Last day off in Tokyo! So what do I do? After almost 4 full weeks here I decide it’s finally time to take an adventure by myself… I just needed to conquer a few apprehensions about taking an unfamiliar train route and my constant fear of getting lost in a foreign country without a working cell phone, and I was good to go!
We traveled to Asakusa, home of Tokyo’s oldest temple and also the world’s tallest tower called the SkyTree!
I’ve been inspired by my good friend Benji Baker and his video blogs… so I did a little bit more with my videos from the day before sharing with you all. Found a SWEET band named Asakusa Jinta that’s a rock/marching band (their description, not mine) to sync up my videos with. Enjoy!embedded by Embedded Video
This happened to me back when I was visiting China as well. I reached a point in my homesickness that I just needed to prove to myself that I was independent and could function in a foreign place… who knew that venturing off by yourself could rid you of your loneliness? And I say lonely not because I am lonely here, but missing home does seem to tug on the same heart strings as loneliness, so an independent adventure was just what I needed to pacify my homesickness for the rest of my stay here.
In Beijing my adventure was simply getting on a bus, the same bus I’d taken several times with other people, and going to the market to do some errands and have a cup of coffee while doing a crossword and people watch. My adventure here was a little more involved… at this point, I had only really navigated the Yamanote line to get to the Tokyo International Forum for shows and a few other small adventures to social gatherings which were all led by other people. This outing would require a train change to the Ginza line, which I’d never taken before, to a stop that had been described to me in an article but that I hadn’t actually found on a map yet. (Shout out to my brother for a guide book to Tokyo that had a map of the subway system in the back! Still didn’t have the stop I needed in it, but it was still super helpful)
I’m pampered back home with the crutch of cell phone service. “Where are we going?” “Just put it into google maps” …NOT. I have wifi, which means once I’m out of a building I’m on my own to figure out the world around me, AND that world is in another language. I got on the familiar train that was supposed to take me to the Ginza line, only to find out that the train stopped running a few stops down the track so I had to get off and wait for another train that went the full route. Also, please imagine me trying to figure out why everyone is getting off the train at a stop that is DEFINITELY not the one that I need to get off at while a woman over a speaker is giving instructions in Japanese… everything is more complicated when you don’t speak the language.
Side note: this is why I am so appreciative of the US transitioning to a multi-lingual standard in public places. I’ve loved being in a country where there are both Japanese AND English menus, and even when they don’t have accommodations the people here are SO nice and willing to work with us as we fight our way through the language barriers. Anyway. Moving on.
I get on another train destined for the Ginza line. We make a stop and I hear “Exit for _____ line, ______ line, and the Ginza line” and start to panic a bit. “THIS ISN’T THE STOP THE WEBSITE SAID TO TAKE” “I paid for a ticket to take me 3 more stops…” “Do I get off?” I think I’ll just stay on…” “NO WAIT I’m going to get off”
This internal struggle results in me getting off the train, only to panic and second guess myself and get on the next train. Good news! I eventually made it to the Ginza line. Mind you, I still don’t know which stop for Asakusa I should be taking… since I’ve never seen it on a map… I’d hoped once I got closer to the destination it would magically show up. More good news! It WAS on the map that was displayed in the station! But the map was entirely in Japanese characters. Luckily for me the station also had wifi (guys, I’m telling you, Japan is amazing) and I was able to jump on and translate ‘Asakusa’ to Japanese characters and play a matching game to figure out where to go. Just a couple more obstacles, like buying a ticket for the wrong train and reading more Japanese-only signs, stood between me and my independent freedom in Asakusa.
Once I got there it was SO worth the adventure. I had a few hours wandering by myself before my friends showed up and I got to do the wandering all over again. Wandering is fun, but pictures are better with people in them.
THEN we went to the owl cafe… oh man. Guys. I’ve decided. I’m opening a puppy cafe someday. One just opened in LA and uses dogs from a nearby shelter and you can adopt them straight from the cafe. Coffee. And. Puppies. Now that I’m living my dream job I need another dream to chase, and I think a puppy cafe is it.
Last stop on the agenda for the day (MAN it was a busy day… no wonder it’s taken me so long to post something) was a trip to the Tokyo SkyTree, which is the tallest tower in the world. Some cool views, some funny video clips from Rigo facing his fear of heights, and many laughs.