TOKYO – What an insane, amazing and massive city. Literally nothing compares to this metropole and its over 30 million inhabitans. Just the size is unbelievable. Even if you just stay central, you often spend at least an hour to get from one area to the other one and a lot longer if you are trying to get a little bit more outside. The JR-train system and the different metro and subway stystems are all somehow connected but using this impressively organized way of transportation is still hard to understand if you are there for the first time. I would sometimes spend half an hour just trying to walk to the right gate in a station and would still end up jumping onto the wrong train. Luckily, everybody in Tokyo is very friendly and even if they often don’t understand English, they still try to get you to your right station, using google translate, online maps and often even walk you to your gate to make sure you don’t get lost on your way. The stations are insanely packed with buisness people rushing to work in one of the extremely high skyscrapers or stylish young people who are about to meet up with friends in an trendy area or one of the 24h sushi places. Once you make it to the right gate, you have to stay in a line to enter the train. Japanese people are probably the most polite nation I have ever seen. Standing in a queue in front of bus stations and even restaurants is a MUST and very rude if ignored. During rush hours (which is inbetween 7 am and 9 am or 9pm and 11pm), you find yourself getting pushed in one of the over packed train wagons and just when you think there is no possible way to bring even more people in, the train officers are just about to force another 10 people into the crowd. It is interesting to see how those polite people, who are usually very shy if it comes to physical contact with strangers, are still trying to be polite even when their bodies are getting squeezed together. It is also very common to have a nap during the long train rides, no matter if sitting or standing (which is probably one of the reasons why signs on the wall ask you to talk quietly and switch your phones into silent mode). If you use one of the big train lines which brings you to the main stops, you are lucky and all the maps and calls are in Japanese and English, but once you catch a smaller train going outside the city you have to keep track and always have a look at the signs at the passing train stations to make sure not to miss the right one, since everything in the train is often just in Japanese. But as mentioned before, as soon as you look lost or ask for help, the Japanese people around you are more than happy to tell you when to get off the train.
SHINJUKU – One of my favorite areas in Tokyo. It is just how you imagine it to be. Bright lights everywhere, amazing sushi restaurants, 24h karaoke places where you get your own cabine and all-you-can-drink offers for about 2000yen (which is about 18€), young people with interesting street styles, plenty of bars, night clubs, the legendary robot café (which is no place where you find Japanese people since it is a tourist attraction but still worth going) and many gaming halls, where you can find at least six floors of any type of game, no matter if its Pachinko (the Japanese way of gambling), dance games or ego shooters. I was more than overwhelmed when I walked into one of those gaming places for the first time. It is extremely loud, since all the gaming machines make their own sounds, smelly because cigaretts are allowed in those buildings and super busy. It almost seems like some people are there to train their “skills”, taking those games very serious and are only there to play one certain game. The funniest thing I found were photo cabines, where young people (often girls) have kind of photoshoots and after that edit their faces to make them look like Anime people. Those machines soften and whiten your skin, turn your eyes into an enormous size and add little doodles onto the pictures. Many people would even dress up and put an extreme make up to enter those cabines and spend hours just to take the right picture.
The Robot Cafe - a specteculare show where they bring in massive robots, live bands on little buses and crazy dressed up people. It is kind of like a musical since there a singers and dancers but the main attrcation are definitely the huge robots which dance along and wave at the crowd.
Just the way downstairs to the main stage is a highlight itself
Delicious mixed Sashimi Rice Bowl with Edamame Beans, Rice Wine (Sake)
and Miso Soup