Japan, Part 2.1 (In Which We Went Back)

So recently I wrote about the trip we took to Japan last year. I don’t mean to brag, but now I’m going to tell you about our second trip to Japan. Like, in the same year we went. Guys, I think I’m getting the hang of this blogging business! Pretty soon I’ll be posting about things the same month they happen! But not yet. Baby steps.

As I mentioned in my last post, my sister came for a visit which coincided with my summer vacation. We decided to go to Japan a) because after the first trip I knew I wanted to spend more time there, b) because the whole time I was there I kept thinking, “Gee, I super wish my sister was here,” and c) because baby gets what baby wants. We decided to act like grown ups and used Air BnB instead of looking for hostels. It was our first time and it was a (mostly) pleasant experience. Except when goods are not as advertised, and you still end up in a hostel. That has no central air conditioning. So the minute you leave your room to, say, go to the bathroom or shower, you sweat your ass off. Because Japan is hotter than Satan’s sauna in the summer. Consider yourself warned.

We spent the first few days of our trip in Tokyo. Our Air BnB/hostel was in a new and (from what I’ve read) up and coming area of Tokyo called Shimokitazawa. It was a cute area, with lots of funky little shops we enjoyed exploring. Some places we explored twice because it’s a bit of a labyrinth and none of us are super great with direction or reading Japanese. We spent most of our time in Tokyo revisiting places from our first trip that I really wanted my sister to see, or sometimes just doing it properly (I’m looking at you, Meiji Jingu). We went back to Sensoji, which is still one of the coolest experiences for me. I bought ALL THE KOKESHI DOLLS. And even got my sister started on them. (I’ve always been a bad influence). Then we wandered around the Asakusa area, which seemed to have lost some of it’s luster since the first trip. Probably because we didn’t have that fresh-off-the-plane wonder in our eyes anymore. One evening we made our way to Tokyo Sky Tree, which didn’t seem that cool to me before we got there. But then we got there and it was SO COOL. I highly recommend going at night. It wasn’t super crowded, and the glowing purple of the tower looks stunning against the night sky. It’s all about the photo ops, guys (pics or it didn’t happen!). The elevators to the first observation deck are seasonally themed, and I super appreciate their lack of windows. I’m not one for being high up. The ones that go to the second observation deck, however, were trying to give me a heart attack. So I kept my eyes on the ceiling. Which also had a window. But it had a bright blue light lighting up the interior of the elevator shaft and that was pretty rad.

We also went back to Meiji Jingu and actually made it to the temple this time. It was kind of embarrassing how close we were last time, without actually making it. But totally worth it to see the kid with the backpack that looked like a decapitated lion. Then we made our way to the nearby Harajuku, which I had been dying to show my sister. She seemed…underwhelmed. She can be a hard sell. But we did discover that if you go to the end and cross the street, there’s a whole other street of shops to see. It seemed a bit higher end than Takashita dori. We discovered a quirky sticker shop call B-Side Label that has hundreds of originally designed stickers and other merchandise. I highly recommend popping in if you’re in the area. I got an awesome tote with a bunch of cute robots on it and it says, ” Biginning of the End.” I liked it until I saw the typo. Then I loved it.

We ate lots and lots of ramen and sushi which, despite the monotony, delighted my taste buds. We even went back to our favorite sushi joint at La La Terrace and made an even bigger mountain of plates! We popped by the Daiso in the same shopping center because Japanese Daiso > Korean Daiso. We intended to cram a bit more into our time in Tokyo than we actually did, but our plans were thwarted by the heat (and a little bit by laziness). And then we were off to Kyoto!

Check out more photos from our trip here.

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