Travel log: Trials and tribulations in Tokyo
I made it to Tokyo!! I flew Korean Air and it was the most awesome flight I’ve ever had. They give you a bag that has a toothbrush and slippers, bring you juice every couple of hours and 2 meals were included. They were decent and they even had vegan butter.
The first thing I noticed while taking the train to my first couch surfers house is that everything is petite in Japan. How perfect for me! All the house, apartment buildings and cars are squished. It’s very beautiful here but not many signs are in English and a few people I stopped on the sidewalk for directions did not speak English. I couldn’t figure out how to use the ATM. I regret not getting Yen at the airport because I have no money to buy anything. The McDonald’s was suppose to have free internet, but the signal here is not strong. I need to let Alisa know where I am since I don’t have a cell phone. I might have to be brave and ask if I can borrow someone’s. She won’t be off work for another hour, so I hope McD’s doesn’t mind me hanging out. It smells in here though so I may have to move!
The second thing I noticed is that I have way too much in my backpack. It’s killing me. I don’t know if I can downsize anything, I packed light as it is, but it hurts just walking down the block. With all the moving around I’ll be doing a heavy backpack is going to cause me much stress. I’m thinking I should have brought something with wheels. I wonder if I can get wheels put on this backpack!
My adorable couch surf Alisa arrives at McD’s. I’ve never been so elated to see a stranger in my life! We walk about a half mile to her super swank condo, where she shows me my room (so little and adorable with a bed and a/c) and I get some water and relax on her couch. She decides to head to the market next door so I go with, and she checks all the packaged food for me to see if it has fish. All of it has dashi, which is a traditional Japanese broth made from kombu, shiitake, and bonito “fish flakes”. The damn green beans and Kinpira have dashi, so I settle for some delicious Inari.
We discuss my day for tomorrow. I’m going to need to leave at 8am when she goes to work because her condo is on lock-down needing a key card to get into every section of the building. She so kindly looks up some cool places for me to visit off the beaten path and I decide to go to Asakusa and Ueno park. I search HappyCow for the nearest vegan restaurants.
I slept great and already feel adjusted to the time change. It’s Wednesday, which means I lost a day in there. I’m watching the sunrise from the 26th floor of this super nice condo I’m couch surfing at. Super sweet. My head hurts though, and it’s SO hot in Japan it’s almost unbearable (thankfully a/c in the condo). It is amazing and overwhelming. I’m so pissed because I forgot my camera, so I may go buy one or I will try to make the HD video camera photo option work. I’ve never taken photos with it, but I will try today. It might be better to have only one gadget to deal with anyways!
I take my first shower in the Japanese style shower, which is a room with a separate tub. Basically the room is the shower, you don’t get into a shower stall or tub, there’s a big drain on the floor and the showerhead has 2 adjustments. You either sit while you shower or stand. After traveling for 15 hours and being awake for 22 straight hours it felt amazingly good to shower.
We leave the condo and the adventure begins. Guess what? It’s raining cats and dogs. Back upstairs we go so we can grab umbrellas and I can change into more appropriate raining weather clothing. I get to experience what I have only heard about, getting on the subway. Everyone pushes, gently of course, and pushes until you are packed in like sardines. It was kind of cozy, everyone sways together as the train moves. Since it was morning nobody smelled bad and since I’m average height here I didn’t have a bunch of armpits in my face 🙂
Alisa tells me what stop to exit and change to another line and we part ways for the day. I have 10 hours to kill before I meet her for dinner. Let the adventure begin!
Stay tuned for my day in the rain and reviews of three vegetarian/vegan cafes!