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Travel, Winter 2011

A Tokyo Vacation: 東京旅行

Tokyo is one of the busiest cities on the planet and is quite obviously identified as such.  Last weekend was the second time I’ve been to Tokyo in over 2 years and I had forgotten how hectic things can be.  Especially during Christmas time there is an abundance of travelers and sightseers in the city that holds an estimated 13 million people compared to New York’s 8 million people.  The problem with this is New York is almost double the size of Tokyo which leads to crowded streets and cramped train rides.  Nearly anywhere I went, I was accompanied by hundreds of other people.  Restaurants required reservations in advance unless you preferred an hour or longer wait and trains and subways were most always shoulder to shoulder.  Even crossing the street at an intersection required a city-highered official to direct traffic along with some agile movements.

In Japanese, the word konderu 混んでいる means crowded.  The word can be heard quite often when traveling the city or while waiting at stoplights.  Pay close attention to the sidewalks.  This area is a shopping district with cafes and restaurants that are fairly spread out.  Despite it being a plain area, the number of people passing through reminds you of a sporting event or a concert that just finished.  Promotional buses and trucks circle the area with advertisements and videos displaying messages.

Aside from the crowds we went to take in some of the sights in Tokyo.  There is a monorail that goes around the city and gives a breathtaking view of Tokyo.  Surrounding the bay view were a series of stores and shopping malls.  Shopping in Tokyo is not recommended for people who like money, however the variety is great.  We even saw a famous building where a number of TV programs are filmed and broadcast from, although I’m not sure of the building’s name.

TV broadcast building

A bit of New York came to Tokyo.  You can also see Sky Tree, the tallest structure in Japan(2080 feet high), in the background in the picture below.  In the other pictures, illuminated behind the bridge is Tokyo Tower, the second tallest structure in Japan.

Speaking of Sky Tree, we went for a closer look before we came for the scenic view of the city.  We thought it had been completed, but apparently they’re taking another three months or so to finish up with the last of the plans.  Either way, it was quite a site from the outside.  A jaw dropping 2,080 feet tall.Along with the awesome scenery were of course more decorations, especially since these pictures were taken just before Christmas.On Christmas, following the sights and shopping we went to search Shibuya for some dinner.  Knowing that Yuuki likes to have plans ahead of time for food, I was surprised when she asked me what kind of food I wanted that night.  Since it was Christmas, it was too late to make any reservations and she assured me that she had no plans.  As we walked around searching for a place to go, I had been “wowed” by my first time in Shibuya.  The lights, big screen TV’s, people, it was all so overwhelming.  I’ve also never seen a five-story, Forever 21 store before.

We stumbled into a restaurant to ‘check’ for any available seats.  It was an Italian style restaurant about five minutes from the station with not such an appealing outside.  On the inside the dining area looked nice, but a bit crowded so I had little hope of finding a seat.  Before I knew it I was being lead past the crowd to a stairway.  Down the stairs the noise began to fade and music was playing.  I ducked under the low ceiling only to see that downstairs there were not as many tables and each was spread out to give a sense of privacy.  There was a pond in the center with a fountain and a marble bottom.  The owner lead us to our table and left.  Then Yuuki followed with, “Merry Christmas”.  The meal was delicious to say the least.  A five course meal with drinks, wonderful service, and a beautiful girl.  Merry Christmas!

Salmon and Avocado Salad

Purple Potato Soup

Roast Beef with Cream Potato and Fried Asparagus

Tomato and Ham Fettucini

Strawberry Ice Cream and Powdered Cake

About travelnihon

I recently graduated from the University and am currently teaching English to all ages in Japan


12 thoughts on “A Tokyo Vacation: 東京旅行

  1. The Santa display case was amazing. You are the luckiest young man I know!!!

    Posted by Karen Fitzpatrick | January 4, 2012, 1:37 pm
  2. Posted by travelnihon | January 4, 2012, 7:13 pm
  3. Question about Christmas, since most of Japan does not worship as Christians, how do they interpret Christmas? I was at a church meeting last night and we were talking about they way they decorate and someone asked this question. By the way it looks like Yuuki takes really good care of you 🙂

    Love you

    Posted by Aunt Deb | January 5, 2012, 1:10 am
    • I would say it’s a holiday to exchange gifts, no deeper meaning. Another interesting thing is sometimes people will get married in churches with beautiful architecture and stained glass windows. Even though they are not Christian, they rather enjoy the scenery.

      Posted by travelnihon | January 5, 2012, 3:54 am
  4. Tokyo is one of the busiest places on the planet, but is an amazing city. You can spend a lifetime exploring Tokyo and never run out of new things to see and do.

    Posted by Japan Australia | January 5, 2012, 3:01 am
  5. Very interesting. Please continue to educate me, it is great that you are a teacher to us back here too.

    Posted by Aunt Deb | January 8, 2012, 11:45 pm
  6. Awesome posts and pictures Brad! Dinner looks super fabulous! Keep up the great blogging!

    Posted by sharon | January 9, 2012, 2:13 pm
  7. PS – This is your cousin Jarrod’s wife : )

    Posted by sharon | January 9, 2012, 2:13 pm
  8. Outstanding post, I believe people should acquire a lot from this web blog its really user genial. So much superb info on here :D.

    Posted by Lang Eshleman | January 19, 2012, 6:34 pm
  9. Very well written information. It will be useful to anybody who utilizes it, as well as yours truly :). Keep up the good work – looking forward to more posts.

    Posted by Cruz Armeli | February 2, 2012, 8:25 am

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January 2012
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