Hong Kong was beautiful, exciting, eventful and fun. I will miss that wonderful city and country, I will be back! As my adventure is coming to an end, I have one more stop to make. A quick stop in Tokyo to visit not only Japan, but some close family I have there as well! A fantastic way to end a great adventure.
Upon arriving in Tokyo, it is evident that this city gets travellers from all over the world. The welcome signs consist of many languages, including many that I can speak or read – Farsi, Arabic, English, and Spanish!
I was met by an eager group of children that were long awaiting my arrival. My cousins all ran up to me and instantly wanted pictures and to take my bags and carry them around, in addition to all my gadgets and tech that I had – they wanted to play with and record on!
After long travels, letting energetic children carry my bags was nice, until they realized how heavy the bags actually are and when they were falling backwards and seeing that they could fit INSIDE the bag, I was re-recruited into carrying by bags, ah, the life of adventure!
The welcome crew!
Yes, that bag is as big as you! Keep it up buddy, I lugged it all over Asia!
I arrived late in the evening, tired and hungry. I had 24 hours to eat, sleep, shower, explore and leave Tokyo – yes, 24 hours – in and out!
When I started my travels I knew I was somewhat of a picky eater with what I’m willing to try. When travelling in multiple countries that consume food that that unlike the food in America, and I grew up with Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food/palate, Asian cuisine was a challenge for me. I forcefully expanded my palate every once in a while, as I had no other choice. Japan was no different. First stop for us on the way to my cousins place was to get food. The kids happily took me around to show me and tell me what each item consisted of ingredient-wise. I settled on a Samgak-kimbap – a triangle seaweed wrapped compilation of salmon or tuna and rice. It was quite good and would highly recommend one! The wrapping it had was very ingenious as well. The way it opens up is designed to keep the food in one piece as well as to be able to keep your fingers clean! Don’t just tear into it like I almost tried to do before I was quickly stopped by “those that know”. Study the package and peel it open!
Late night/early morning dinner!
Japan is full of history, neat things, extremely fine architecture and craftsmanship. Their rich history is well known with the Samurai warriors and Ninja fighters. Even today these are well respected arts and knowledge. Little known fact about the straw mats that many Japanese homes have were actually designed and laid down strategically. They have a “grain” or “direction” that they run, and walking with the grain, you can walk silently, but if you want perpendicular to the grain or direction of the mat, it is nearly impossible to be silent! This was a security feature that was used in ancient times to protect against Ninja attacks – the Ninja would have a challenge moving swiftly and quietly without being detected because of these mats! Next time you see Japanese straw mats, pay attention to the sound that is developed depending on the direction you walk on them!
This ancient “security” feature is simple yet effective!
So I can’t stay up all night and conversate with people – well, I could but shouldn’t, so off to bed we all go and plan an early rise to check out the city on my quick pitstop in Tokyo. First stop is the Tokyo Skytree. This is the tallest radio tower in Tokyo as well as Japan – over 2,000 feet tall, and from the top you can see for hundreds of miles in all directions! It is the tallest “tower” in the world, not structure! Its a beautiful site to see. For visitors it is a must see – especially if you are blessed with a clear day!
Yea, its tall alright!
I thought Japan was an island, Tokyo is HUGE! It never stops!
She special requested a personal picture, and I can’t say no to her!
And the whole crew!
My signature jump drew quite the crowd as I was having the taken. I had multiple visitors taking my pictures at the same time!
We finished up at the tower and continued to go see a temple – the Asakusa Temple/Senso-ji Temple. The ancient temple is one of the most popular temples in all of Tokyo. Surrounded by markets full of trinkets, goods, desserts and food, you wont leave without getting your fair share of excitement and shopping. Try some bean ice cream, fried desserts and make yourself some Okonomiyaki, or a Japanese Savoury “pancake” that consists of various vegetables with the options to add meats or seafood into it. With a wide array of options, it is a great choice for anyone who is on a particular diet or concerned with what they may be ingesting!
The temple has many amazing architectural designs and features. Also are some very cool pieces on display, for me the most notable piece is a pair of straw sandals that were made by 800 people over the course of a month and weight in at over 2500 kilograms! They were donated to the Senso-ji. They are a charm against evil and a wishing for being goodwalkers.
Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa!
It’s only a “little” busy
How high can you go! Up up and away!
Here is one of the two sandals – 4.5M in length and together they weigh 2500 KILOGRAMS! Must be quite the giant living in these parts! Bigfoot? Sasquatch? hmm…
Okonomiyaki – you get your own griddle to cook your own dish! Be your own Hibachi!
And create great food and amazing memories along the way!
With all this excitement and fun happening, we are losing track of time and it is getting close to the time for me to say goodbyes and venture on back home as this trip is quickly coming to a close. We make our way over to the train station to jump on the rails and quickly head to the airport. The nice thing about Tokyo’s train system is that it is extremely punctual – with an average annual delay time of 0.6 minutes! I wonder how they are so punctual and in the states we wait 30 minutes for a bus that was supposed to come 40 minutes ago! Props to them for being on the ball!
On the way to the train station I saw these taxi/buggy carts being pulled by people – just like in older times where people would get taxied around in carts, they continue the tradition today! Super cool!
Hire yourself a “runner!”
And experience being surrounded by cars while being pulled by a runner, heat+running=great exercise!
At the airport we run into this fluff ball and take a final farewell photo. Well, my adventure has ended, this crew will be jumping back to the states soon enough once their trip is over as well – see everyone on the other side of the Pacific!
To my cousins and relatives; Rie, Andreas, Mattias, Johannes and Marlena – Thank you for a fantastic time and a very memorable experience in Tokyo – it was short lived but full of laughs and love! I will spend more than 24hrs with you next time!
Videos of this trip will be posted over the next few weeks with links and updates on this blog. Youtube will be hosting the videos as well – so be sure to check them out for highlights and summaries! This is one of many more world tours to be taken. I look forward to going on my next one and sharing my story with everyone! I have now arrived home, cleaned up to no longer am a wandering nomad through this beautiful earth we all reside. Until next time, Cheers!