So Much Japan, So Little Time
We currently live in Tokyo, Japan. It’s very different from Los Angeles but it’s great in its own ways. For starters, the people are ridiculously nice, like I didn’t even know that kindness like this existed. You can watch people saying goodbye after dinner and they literally say thank you and bow like 15 times each, we call it a polite fight.
Then there’s the train stations. At first I was really freaked out in the stations because there is terrifying exhibit at Universal Studios Hollywood that simulates an earthquake inside of a subway station that scarred me for life. But I really had to get over that quickly because the subways and trains are the easiest, most efficient and affordable form of transportation here in Japan. I’ve never been in a subway before, actually I had never been on any sort of public transportation before. I grew up 5 minutes from my high school, 5 minutes from the beach and 5 minutes from any friends house, I never had to deal with any sort of commute that couldn’t be solved by a bike or my own two feet. So unfortunately my perception of what subways were like was not the best. Mainly because I had seen movies and tv shows of people taking the subway in New York and it always seemed to be this dirty place that people dreaded to take. But that is so far from the truth here in Tokyo. The subway/train stations are so incredibly clean and so well organized I would prefer to take the train for the rest of my life! I don’t know what they clean the trains but I have never seen a piece of trash anywhere, nor have I seen a stain on the seat or a scuff on the wall. Everyone is extremely polite and respectful on the trains, you will often see the younger generation offering their seat to anyone elderly or pregnant. You will definitely want to avoid taking the train at 8AM or 5PM though, unless you like being pressed up against strangers like a packed sardine.
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, you just have to bite the bullet and jump in but if you’re a girl traveling, try to take the last car on the train, the pink “women only”car, which is supposedly to prevent any perverts from coping a feel. I have yet to see this happen but I have been warned many times. The nicest trains of them all are the Shinkansen, also called the Bullet Train. These trains take you long distances, and travel at 200mph, its pretty incredible actually.
We ended up in Kyoto right during the peak cherry blossom season, which is both good and bad. It was good because the trees were beautiful and it made everything look just that much cooler, but it was bad because everyone and their mother was there too. It was like Disneyland in the summer, just complete chaos. We did a lot of walking during this trip, mainly because we couldn’t read the signs so it was easier for us to just walk from place to place rather than hop on a train and end up going the complete wrong way. Kyoto isn’t as “americanized” as Tokyo is. Most of the signs in Tokyo have the english translation but Kyoto hasn’t quite made the switch yet.
We spent a lot of time at the Philosopher’s path during this trip because the cherry blossoms lined the canal in full bloom. We saw quite a few geisha's roaming the streets, still not sure what their deal is but everyone seems to love them. We also hung out in the Maruyama park at sunset where you can sit in the grassy areas underneath the cherry blossoms. There are tons of food vendors selling all sorts of interesting food that I would never eat haha. I found a nice english speaking Indian man selling indian food, so that was the extent of my Japanese cuisine in Kyoto. They sell corn on the cob, which I was stoked about because at the grocery stores here an ear of corn costs about $3, but I was sadly disappointed when I took my first bite as it was soggy and soaked in soy sauce. We are so freaking spoiled back in the states. All I wanted was one of those county fair pieces of corn, covered in butter and cheese and chili powder and god knows what else. Great, now I am really craving funnel cake and corndogs. And turkey legs, oh and deep fried oreos! I'm comin' for you California!