Oliver Wolfe. All rights reserved.
As I went through the 1,600+ photos I took in Japan, I realized I would need to break up my future posts into cities rather than whole countries. Hopefully I can keep your attention long enough! Anyways, sorry it has taken me so long to update the blog – we’ve been bouncing around so much since the beginning of February that I have had trouble finding time to write and free Internet with which to post the pictures.
-Oliver. Tuesday, February 23, Ship Time 21:05 (EST +13 hours)
After more than a week on the ship from Hawai’i to Japan, we were overeager to sit down, have a beer and check up on the Internet. The students are assigned into “seas” in an attempt to section us off for organization’s sake. I’m in the Mediterranean, and as we were first let off in Yokohama we had to sit around and wait for our friends. As you can tell, we were extremely bored and unhappy about this.
Here, Tommy Lee Jones shows us why we should buy hot, vending machine coffee. I always find it interesting which American movie stars are most popular abroad.
Our first port city was Yokohama, not Tokyo, but we took a quick train into Tokyo as soon as we had our group together. The 30-minute trains ride on the JR-Railway, above-ground train cost all of $4.50. We ran into trouble once we got to the subways, however, as we realized there were literally twenty different subway lines.
The food is delicious in Asia. That is all I can say about it. All of it is tasty.
After settling into the hotel we decided to get out and see SOMETHING that night. We decided on Tokyo Tower. By this point we thought we understood the subway system, as shown in our exuberance here.
I Tokyo Tower was imposing – like an Eiffel Tower but twice the height and covered in communications equipment. It cost $10 to go up halfway, so the girls went and the guys walked down the street to find a bar to grab a beer.
At the bar we met two French, financial headhunters – they go to financial services companies and try to steal the better advisors for their company back in Europe. They were more than nice to us and told us all about the social life and structures of the city.
I don’t take pictures once we go out for the night – I don’t want to bring an expensive, large camera out with me when we are drinking and dancing – so you will notice a gap around the nights. We stayed up all night the first night in Tokyo in order to see the fish market at 5:30 am. Danielle here looks a little deliriously happy to be on her way, timestamp 5:00 am.
The Nintendo DS seems to be wildly popular in Japan, as does sleeping on the subway. Miraculously, the sleepers never seemed to miss their stops.
We tried the whole sleeping thing, and I’m pretty sure we would have missed our stop if I hadn’t stayed awake.
We knew we were walking towards the fish market once the smell hit us and the knives came out of the woodwork.
The next series of pictures will all be of the fish market with minimal commentary after this one. The fish market started with a large-scale auction, after which over 50,000 fisherman, salesman, buyers and general workers traded, prepared and bought what seemed like an endless number of fish and seafood.
We got there in complete darkness and left as the sun came up. Left to get SOME SUSHI FRESH CUT FROM THE FISH that is.
Probably the best sushi I have ever eaten. Totally worth the fact that it was at 7:30AM
Unfortunately, we hit the morning rush hour on the way back. I have never seen more people packed into one space without a single one of them speaking a word in my life.
My roommate Kyle was also a little larger than the rest of the car’s occupants.
Always classy, I was still in my blazer and shirt from the night before. Probably confused the fish market workers as I took pictures of them doing their things. Anyways, I have never been happier as when we finally made it back to the Sakura Hotel at 8:30AM. We slept until noon, and it was a wonderful sleep.
That day, five of us (Eli, Nick, Kyle, Linzi and myself) decided to hop on the subway we had now mastered and hit up the interesting parts of Tokyo. Those are: Akihabara, Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya. Here, we got some lunch before hitting the tour: you push the button of what you want…
…and give it to the chef, who makes you a wonderfully tasty bowl of noodles.
Inside Akihabara, the tech district, we went into what I can only describe as a 7+ floor tower built in praise of technology. It seemed like the people were less excited to be there than the advertisements would lead us to believe.
There were so many escalators in the place I felt like I was in a futuristic Hogwarts stairwell.
Even Japanese men love watching Taylor Swift!
Each floor had rows upon rows just. Like. This one.
One of my self-imposed projects is to find evidence of Western culture in the East, and here I found a Lax defenseman!. <"]
Seems the three hours of sleep did not quite do the job for Eli and Nick.
We knew we were in Shibuya once the quirky Japanese culture came out.
Space is at a premium in Tokyo (also: all of Japan), so the gas stations operate by lowering the nozzles to your car once you pull up underneath.
Almost every building was a high rise with some sort of bright advertisements and various objects on and sticking off of it.
We went into a Japanese arcade, and it was perhaps the happiest place I have ever been. In Global Studies class, we are supposed to take one picture in every country that we think gives the ‘essence’ of said country. Well, this is my ‘essence of Japan.’
There are so many people in Japan, and they all live in close quarters. Thus the masks come out at any sign of sickness, so as to save yourself and also prevent the spread to others. Going on a date with a mask on is not unusual.
Eli, Nick and Kyle went back to the hotel to nap and get ready for the night, but Linzi and I wanted to at least get up to Harajuku, the crazy fashion district. It was nighttime and drizzling, so the fashionistas were not out so much, but the lights and atmosphere was there.
We also found a 100-yen store, similar to a dollar store in idea and function. I went wild.
Our train to Kyoto was at 7:00AM, so we had to wake up early the next morning. This was the room we stayed in ($40 a night) during our time in Tokyo. Goodbye, Sakura Hotel.