Hard-to-describe Tokyo

I’ve wanted to visit Japan for several years, and it’s been a rewarding place to discover.  Trying to figure out ways around the language barrier, making my way all over Kyoto and Tokyo using transit, and experiencing the culture (history, religion, food) will leave me with a lot to remember.

The big lens to remember is that it’s been really warm.  Often I’ve checked and it will say “feels like 95.”  Today when I used hand sanitizer after getting of the subway, it wouldn’t evaporate.  So I haven’t been roaming as much as I’d like, and when I’m out it’s a battle to not feel like you’re going to pass out.

It’s also really the only country I’ve visited where a lot of the time I felt really inside my comfort zone.  Paris is a lot different than Seattle, but that’s part of the reason why I love it.  Japan is clearly very Westernized, and English is commonly written next to Japanese on signs.  So that’s part, or a lot of it.

Walking the streets reminds me of home too.  A lot of nice people going about their business, but you don’t see much interaction.  People describe Seattle’s residents as cold (we aren’t), but I can see now how you could get that impression.

I could also see us enjoy living here (not going to, but it’s a test in my mind after we visited Stockholm).

I don’t know, it’ll give me something to think about tomorrow over my two flights, 15 hours in the air.

What have I been doing?  A few things.  One of my favorite spots was the Senso-ji Temple.  It’s a beautiful campus and the buildings were stunning.  It was also Sunday, so there were a ton of people there and some sort of market was being setup.  There’s also a long shopping arcade that leads back from the main building.

The Tokyo National Museum was interesting, but no photos.  They had a nice archeological exhibit out, as well as a special exhibit with a huge line of people waiting in the heat.  Must have been good, but there was no way in hell I was going to find out.

My first hotel was in the Shinjuku area. Their shopping/nightlife/eating area was pretty shocking to stumble into and wander around.

Last night I went to a baseball game.  I speak baseball and had a blast.  Funny moment too when former Mariner Wladamir Balentin pinch hit for the home team Yakult Swallows.  He swung and missed on three straight.

Tonight I’ll get out and see the Shibyu area, and tomorrow morning I’m going back to the fish market as it was closed today (public holiday or something, not a good moment).

And from there I fly to Dubai for about 20 hours, before getting into Istanbul.

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