Rob Steiner 2017-04-11

Off to Tokyo, Japan for one of my first huge vacation outside the United States! A very long two weeks of relaxing all over the surrounding Tokyo area with my girlfriend! Time to hit up all sorts of food, visit all sorts of places, make friends with locals, and enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival festivities!

I wanted our trip to be a little budget friendly, but still get to experience whatever we wanted. Luckily, we made big off of our plane tickets… I mean huge. $450 round trip huge. That’s more than 50% off the normal ticket price in our area! To compound on top of that, we knew AirBnB would certainly help us save some cash and possibly meet some awesome locals! We saved huge on just these two things and didn’t lose any value to our trip, if anything we gained a really unique experience from it.

I mean, if we would have stayed at a hotel we would not have had the chance of meeting our first host Takaya! Who gladly taught us how to write our names in Kanji and how to cook yummy Takoyaki (octopus balls)!

It was freaking awesome! Something I’ll never forget. Especially our really exciting time at the karaoke bar… Which by the way is one of the best activities to pass time in Japanese culture. They love it! Personal room for friends with catering and outfits!

Our first host really helped us get settled into Tokyo. We decided to book three hosts in total in three different parts of Tokyo. The second host, well, there was no host. It was just a room that we helped ourselves into and locked behind us… Was weird. We did lots of walking from there though.

We skipped out on the metro a few times and just walked through neighborhoods. It paid off a few times with finding cute restaurants or beer vending machines! Nothing like cracking a cold one with the girl in the streets of Tokyo while making a 40 minute hike… Worth.

Even walking around in the cities you’ll find weird things in weird places… Like this alley way underneath a highway bridge that was buzzing with cars above! Those are all restaurants. Very peaceful places, surprisingly with the cars buzzing just above your head!

Which leads me to my favorite part about the trip… Food! Or, mostly… RAMEN! I couldn’t even count how many noodle dishes I consumed while visiting. I couldn’t get enough. Nothing compares. My girlfriend wasn’t nearly as thrilled as me, which hurt my feelings. She did however enjoy our sushi experience!

We can officially say we both tried horse meat… Crazy. Was actually pretty good. The Sushi Chef at this restaurant looked at us with dismay, but we nodded our heads yes and went with it! Besides the horse meat, we were grabbing just about everything off the sushi belt and giving it a try. Nothing to over the top crazy, but a few I left to my girlfriend to try. I’m not a brave man.

Like, who eats a tuna that big? Just kidding. Neither did we. That is the “Catch of the Day” for one of the small shops in the Tokyo Fish Market! Huge. I didn’t know tuna could even get that big. It was yummy though. We ate a whole lot of raw tuna while at that fish market. I didn’t think I would enjoy, but I even enjoyed it greater than the girlfriend!

And of course, I took the lady out for a fancy meal in Tokyo… Fancy as in you cook your own food at your table! These are really popular restaurants around Japan and I wanted to give it a try. Notoriously expensive, but well worth the experience. The old Japanese lady didn’t speak any English, but she sat with us and showed the ropes to cooking stuff. She even convinced me to consume raw egg. I’m still alive. I was certain it was trap though.

With all that food in our tummies, it was time to hit up some tourist hot spots and see some cool things around Tokyo. One of my favorite places we went was the Imperial Palace. The gardens were so beautiful and peaceful. The grass was a mesmerizing yellowish color and extremely flat. Almost didn’t feel real. The Japanese have their yard work on point.

We also seen a fair share of shrines and temples all over the place. The smell of incents burning or bells being rung was never far away. One of my favorite places of worship that we found was this Chinese Shrine in the China Town of Tokyo.

But now, one the coolest places we went was the Cat Cafe! You show up, take your shoes off, get cat ears, buy some coffee, and find a seat to pet some cats while sipping. It was bizarre. It was pretty busy too! My only problem with the whole thing, I’m pretty sure the cats were drugged… Who knows, but I don’t know any cat that acts like these cats!

With all that, I guess I forgot to mention why we even chose Tokyo! We landed these great flight deals during the Cherry Blossom Festival and I absolutely adore Japan. I grew up there was a kid and have very fond memories. It was a great experience to finally go back and especially amazing to spend with my adorable girlfriend.