Tokyo Adventure [東京の冒険] – Part 1

Kon’nichiwa!

Never in a million years did I think I would be writing about a trip to Tokyo.  Asia travel has NEVER crossed my mind.  But here we are!  Dan was assigned a Japanese client and was sent over to Tokyo.  He actually left the day we landed back in London from Michigan!  Talk about world traveler 🙂  He’s been over here for 3 weeks and now I am over here able to join him!  I’m so fortunate to work for a company that allows me to work at any of our offices throughout the world.  I will be working for 2 weeks from our Tokyo office, then Dan and I are going to take a week to explore Beijing, China and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

While Dan was over here, he had to go to Bangkok, Thailand for a week of training for work.  Here are a few photos from his time in Bangkok:

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I’ve only been in Tokyo for almost a week now and I love it.  It has such an amazing energy.  And everything is so efficient!  There is no tolerance for crime, trains are never late, the people are super polite.  The office culture was also very easy to fit into. There’s so much beauty and appreciation of details.  Even the noise that the subway makes when you arrive at a stop is beautiful!  The phrase “God is in the details” is found everywhere!  [Don’t worry friends + family, as great as it is, we won’t be moving here!!]

I arrived early Sunday morning, and Dan was ready to play tour guide for me!  It was really nice that he has been here for a few weeks already, so he could easily show me the best places around town.   We kicked off the exploring by walking around the Imperial Palace Gardens.  It is a beautiful sanctuary in the middle of the city where the emperor of Japan resides.  Unfortunately, you have to apply to be able to visit the actual palace, but it is free to walk around the gardens and grounds. The grounds were filled with beautiful bamboo patches, Japanese flowers and ponds. Such a beautiful way to start my tour of the city.

We then headed over to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market.  It is the biggest wholesale fish/seafood market in the world.  The big auction doesn’t take place on Sundays, so we just wandered around the stalls and had sushi for lunch.  Oh my goodness – you guys – the sushi here is OUT OF THIS WORLD!  I had pretty high expectations for it, and it blew these expectations out of the water.  Dan is getting really good at what to order, and he ordered 3 different grades of tuna sashimi which was really fun to try.  It’s crazy how different each one is, and how decadent the highest grade is.  Literally just pure butter! Yum!  We’re going to try and make it back to the market for the actual auction at some point during our stay.

After lunch, we took the metro over to the Shibuya area in Tokyo.  We walked around the Meiji Jinju gardens and visited the Meiji Shrine.  It was so fun to walk around this beautiful park.  One thing that has really surprised me with Tokyo so far is how lush and green it is.  It has a very tropical feel, especially since it is so hot and humid all of the time!  This park was really dense and it really felt like we were walking through the rainforest to get to the temple.20160710_135733

A short walk away was Takeshita Street, wow was this crazy.  I don’t think I was quite prepared for how busy this street actually was.  The street is filled with people!  Lots of shops (themed) and “cutesy” girls dressed up in costume.  Very interesting spot – really cool to see though.

Can you see us on the screen? :)

Can you see us on the screen? 🙂

From Takeshita Street, we walked over to Shibuya Crossing.  It is a crazy scramble crossing that reminds me of Oxford Circus on steroids.  It is considered the busiest crossing in the world!  It is estimated that about 2 million people a day cross here!  Talk about overwhelming!!!

After that, I was completely exhausted.  Having just flown 13 hours and been awake for about 30 hours, I needed a nap!  We headed back to the hotel and took a quick nap before meeting up with Dan’s coworkers for dinner.  We went to a fun restaurant under the train tracks.  We had pork heart, beef heart, beef tongue, pork cutlets, fried avocado and pork dumplings.  The hearts weren’t my favourite, the flavour was good, but they were a bit too chewy for my liking. It was fun trying new things, and I can’t wait to continue trying foreign foods.

On Monday I went into the Tokyo JLL office.  Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming.  There are only a handful of English speakers, but they’re all very polite. Lots of  bowing and smiles!  The rest of the week was work for both Dan and I.  He is over here on a busy season, so he’s been working really long hours. We have been able to spend dinner together almost every night, trying something new and adventurous.

Dan’s team finished up their audit on Friday, so we went out with the whole team on Thursday night to celebrate at a Japanese rock bar, Bauhouse. It was so much fun – and the band is amazing!  They’re even coming to London in a few months and we’ve made plans to go see them when they are in town!

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On Friday, we decided to continue the celebration and hit a bucket list item for both me and Dan…try REAL Kobe beef!  We went to a restaurant called 511.  There are 5 levels of Kobe with 5 being the highest – hence, we had the highest grade!  And within the 5 levels, there are 12 levels further of quality with 12 being the highest.  The said they rarely get 512.  But 511 was high enough quality for us 🙂  It was an 8 course meal, with every course featuring a different part of the cow (minus the dessert).  Everything was fantastic.  This was one of the best meals we’ve ever had and will always remember this.

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Overall, my first week in Tokyo was amazing.  This city has so much to offer and I can’t wait to continue exploring.

Kanpai!

 

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