Japan 2015: Day 1

I arrived in Tokyo early in the morning on 9 March and was greeting by 6-degree weather. Going from about 30°C to 6°C is rather a shock to the system. I like cool weather, but below 10 is a bit too cold.

I found myself feeling rather ill, partly because I hadn’t managed to sleep well on the plane. (I begin to wonder how I slept as well as I did on the flight the very first time I went to Japan…) My hotel room wasn’t ready when I got there (understandably) so I tried to nap in the hotel lobby for a while because I simply didn’t feel up to walking around in a half-asleep and unwell state. Eventually got myself up and out… and napped again on the 20-minute train ride to Shibuya. I think I actually slept better on the train because I felt a bit too self-conscious in the hotel lobby, whereas people sleeping on the train is utterly normal.

Walked around Shibuya for a bit – mainly went there to check out the Shibuya Hikarie, which is a mall known for having washrooms with different themes on each floor. Those toilets really are quite pretty, but I couldn’t really take pics because there were just so many people in the washrooms and queuing up to use them. It was Sunday, after all, and Shibuya was busy, busy, busy. You can see some pics here though.

I shopped a bit in Uniqlo then went back to the hotel, where my room was finally ready and I proceeded to sleep for several hours.

Woke up at nearly 8pm and eventually decided to go check out Tokyo’s lindy hop scene at a new monthly social called Noches Lindigos, run by one of Tokyo’s two main swing dance groups. Made a wrong choice in my trains and it ended up taking me 40+ minutes to get there (but only 20 minutes to get back! grrrr).

Only took 2 blurry photos, and this is the better one. It was a pity that I didn’t get there earlier, but it was a pretty fun one hour anyway :)

Some of them spoke English, but many did not. As a result, I discovered that I can carry very simple standard conversations in Japanese… Just past about four exchanges or so of the “Where are you from? How did you know about this event?” type of thing. At which point the other party gets a mistakenly inflated idea of my fluency and remarks that my Japanese is “very good!” I learnt that this sentence marks the point at which they will begin to discover that I am not actually all that great at it as they will start going on in more complex sentences and/or more complicated topics than I can handle and the conversation begins breaking down because either I cannot understand what they’re saying or I cannot respond because my vocabulary is too limited. ahahaha

The event ended at 10pm and this meant I got a few photos of Tokyo streets by night (about 10pm) on Sunday:

It was a tiny bit scary, walking by myself on such quiet streets at night with only Google Maps to help me, but fortunately Japan is a generally safe place.

I bet Shibuya’s crossing looked nothing like this at the same hour…

Kanda Station on the Yamanote line was pretty quiet too. Nice change from trying to cram oneself on a train with a mass of other people though.

About the difference in travel times: initially I opted to walk less, but the train station that was closer to the venue required me to change trains twice and I hadn’t realised that the interval between trains on those lines were longer so I had to wait quite a bit. On the way back, I decided to walk more and take fewer trains and that was ultimately the better choice (the cold weather made walking quite bearable anyway).

Got anything to add or say? :D