In Korea (and across large swathes of Asia) we've just had the annual autumn holiday known as Chuseok (Moon Festival in China). It's a three day event celebrating a good harvest and involving rituals of ancestor worship. It's one of the big holidays, and Seoul is pretty much deserted as Seoul-ites head back to their home villages for family feasting. The husband and I took the opportunity to head to Tokyo for three days (one of my favourite cities in the world and it's only just over two hours away!).
I've been to Tokyo a few times but I haven't really visited since actually living in Asia, so it was interesting to compare my experiences. The first time I went to Tokyo I was in a constant state of wonder - a great heaving noisy flashy city filled with all manner of inscrutable, foreign and just plain Japanese things. I loved the way the people were so polite and ordered and community minded, and yet at the same time so individual and extreme.
On this trip I guess there wasn't the same shock of the different, I live in a city where I don't understand most of what goes on around me (signage, language, customs) every day. And Tokyo these days isn't looking as bright and flashy as it once did - it's a bit worn around the edges from years or economic stagnation and the neon signs have been switched off in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. But there is still something beguiling about Tokyo, about Japan, and by day three we were already planning our return.
- Aside from his super-Spidey-sense of picking great restaurants, my husband is not the right person for me to be in Tokyo with. I am already planning a solo trip, one where I can spend a whole day in Tokyu Hands (he lasted all of 40 seconds) or Ito-ya if I want to.
- Dachshunds are big in Japan. Not big as in fat, big as in popular, to the extent that they even have special dachshund sized dog costumes which fit their long body and short legs perfectly (I may or may not have bought something...stay tuned!)
- You can not eat a bad meal in Tokyo. It doesn't matter what you have a hankering for, you will find it in Tokyo and it will most likely be the best darn [insert food name here] you've ever tasted. One of our favourite meals of the weekend was at an American Chinese restaurant in Shinjuku. So good.
- Living in a densely populated, crowded city does not necessarily mean a stroll down the city sidewalk has to end in bruises/broken ribs/missing eyes. The only time I got bumped into was when I stupidly wasn't paying attention (hello Hong Kong and Seoul, I'm looking at you!).
- These days I automatically start looking at the city I'm visiting and ask 'would I live here?', even when there's absolutely no likelihood that we will ever one day actually live there. The answer, Tokyo, is yes.
- I am increasingly obsessed with the black and white setting on my trusty Canon.