Yesterday I arrived in Tokyo but was too tired to update after so much walking – my apologies for that. These past few days have been quite hectic but fun. I met three of the other volunteers in the airport and we all caught the dreaded 12 hour plane together. When we finally arrived in Hong Kong, we got to spend some time wandering around the city. I’ve never been to Asia before so it was an entirely new experience for me. As the flight was late at night we even got to see the buildings light up! I also noticed that there were a lot of Japanese restaurants and bakeries everywhere so it almost felt like we were already in Japan. We then took our flight to the real Japan which was blissfully much shorter than the previous flight at only five hours including an hour’s delay. I swear after this trip I’ll never complain about flights under 10 hours long again. We arrived in Tokyo at around 7am and with plenty of time to spare we decided to drop off our bags at the hostel and do a little sightseeing. Both days have been quite similar so I won’t go into too much detail about each one but the highlights are definitely worth mentioning. Tokyo is an incredible city, merging together ancient and modern with both neon lights and sacred temples existing right next to each other. Our hostel is conveniently located right by a train station so visiting attractions was easy. We managed to see Akihabara (anime heaven), Asakusa (a temple with giant red lanterns), the Tokyo Skytree and Shibuya (famous for its crossing as well as giant neon lights). Out of all of these I enjoyed Asakusa best as it was filled with interesting little shops selling cute things like charms, yukatas and lucky cats. I even got to pick out my fortune – I got bad luck yesterday but after tying my note to a post and bribing the gods with an offering of 5 yen I managed to get a ‘best luck’ sheet today. Hopefully this is a good omen for the Yamagata project.
I should also mention that the food has been amazing; even convenience stores sell food of good quality and we’ve practically lived off of them since coming here. So far I’ve tried a variety of dishes from omurice to daikon salad and I can’t say I’ve disliked anything. Before coming I was concerned about eating nothing but Japanese food for four weeks, but if all the meals are of this standard then I will be very happy. Tomorrow is our last morning in Tokyo before we head off to Yamagata. I personally can’t wait to get started although I know it’s going to be challenging. My group are very nice and I feel lucky to be able to experience such amazing things with them. Or maybe that’s just the good fortune talking…either way, see you in Yamagata for the next update!