Week two in Japan

I think I’m finally getting the hang of life in Japan. I’ve settled into nice morning routine, riding the trains is super easy, and the convenience stores are maybe a little too convenient. Seriously, with such a small kitchen buying groceries to make full meals is rather difficult, and with us being out so often it’s easier to just buy food as you want it for a few hundred yen. Does this mean I’ll finally end up putting on weight? Probably not, but if it does then at least all the day trips will help me get some exercise in.

So the week began with a free day, no classes or trips, we were just left to our own devices. After making breakfast for everyone, I actually went out on my own to meet up with an old friend. Back in High School we had a Japanese foreign exchange student in my class, and now six years later I finally got to meet up with her again. We spent the day sightseeing at Tokyo Skytree and later at Tokyo Station. Skytree is one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever seen, and the view from the observation deck was simply breathtaking. Sure it was a bit cloudy that day, but seeing the city itself sprawling out beneath you is a surreal experience to say the least. As we parted ways she joked that she’d see me again in another 20 years, but I do hope we meet again a bit sooner than that.

Old friends in a new city. Well, new to me.

Next was an…interesting day, yeah let’s call it that. After a short morning class we visited Akihabara, Tokyo’s “Electric Town” and a haven for every kind of nerd/pop culture merchandise you could possibly imagine. So much so that we ended up spending half our time in only one store just geeking out over all the different stuff they had available. But we decided to move on and ended up meeting up with Yuko to find somewhere to eat. This is where the day got…interesting. Some of the girls wanted to go to a maid cafe, and they found one with “cat girl” maids they wanted to try. Now I’ve seen plenty of anime, so I knew exactly what we were in for, but there was nothing I could say, we were already in the door being seated by a woman in a maid outfit and cat ears before I could protest. After having her tell us the “backstory” of the cafe and handing us the menu, the realization hit them, not only did everyone have to pay just to get in, everyone had to buy a drink, the food was extremely over priced, and taking a picture with the waitresses cost even more. Suffice it to say, I basically had to spend $12 on a Pepsi with a heart shaped straw… never again.

That was…an experience to say the least…

There was one silver lining to the whole ordeal, and that was the little taiyaki stand we found around the corner from the cafe (taiyaki is a kind of traditional Japanese pastry, usually shaped like a fish and stuffed with red bean paste). This place had a special collaboration with Pokemon to make a taiyaki shaped like a Magikarp and stuffed with chocolate pudding. And believe you me, it was delicious, and so worth it.

Who knew Magikarp were filled with pudding and could taste so good?

The next big adventure was a hike through the forests of Kamakura to see the Great Buddha. I’m not exactly the biggest hiker I know, but the trek was a lot of fun and lead us to some really stunning vistas where you could even see the ocean. Speaking of, after visiting the Great Buddha temple, we all went and spent some time at the beach! Being from Ohio, where the beaches are *ahem* not great, and being sweaty from the long hike, I was more than excited to go for a swim in the ocean. Meg was the only other one from our group that went out to swim. Funny how the two people from non-coastal states were the only ones to eagerly swim out in the ocean.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura
The great view of Kamakura

And that’s about it for the interesting things we’d done this past week. We did also go to a revolving sushi restaurant, which was super delicious, and some of us went and spent another day in Akihabara to do some more shopping and actually check out other stores. The days have just been so busy I keep losing track of time, but I know that in less than a week I’ll have to say goodbye to Meg, Evan, and Anchitta. Nah, I’m not gunna think about that, I’m just going to enjoy the trip while I can and continue to have fun with it.

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