Oh Japan. There’s so much to say about today. It’s was just an amazingly jam-packed day, full of more than I could possibly fit into this post. But I’ll do my best!
My grandpa and I had a tour scheduled for the morning. It was a city tour and then a trip to Tokyo tower. We got up nice and early at 6:00am and met for breakfast at 6:30. As we arrived in the port, there were people outside banging on drums and welcoming us. They typically do that when we arrive someplace (which I think is really cool).
As we were eating breakfast, Dan invited Ben (the other kid on the ship) and myself to go out and explore the city after we got back from tour. It worked out pretty well that we had the city tour beforehand, because I got a really good lay of the land for explore later. We had a bus drive us around, narrating our route through the city all the way to Tokyo tower. Tokyo tower looks exactly like the Eiffel Tower, but in the middle of Tokyo. From the observation deck, we were able to look around and see just how massive of a city Tokyo really is. I’ve never seen anything like it before. As far as you could see were skyscrapers. Even in Sydney, which was a large city, you could see in the horizon where the buildings stopped and the city ended. But here it just went on forever!
Driving around was interesting because it was a fascinating mixture between the traditional Japanese culture and the modernized city life. Because America is such a young country, we don’t really have any ancient culture like some other places do. I find it really fascinating to see these buildings and style of architecture that are so unique and special to to Japan.
We got back to the ship and ate lunch then I met up with Dan and another couple who were coming along. Our plan was to visit the fish market (which Dan and I had driven past on the tour earlier, so we knew how to get there), and then visit Ginza (which is the iconic Times Square-esque area of Tokyo). The fish market was really facilitating. They really utilize every inch of restate here and that was especially evident in the back alleys that they used to set up shops. They were really only back-alleys in the sense that they were the space between buildings, but they were nothing like what we have at home. I don’t think there was a single, empty alleyway. Each one had shops or vending machines or something down them. It was so amazing to see.
After passing through the fish market, we separated from the other couple to go inside a mall type place. There was a lot of indoor restaurants and shops and even an art gallery. We stopped off to use some free wifi for a little bit and chatted. After that, we walked around some more and even decided to pop down and take a look at the subway system. Neither of us wanted to actually attempt to ride the subway, in fear of getting lost, but it was really fascinating to go down there and see all the hustle and bustle.
When we finally emerged from underground (it was a bit of a maze down there), we found ourselves in the heart of Ginza. It was awesome. The place was so busy. There were so many stores and shops and places I had no clue what they were. I’d never been in a large city like it. It was just incredible. And again, even with thousands of people and hundreds of stores, we were walking past a random noodle house and noticed a few passages from the ship. We popped inside to say hi. We even stopped in the Apple store (which was ginormous) and looked around. It was four stories tall.
We managed to get back to the ship without any problems. We actually only walked down the same street the entire time, so getting back was simple. We probably walked 7 miles or so in all. I was exhausted by the time that we got back to the ship. Apparently there was some really rough water that evening that people were having trouble sleeping through but after that day, I was knocked out!
Tokyo was really cool. I definitely want to go back and stay longer!