most men carry purses. I’ve never seen so many high fashion stores in once city. Everyone seemed to have the latest phones. It was not uncommon to be on a train with 50+ people and see every single person with their head down, playing on their phones.
… Many things that seem weird to us are the norm in Tokyo. We saw women dressed in costumes that make them look like anime characters. We saw a pet monkey on a leash. We ate sushi that we ordered on an iPad, then came served on a conveyer belt. See here. We also went to a robot show dinner... None of the pictures we took do justice to just how weird it was.
… There is no tipping whatsoever. It is actually considered rude or disrespectful to tip. Ironically we had the best service we’ve had anywhere.
… The food was fabulously weird… And delicious!
The best way to appreciate Tokyo’s massive size is to head to the top of one of the towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Entry was free and the views were amazing.
One of the beautiful sunny days we were in Japan we left the busy city behind and took a couple hour train ride to the Yoshino Baigo Plum Festival.
Just when we thought Japan could not get any more awesome…. It did. More on our incredibly lavish and astonishingly affordable snowboarding trip next!