Japan | Tokyo: March 27-April 5, 2018

March 26, 2018

Got in this evening, and went right away to explore and grab dinner! So excited to be in Tokyo!

It was quite the trip getting to the apartment. We couldn't get wifi so we asked a group of young folk hanging outside the subway stop to look up the address to our apartment. They were quite helpful. Though Karthik found it a little strange when one of the guys asked if he could touch Karthik's hand to feel his skin!

Our apartment is super nice and in a great location. Yay!

March 27, 2018

Took the day off to recover from non-stop adventuring! Went for a quick walk to the Shinjuku Gyoen (park) so we could meet Ron and check out the Sakura, and were stunned by the Sakura in full bloom! Absolutely stunning.

March 28, 2018

Daibutsu Big Buddha, Kamakura

As we paid our admission, washed our hands, and turned the corner, the world slowed down. This bronze statue of the Daibutsu Buddha consumed us. Karthik's eyes welled up (he's always had some connection with the Buddha - not in a reverence of god or saint kind of way; but in a reverence of the simplicity, and humour, and peace, and wisdom kind of way). The Sakura of course added to the beauty.

We found a rock to sit on and just be. Even Kaelen understood that he needed to quell his need for chatting every second so that we may experience these moments in peace. Somehow the throngs of tourists washed away in the background. All that was there was the crispness of the spring air, the warmth of the sun, the beauty of the mountains, the hopefulness of the Sakura, and the peacefulness of this bronze Buddha statue.

Penny thought the statue almost felt alive - where the Buddha was sitting mindfully observing us all. Us making a big deal of things. Observing us and letting it go. Observing and letting go. The Buddha.The hour we spent there was worth the five hours we spent getting there and back. Isn't that why we travel? For those moments. The moments that move us.

March 29, 2018

Kawaguchiko, Fuji

Fujisan! An honour to be in the presence of this lonely mountain. Pictures we took are worthless compared to the actual views of this majestic place. We lucked out with good weather, though it was still hazy. Fujisan, with its symmetrical and conical shape let’s its presence known, and boy did we feel it. It became clear why it’s a pilgrimage site. As we said - it was an honour.

March 30, 2018

Chidoriga-fuchi

Another walk through the Sakura lined path as part of Tokyo’s most popular Sakura festival yesterday. Couldn’t stop “wowing” every 30 seconds. Seriously - it’s just beautiful here!

Then we headed to Akihabara.

From the beautiful to the obscene! One of Tokyo’s districts famous for its high geek content - gaming, electronics, anime, maid-cafes. Lost track of time here last night, obviously.

We started with the Gundam cafe, then found ourselves looking for a store so we can buy some warm clothes... chilly winds! While walking we found the Mario carts station. Only if we could go. But where would Kaelen wait for us?

Shopped at Don Quijote for a bit and met up with Ron to walk around. Went to one of the SEGA buildings and played some arcades. Karthik tried to drive a train, but couldn't understand the instructions in Japanese. Fun still.

Had a good dinner at an Italian restaurant, and headed home.

March 31, 2018

Harajuku

Walked into a sea of people in this trendy shopping area (Takeshita Street) that had shops for teen/vintage/hip/funky tastes. While we didn’t really buy much, it was interesting to get a glimpse of another side to this massive city!

Also, yummy crepes, random Pokémon raids, a crazy toy store and finally, a walk along the Rodeo drive of Tokyo (Omotesando) where designer shoe stores have their own DJs!

April 1, 2018

Yoyogi Park

Something different and unexpected. Read about the Spring Love Harukaze Music Festival going on this weekend, so decided to check it out. My we were pleasantly surprised! as soon as we walked in, the first stage was the "peace stage" playing Japanese reggae (the musician Takera Anbassa) who even threw in the odd Bob Marley in his lyrics. Surrounded by chill people jamming, we felt right at home! It was truly awesome.

Back to Shibuya to meet up with Ron. Another of Tokyo’s “packed with people” neighbourhoods but on steroids! Lotsa neat bars, cafes, buildings, truly overwhelming! Karthik took Kaelen to an underground manga (Japanese comic) shop that was five flights of stairs down and was a warehouse of comics and collectibles.

And had some hot ramen from a ramen bar where you pick the ingredients and they add boiling water! And of course, the infamous Shibuya crossing where a million people pass through each day! Can’t capture it in pics. And the story of Hachikō the dog immortalized by the statue at Shibuya Station captured Kaelen’s heart.

Man... what a city!

April 2, 2018

Shibuya Crossing

Mommy and munchkin Pokémon Go Raiding this morning, at the busiest intersection in the world!

And more Pokémon-ing in the evening around Shibuya, seeing all these people (not as young as one would expect, and from all walks of life) standing around and joining in the “raids” to catch the legendary Pokémon.

April 3, 2018

Nerima

Took a cab this time so we can see what's above ground! Mega Pokémon Center! The entrance to the Sunshine City had an awesome miniature hillside village. It probably looks awesome at night with all the fairy lights. The Pokémon store itself had tons of items one would go crazy over, however our munchkin preferred only the Pokémon cards. Phew, that was a ton of savings!

Tokyo City View Rappongi

Decided to skip going up the Tokyo tower or the Tokyo sky tree. Instead checked out the views from the Mori tower in the upscale Roppongi Hills. Great views from the sky deck (no glass)!

This city sprawls without an end in sight (our measly phone cameras were useless to capture the sights). Insane! Hard to imagine a bigger metropolis or a collection of humans on earth.

April 4, 2018

Taito-ku

An awesome surprise for Kaelen - bonding with daddy over some Samurai experience! They were both wearing their Samurai print shirts that invited quite a few nods and a conversation on the train. Love these two!!

Sensoji Temple Asakusa Kannon-Do

Then we headed to the oldest shrine in Tokyo and a good departure from modern Tokyo before leaving! Loved the golden topped pagoda and the views of the Skytree to contrast old and new! Neat market street lining the way to the temple as well.

Kabukicho

Really crazy nightlife here in Shinjuku! An absolutely delicious dinner and stayed up till midnight with the munchkin and Ron exploring the alleys and holes in the wall bars and eateries of this unique district in Shinjuku! Felt like a different city for the time we were there. So busy even on a Wednesday! Even did some Pokémon and met some die hard gamers (one even had five phones!) Man, we love Tokyo! Thank you Ron San.

April 5, 2018

Woke up early this morning, it being our last morning in Tokyo this time around (hehe). Headed to Shibuya, Pokémon-ed successfully finally, checked out the quietness of the City Center, which was ice, walked, explored, discovered a park, and headed back to the apartment to check out. Loved it.

Off we go, back home. But we can defnitely say, we hope to be back, Japan! You are the only country we have felt this way about. Arigato Gozaimasu!

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