Stephen Young


Leaving Tokyo

Today I leave Tokyo for Singapore! It's been an exciting three days wondering the streets and enjoying the sushi! Here's a quick summary of what I've been up to:

Thursday: Started the day off pretty early cause of jet lag. Left the hostel around 7Am wandered the streets in Asakusa for about 2 hours. There are two old style Buddist temples near our hostel which are popular visiting locations for both foreigners and Japanese.

When I was there in the morning people were burning incense outside the temple and bathing in the smoke. A tradition when visiting the temple.

After returning to the hostel I met up with Annie, Gary and Eugene and we went out for breakfast at a nearby restaurant. We went to an amazingly efficient little store which had machines in the front you ordered from before sitting down at the table where the cooks would take your ticket and bring you your food. The whole restaurant comfortable sat 25 people in a tiny little space.

After breakfast we visited the Imperial Palace and gardens in the heart of Tokyo. The palace is located outside Tokyo Station, which is the central subway/train station for the Tokyo system. The subway system is immense and complicated, but there is definitely a logic amidst the choas. The system uses a graduated fare, where you pay according to how far you want to travel from your starting station. There are about a dozen different lines and several of them are run by completely different companies. There is also a main rain system which forms a giant circle connecting all the key locations in Tokyo.

Afterwards we took the train just outside Tokyo to an area called Yokohoma, which is either the second largest city in Japan or a suburb of Tokyo, depending on who you talk to. We toured around the city, visited the "Landmark Tower" and enjoyed the view from the 69th floor observation deck. The view was amazing... a massive metropolis stretches out as far as the eye can see in every direction.

Friday: We woke up at 5AM to make it out to the famous Tokyo Fish Market, supposedly the largest in the world. Definitely a busy full of barely contained choas. Care must be taken to avoid being run over by the many motorized carts whipped around tranfering goods from here to there. Walking down the aisles we saw giant salmon, tuna, octopus, squid, everything imaginable and so many I couldn't identify.

In the later afternoon I explored the other neighbourhoods of Tokyo on my own. In Shibuya I saw "Tokyo Times Square" which is apparently the busiest intersection in the world. People cross in ever direction a literal see of bodies filling a giant square. I had never seen so many people at once. In the evening I met Jeff Wentworth for dinner and drinks at a good restaurant near Tokyo Station - the food was amazing. Jeff speaks Japanese so he was able to order the good stuff : )

Saturday: it's raining... and i'm going to the airport!



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