After a whirlwind trip to Tokyo, here are my 5 favorite experiences from the orient!
Food - Fast, Fresh & Plastic
The Vend - Japan happens to be the vending machine capital of the world, offering 5.6 million servant robots countrywide. Thats 1 for every 23 people. For instance, you can get your thirst quenched by a drink, both hot or cold from the vend, but you can also buy a loaf of fresh bread, a burger, sushi, and wait for it ... a beer. But why stop there? You can buy make-up, electronics, books - i mean dream it, and there is a vending machine for it!
So Fresh & So Clean - No matter where you go for feasting in Tokyo, every component is fresh and prepared with the utmost care. From traditional Japanese meals to Japan's version of a burger & fries. The sushi is dreamy (duh-thats a given) and even Japan's golden arches will make your mouth water for some McNuggets. Not only is it fresh, but also prepared like art.
Plastic - Its just really cool seeing your complete menu in true to scale plastic replicas. We all just need more plastic food in our lives! Take a look at the wall of plastic crepes (top left) and plastic gyoza - fried dumplings (top right).
Culture - Kind hospitality and the notorious peace sign
Hospitality - Being in Japan, I was immediately captivated and touched by a people steeped in such strong value and character. The quietness is so loud with servant hearts, and kindness. While in Tokyo, we had the privilege of visiting family friends for shopping in Kawagoe and snacks in her home. Kindness and concern for others color all that they do in Japan and it is beautiful! Thank you Mariko and Yoko for spending the day with us :)
The Peace Sign - No matter where you are, you just feel compelled to throw the peace ALL THE TIME. One experiences a deeper connection to Japan and it's people through this simple gesture. (My husband even did it!)
Space Toilets of the future
Normally here in the U.S. one would avoid a public bathroom at all costs, however, not the case in Tokyo. I may be seen guzzling ridiculous amounts of water just for an excuse to run to the restroom! They smell heavenly, some are adorned with modern colored lighting and frosted glass, and SO many gadgets. So in the name of getting in touch with native culture, why not?
If you are pee shy, not to worry, just hit the music note. It will play a song to help ease your public peeing jitters.
It is also a bidet for that squeaky clean feeling. Some even have a dryer too!
Warming toilet seat for those cold winter days just makes life better!
Most stalls have a cleaner and wipe used to sanitize the seat for the next patron. I mean how kind?
Last but not least, a button that perfumes the stall after the inevitable... Have they not thought of everything?!?!?!?
Japanese super toilets...we need them!
You can be weird but just be quiet
Im a bit weird naturally, which is why I think Tokyo was such a great place. There are all kinds of fashion statements around every corner: socks with high heels, adults swooning over Hello Kitty in full garb, girls dressed as dollies, and much more. All this loud expression in a quiet place was intriguing.
It is a social norm to be quieter in public spaces such as the train, restaurants, etc... So practicing your inside voice will help you avoid long awkward stares with the natives.
Again, in the name of getting better acquainted with culture, I had to partake in the adult Hello Kitty frenzy. In Shibuya (a busy sect of Tokyo) I had my nails adorned with the most beautiful jewels and doodads. She sculpted each Hello Kitty by hand with acrylic powder and spent 3 hours. Aren't they beautiful? This happened to be my splurge in Japan, as I miscalculated the Yen to USD...
Clean & Tidy
Everything is so clean and organized, freshly painted and neat. People scrub their driveways and their business fronts-daily. It is rooted in their deep values and taught at an early age. In primary school they practice serving and taking care of one another, and tidying up their spaces. As Japanese age into adulthood, their concern and value of others makes Japan a beautiful and lovely place!
Check out this video of what is taught in Japanese Primary schools!
And because you cannot really just name 5 things you love about a spectacularly wonderful place, here is a video of our adventure to Tokyo, the city that can't be finished.
Video Credit: Justin McNeel