Tokyo here I come!

In my last post about Japan, I wished the country a speedy recovery after the large quake and tsunami. I figure the best thing that I could do for the Land of the Rising Sun is to go visit so I’m doing my part by visiting Tokyo, Japan next week! I first went to Japan as a wide-eyed nine year old in the early seventies. I was struck by the taxis that had automated doors opening and closing as well as the huge array of sweets and battery operated toys (remember, nine year old and not interested in food or the latest fashion trends)!

Well, I’m all grown up now, with matured interests and a change of toys ūüôā So, for my first ‘adult’ visit to Tokyo, I started searching the net and was quickly inundated with a ton of information about the country. ¬†Lucky for me, I found one site by Danny Choo, an Asian who resides in Tokyo and runs a small web and TV production company called Mirai Inc. His company’s main focus is to share Japanese culture with the world though web, TV, print and conferences. ¬†Through his site I’ve discovered interesting new places to visit as well as food to look out for! ¬†So what am I going to indulge in when I hit Tokyo? ¬†For one, the food…glorious food….

Yakitori is everywhere and is best washed down with cold Japanese beer – Sapporo or Kirin. ¬†The produce is so fresh and the food styling and display, so appealing! ¬†Makes you want to devour everything in sight ūüôā

A re-visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market is also a must for this upcoming trip. ¬†Can’t wait to get there early in the morning to slurp down a piping hot bowl of ramen before picture foraging in the lanes! ¬†Here is a lane in the market:

Another good site to visit is Japan National Tourism Organisation where it provides you with up to date information as well as historical facts and backgrounders to the places to visit.  Japan has 14 locations listed as UNESCO Heritage sites.  I was fortunate that a friend of ours brought us to Nikko, one of the UNESCO heritage sites, in our last visit to Tokyo.  Part shrine and park, I was struck by the great beauty, serenity and landscape of the place.

This is Tokugawa Ieyasu’s resting place, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.

I’m going to try to visit all of them at some point! ¬†The city landscape of Tokyo is itself interesting. ¬†Here are some pictures to show for it. ¬†You can be in an urban city setting and then take a short train ride to a beautiful park in the middle of the city. ¬†And there are lots of parks to enjoy as well. ¬†Perhaps it is the foresight of city planners to provide green space so that stressed out and tired workers have serene surroundings to de-stress and think.

This black and white picture was taken in the New Year of 2010 at Meiji Jingu. ¬†It was crowded but the atmosphere and light was beautiful. ¬†Every Sunday, one can view the Harajuku ‘kids’ who go there dressed up in the most outrageous costumes. ¬†I guess it’s an outlet for self-expression. ¬†I quite like the hair of this particular goth-like person:

Speaking of cute, Japan also has some very cute shops and signage. ¬†Sometimes, it looks like a ‘lost in translation’ sign! ¬†None the less, they are not offensive.

Now if only the Happy Factory offered mood makeovers – I would whiz through it like a car wash and come out a happy person! ¬†Now THAT would be cool….more to look at in the next post. ¬†Enjoy the pictures!