I’m finally finally FINALLY getting the chance to share with you all my wonderful Japan trip. It took just over two weeks to finally get over my jetlag which is part of the reason why this has taken so long; the other reason is that I have over 100GB worth of media to go through, and in fact I’m still working on a lot of it as I type this. Oh well, better late than never I guess.
Now to start from the very beginning, visiting Japan has been on my to-do list for quite some time, however my priorities and efforts were always focused elsewhere. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year when a few friends of mine visited Japan for the Tokyo Auto Salon that I got the itch to go again. The original plan was always to do a mini group trip with my sister and some close friends, but after asking her when she would like to do this trip and her answer was “I want more kids first!” I figured screw it, I’m not waiting any longer!
I chose this time of year to go specifically because nothing in particular was going on (besides Super GT which I found out afterwards). I didn’t want a particular event to be my main focus or reason to visit; instead I just wanted to go at a “normal” time and experience and get lost in the culture. After a few other Japanese friends confirmed that November would be the perfect time to visit, I booked my flights and to be honest, that was about it. Again besides Super GT, I didn’t really have much of a plan; I did have a list of things that I wanted to do and places that I wanted to visit, but no actual schedule or itinerary. I was just going to go with the flow, explore, eat at random restaurants, take the wrong train, and get lost in this magnificent country.
Besides for a few exceptions, my posts are mostly going to be in a “personal blog” style instead of the usual event coverage that I normally do, kicking off with day one in Tokyo. Now here is where things get interesting very fast: I decided to fly into Tokyo and stay in Shibuya of all places ON HALLOWEEN. That seemed all fine and dandy at first; Halloween in another country sounds like fun right? Right!
I got off the plane, got my SIM card, got a Suica card, and immediately took the wrong train. Okay, minor setback, but after talking to one of the station workers I was back on the right track (no pun intended). Things seemed fine at first. I remember seeing multiple office buildings and loading docks with people still working late at night. The train was gradually getting more crowded as I got closer to Shibuya and I started to notice more and more people with face makeup and onesies. It was Halloween so that was a given, but once I actually arrive at Shibuya Station…
…holy hell. Shibuya was absolutely JAM-PACKED. I cannot even begin to describe what I had gotten myself into. I had never seen so many people gathered in one spot in my LIFE. Keep in mind I’ve been to Hong Kong and have experienced their morning rush hour on the train before as well. This was on another level and the only reason why I don’t have any pictures to show you is because of how unbelievably crowded it was. It was literally shoulder to shoulder from the moment I got off the train until I was near my hotel, almost a good hour and a half later (this would normally be about a seven minute walk at the most). I physically did not even have the space to take out my camera from my bag. In fact there were so many people that it took me almost half an hour just to get out of Shibuya Station when that would normally take about 20 seconds!
For now you’ll just have to use your imagination (just picture four million people on a single city block all dressed up in costume) but I will have some video to show you all later on of just how insane this was (I was able to at least pull my phone and GoPro out to record some of the madness). Once I got closer to my hotel however I was able to take the camera out and start snapping away at some of the action that was going on around me, including this guy who was absolutely decked out in LED’s and driving what appeared to be Barbie’s Jeep (no idea how that’s even legal).
In short, in addition to the four million people on the streets, there were tons of cars, motorcycles, scooters, and trucks, all having a ball. Pretty much everyone was revving the life out of their engines, blasting music, and getting out of their cars and dancing in the middle of the street. Some people were even doing burnouts in the middle of intersections! Now of the four million people on the streets, probably about 50 of them were police who were pretty much unable to do anything except just make sure that no one was getting stabbed. That’s good I guess.
First things first however and I needed to get to my hotel to at the very least drop off my luggage. For a brief moment the exhaustion of traveling caught up to me and I considered calling it a night as I still had to get up early the next morning, but all I could hear from inside the hotel was the sound of the lively streets calling me back. Alright Shibuya, you win.
People were literally cruising in packs and I instantly wasn’t tired anymore. In fact, I don’t ever recall a city giving me energy just from me stepping foot onto the streets. This was genuinely wild.
This was my first time ordering food tickets from the vending machines, but luckily Ramen Daisuki Kozumi-san had taught me all about it so I looked like I knew what I was doing. Side note, but if you are going to Japan I actually do recommend watching this anime as it is based on real ramen restaurants! The anime goes into quite a bit of detail on how each restaurant functions so you know what to expect, as well as some of their most popular bowls!
Don’t believe everything you read posted online just for attention; the walls are NOT because people are being anti-social. While this obviously does make it a bit difficult to talk to the person sitting next to you, the original idea behind the dividers are so that you aren’t distracted by anything and focus solely on the ramen itself. This is also the same reason why you never see any of the staff with the only exception being the greeters who help seat you. The focus here is all on the ramen and its flavours…
I hung around this corner for a while as this group seemed exceptionally lively. As soon as they came to a stop they hopped out of their cars and off their bikes and scooters and just started dancing! Eventually the police would come to move them along however…
Eventually I made it back to my hotel at around 2:00AM, but I was actually just back to drop off my camera before heading back out, this time to WOMB where they were having a huge Halloween party with the CyberJapan Dancers and DJ Mitomi Tokoto. Needless to say that was a nutty night and I do have some video to share with you guys later on, but this wraps up night one in Tokyo!
Click here to view the full photo set on Flickr.
See more from my Japan trip here !