February 12, 2012

Tokyo - Emperors & Electronics

Since my arrival in Japan I have wanted to go to Tokyo and the perfect occasion presented itself after the New Year in Yourou, since I still had a few days of vacation left and Noora and Heini were also opportunely traveling there. Tokyo's buzzing streets were a stark contrast to the peaceful landscapes of Yourou. Although Nagoya is a very big metropole, it just doesn't compare with Tokyo. Tokyo is on its own scale in every aspect.

Tokyo, here I come!

Due to traffic jams the bus trip took a stultifying 8 hours (estimated time 5,5h), but after stepping out of the bus in Shinjuku, I felt again the excitement of being in Japan and swiftly forgot about the hardships. I was back.  At first glance I could tell that nothing had changed in Tokyo since my last visit in 2009, except for the McDonald's near Asakusabashi station, which was now a Burger King. After checking in to the hostel, I had some ramen before a quick karaoke session with the girls, but the arising flu made me head back to the hostel relatively early to get some rest.

Ramen. I'll never get bored of this.

The next day we strolled through Imperial Palace Garden all the way to the resting place of some of the most notorious Japanese war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine. We stopped to watch some martial arts exhibitions at the shrine before hopping on the Chuo subway line to reach Akihabara, known for its huge electronic stores and a variety of manga and gaming shops. Not to forget every otaku's wet dream, the maid caf├ęs. Some of the anime shops will never stop disturbing me: old men looking at some very questionable adult material without the slightest hint of embarrassment. What can I say... It's Japan! In the evening we went for a walk in Harajuku and then back to our lodgings.

Imperial Palace East Gardens.

The same garden.

ASENTO! Noora and Heini eagerly posing.

Approaching Yasukuni shrine.


Yasukuni shrine.

Still in Akihabara.



More toys.


The next part of the  Tokyo trip will "soon" follow. I can already reveal that I caught a deadly cough during my stay and it drained my energy to the point I couldn't write blog posts. And after that my best friends Joona and Lauri came to see me in Nagoya, which meant that I was exceptionally busy eating and drinking every night. But more on that later.