Tokyo: Full of Excitement, Joy, and Wonder

This is a long one, folks.

I had been to Tokyo before, but only for a few hours, and I wasn’t crazy impressed. This time I was able to spend a few days there, and though that still isn’t enough, I was able to really appreciate what it has to offer. There is so much to do and so many places to go. Here’s what I did on my trip.

The very first thing to do was get from Narita Airport to our Air Bnb in Shinjuku. Luckily, Google Maps gives you step by step instructions on how to do that using public transportation! So what we expected to be a hassle ended up being very simple. The only hassle was the 15 minute walk we had from the underground station to the Air Bnb. I only had one suitcase to roll, but Dan was rolling two, so that was difficult, especially when there are a ton of people either walking very slowly or just a group of people blocking the sidewalk. Not to mention, there is no bicycle lane, so the cyclists were on the sidewalk too. We were so tired, hungry, and cranky, we just wanted to get to the place to put our things down and settle in. Having all of these feelings, our travels made us frustrated with one another for absolutely no reason. So we finally got to the place, but we had to retrieve the key from a lock box that the owner of the apartment left a couple of blocks away. So I left Dan with all of the luggage and went on a mission. The lock box ended up being on a fence by a garbage dump, where I had to hop over a bush to get to. Fine. So we got to the room, put everything down, and Dan said, “I think we got kind of mad at each other earlier.” We both apologized and said I love you. Then we finally got to relax as we waited for the rest of the crew coming to meet us from Misawa.

The apartment was really cute, except we were sharing it with 6 other people, so we were really close to each other. The entire place consisted of beds. Like, there were 4 beds directly next to each other. There was also an itty bitty kitchen and a little balcony. I didn’t mind so much but it’s always difficult to have 8 people and one bathroom. We made it work. Ryan actually slept in the closet. There were so many blankets and pillows, he made a bed in there.

I was much too tired to show it, but I was really happy to see everyone. I hadn’t seen them in a month! I missed them. Naturally I would give them big hugs, but I’m still sort of unsure how much they all like hugs haha. That first night was uneventful, however, Dan lost the vest he planned to wear for his Marty McFly costume. Earlier when it was just me and him there, he took the vest out of a little bag and said, “I’m going to hang it up so the wrinkles come out.” As he was hanging it up on a hanger on the balcony, I said, “I think it will blow away if you hang it there.” Guess what. It was gone when he went back out there. He swore there was no way it could have blown away though. He questioned whether somebody came into the apartment and took it. Mind you, there were all kinds of things (like a TV) that somebody would have taken before his vest from Uniqlo. We all walked to get dinner and went back to the apartment to go to bed because we wanted to get to TOKYO DISNEYLAND! Oh yeah, Dan’s vest. The next morning he saw it had fallen in an alleyway and said, “I guess it could have blown away.” I love my husband, I really do. He somehow retrieved the vest that was resting on air vents high above the ground, with a pole. He was then ready to be Marty.

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DAY ONE: As we approached the gate, all of us were getting giddy except for Dan because he had never been to Disney World or Disney Land, so he wasn’t sure what to get excited about. He definitely seemed impressed when we got there though. Everything looked so perfect and pristine–it was magical!

It was Halloween so we wanted to dress up, but their website said that people will be turned away from the park if they dressed up as non Disney-related things. I wanted to be Wonder Woman, but that didn’t happen. Next year then. Dan still dressed as Marty McFly, Edd was a hipster Peter Pan, and Demi was a hipster Tinkerbell. They all looked cute. There were definitely some non Disney-related characters there, but oh well. There were a lot of Captain Jack Sparrows–really good ones. There were also some people who were Donald and Daisy Duck, and they had duck butts! I loved it. Pretty much everyone was in costume and it was awesome.

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All of the detail that is put into every little thing at Disney, is really amazing. Especially while you’re standing in line for a ride. They put so much detail into your surroundings to make it really feel like you are in the world of whatever ride you are waiting to go on. A lot of it is detail that I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t even notice, but they still do it. They even put fun little interactive things around the park. Edd knew about all of them. One was outside of the Who Framed Roger Rabbit ride. There is a giant door and if you touch the handle to the door, it makes a loud sound as though the doorknob electrocuted you. Another one was if you opened a mailbox, it yelled at you.

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After Disney, a few of us went to the Robot Restaurant, which isn’t actually a restaurant, it’s more of a show with popcorn and drinks. It was down an alley not very far from the Air Bnb. There were two women from California who met up with our friend Heather and they were like, overly friendly. I think it was sincere, but their level of enthusiasm made it seem like they weren’t very sincere. Dan and I were exhausted at this point, we really didn’t want anything to do with them. We were so unenthusiastic, they said, “Oh wow, you two must be really jetlagged,” which was true, but we also just wanted them to stop talking. I told Dan that I guess Californians are super social and happy. He said that they might just be happy to be away from California. Who knows. Of the many things these two women said, they said this twice and I do not necessarily disagree: Tokyo is like Las Vegas and NYC on crack. The area we were in definitely felt that way.

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We were sent to a waiting area to hang out and have a drink before the show started. It was underground, and it felt like a different world there. Like something so different that I have only seen in movies. There were a bunch of people lounging in this extremely tacky place with mirrors and lights everywhere. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I saw a tiger in a cage and half naked people. It was just so bizarre.

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So we got our drinks and walked into a dark room with light glowing from giant TV screens. There were stadium type seats facing each other with a stage in between. It was very cramped and the seats were metal and cold. Everything was super lively with people playing drums, electric guitars, and dancing. It was really cool and it looked like the people in the show were having an awesome time. I thought about how much fun their job probably is. I could imagine having what seems like a giant party every night could be exhausting though. So I guess it’s called Robot Restaurant because there are these big robot suits that a person operates from the inside. It was definitely awesome, but I was so jet lagged that I was falling asleep. So I don’t exactly know what the robots were doing… my bad. They did a cool Halloween show after the regular show. The whole thing was about 90 minutes. I think. Anyway, if you go on google images Robot Restaurant Japan, there are really good pictures of it all.

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Even though all I wanted to do was sleep, the rest of our friends were out and about having a good time going to different bars and such, so I joined them. They are really into a bar called The Hub, which is like a British pub. There are a bunch of Hubs in Tokyo. I met them there and we made our way to Golden Gai which is an area with a bunch of small alleyways and tiny bars. We talked to the bartenders who spoke a little English. A few men in suits that came in asked what we think about Trump. I think one of us just said something like we don’t talk politics. Everyone kept asking Ryan if he was a certain character or Pikachu or something. He was the cutest fox! Kitsune means fox. We later let Jackson lead the way and he brought us to the sketchiest building in the area, where there was a hookah bar on the third floor. It was cool, but only after we got there and realized that we weren’t going to be murdered. I had questioned whether I should have gone out after the Robot Restaurant, since I was basically a zombie, but I decided it was worth it because I laughed a lot. True, I could have just been super delirious. Even if that were so, my logic for life is that if something makes me laugh more than normal, it’s worth it.

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DAY TWO: MariCar in Akihabara! I’m hoping everyone is familiar with Mario Kart. The video games where all the Mario characters race each other on various tracks? WELL, this was real life Mario Kart. When people talked about doing this when they went to Tokyo, I was under the impression that we would pick a character to be and actually race each other in go karts on a track. I thought that was a cute and fun idea. My friend Takako told me about the controversy of MariCar because truck drivers say it’s hard to see the groups. I didn’t understand that until I learned that MariCar is where you yes dress up as a character, but you also drive as a group on the streets of Tokyo. Let me tell you, if you go to Tokyo, this is absolutely something you should do. I think you would need an international driver’s license though. I’m not positive. It’s kind of like a tour group but with your friends. You have the option to go for one or two hours, day or night. We chose two hours during the day. There is a guide in the front of the group talking a little bit about the sights around you (mostly just saying to look to your left or right because something cool is there). There is also a guide in the back of the group to make sure everyone is following the rules like no cell phone usage and no racing… Although we occasionally cut each other off for fun. We were going up to like 60 kph! That’s not super fast, more like 37 mph, but it feels crazy fast when you’re in a little go kart! My hood kept falling off from the wind. I was Bowser, Dan was Luigi, Heather was Mario, Vic was Yoshi, Ryan was Wario, and there were non Mario characters too. Demi was Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z, Jackson was the alien dude from Toy Story, and Edison was a penguin looking thing named Badtz Maru from I think Hello Kitty.

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Both guides also take pictures of the group when you hit red lights. There is a point where everyone parks where you can see the Sky Tree. They take more group pictures in front of it. They use their own devices to take the pictures, and then they air drop all of them to you. They also give each person one print. All of this was for either 7,500 or 7,000 yen which is about 67 or 62 USD. So being with your friends, dressing up, and seeing the sights is what makes this event great, but the fun of it also comes from the fact that everyone on the streets is waving at you and taking pictures. Both natives and tourists! Pretty much everybody we waved at, waved back. It made me so happy when there were old Japanese people who found such surprise and joy when they saw us go by. Some of the other older Japanese people didn’t care much for it though. I would imagine if you are a local, you see this kind of thing all the time. Anyway, it was a blast. I was smiling the entire time, my teeth got cold from the wind.

If you want to see a video of us doing this, Edison has a YouTube channel where he does Vlogs, video game playthroughs, unboxing videos, etc. This is one of his Vlogs:

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And after THAT, we went to Disney SEA, which is different from Disneyland. After 6pm the tickets are discounted. I had pictured it being something like a giant aquarium, like Sea World or something like that. It’s just another Disney park! World, land, sea… I was amazed at how much Tokyo has and I imagined how kids probably go to the Disney parks all the time. We saw a lot of people in school uniforms, so they probably go after school sometimes. How cool is that… “Hey, it’s Friday night, what should we do? Oh wait, we can go to Disney!” So dope. And there is a special Disney monorail that has 3 stops. One is Disneyland, one is the train station to leave, and one is Disney Sea. Within a day they changed the monorail theme from Halloween to Christmas. Like where you hold onto had Mickeys with witches hats, and they changed them to Santa hats. Kawaii! Kawaii means cute, but if you pronounce the word in a different way, it means creepy. I’ll let you figure it out on your own and make a fool of yourself 🙂

Anyway, people call Disney Sea the adult Disney park. I guess because it doesn’t really have kiddy rides. It has stuff like Indiana Jones, Tower of Terror, Journey to the Center of the Earth (which looked super cool but the line for it was too long), 1,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc. It’s definitely smaller than Disneyland. It kind of reminded me of Epcot, although I don’t think it has those rides. So right in front of the gate is a giant globe with water cascading over it. That was magical in itself. And the Journey to the Center of the Earth ride had a big volcano lit up in purple, and I thought that was the coolest thing. I was just blown away by everything there. As the park was closing we talked about how easy it would be to hide behind a bush or something and just stay there overnight, because we didn’t want to leave.

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We left… I don’t know if I need to say that, but no we didn’t stay there.

The following day we left to go back to Misawa. I’ll write another post soon, hopefully.

Thank you for reading!!

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