While most college students spend their refund checks trying to get to Miami to see chics in bikinis and boys making it rain in the club, I’m in Tokyo.
In undergrad I never went on a Spring Break trip. Partly because I don’t roll with a clique of girls; and mainly because the friends I have had jobs to support themselves while in college. We were too poor to indulge in the luxury of a weeklong vacation. So you can imagine my excitement to attend graduate school and relive my college experience to some extent. Not in the sense of partying, but I wanted to finally experience the things I never had the opportunity to do while at Tennessee State University. Although I have traveled internationally several times, I never pursued actually studying abroad. Also I had never interned and had no clips when coming to Indiana University. Thus far I’ve now actively pursued my search to live abroad, realized the importance of being bilingual, have published clips and have interned with VIBE.
After a 13-hour flight we arrived in Tokyo Saturday at 2:30p.m. Tokyo time. About 1:30a.m. Eastern time. Jet-lagged is an understatement for what I felt. The time difference is crucial on your body. Saturday we took it pretty easy. To be honest, all we really wanted to do was go to sleep, but had to stay awake until at least 9:00 or our bodies would have been even more discombobulated. So we showered, found a nice little quaint restaurant and hit the sack.
On Sunday we spent most of the day at Asakusa, which is known for its temples and shrines. It’s probably the number one tourist attraction in Japan. People were everywhere. This being my first day actually seeing the city, I was snapping pictures left and right. Asakusa consists of not only shrines and temples, but also shops with souvenirs and traditional Japanese trinkets. Hello Kitty is so big in Japan it’s ridiculous, and it was sold in most of the shops we entered. I almost spent all of my money in Asakusa just buying gifts for family and friends.
Upon entering the Sensoji temple I witnessed Japanese people purifying themselves with water and waving incense. Once in the temple people bow and pray. It was very interesting to watch others practice their spiritual beliefs, which are so unlike my own.
After Asakusa we visited the 100 yen store-the dollar store of Tokyo. Now that’s my kind of store. After purchasing small items in 100 yen we split into two different groups. Seven of us chose to go to Odaiba Island in search of the shopping district. We took a boat ride that afforded us the chance to see a beautiful view of Tokyo. The boat ride was relaxing and serene.
Once we arrived to our destination we rode an escalator that seemed to take us 150-feet high. Talk about an amazing view of the city, it was unbelievable.
Afterward we went into the mall and had authentic Japanese sushi. De-lic-ioso! No one in the restaurant-like most places in Japan-spoke English. Therefore, we ordered by pointing to pictures on the menu. Browsing the mall was hilarious. Some of the products Japanese sell, which are clearly marketed to Americans make absolutely no sense. Nonetheless, it’s funny as hell.
Kate had the bright idea that after a day of non-stop walking that we should just walk back to the hotel. “Come on, it’s less than 500 meters,” she said. I swear to goodness that walk felt like 45 minutes. I joked that we had taken a journey trying to get to the Promised Land.
My first two days in Tokyo were excellent. Especially considering all of the nonsensical events that occurred leading up to this trip,(professor cursing at me, privileged classmates sending me FB messages telling me to be “more appreciative,” stalking me on Twitter to find dirt, and classmates sending my FB statuses to faculty members because I talked about race too much). Don’t worry, I will write about all of this in another blog, post my Tokyo trip. As a mature adult I was able to set those feelings aside for the sake of having a good trip.
Tokyo reminds me so much of New York. It is very modern, fast-paced and the fashion is super ridiculously sick! The main difference is Tokyo is immaculate and New York is filthy. It will be interesting to see how much more I will experience.
Stay tuned for more stories of my exploration of Tokyo…