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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!
This is my experience and some photos of my first trip to Japan a few weeks ago in January. I hope you enjoy it!

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It all started in Monterrey (my hometown) from where I took a short flight to Mexico City and then a 15 hour long flight to Narita International Airport. To be honest my flight experience was not the best, not because of the airline or airports, but I guess I was not ready to be stuck in a plane for such a long time. The flight was fully booked and my seat was next to the window so everytime I wanted to walk around a bit I had to wake up the two guys next to me so I could get to the aisle/restroom (I only did it a couple of times so I would not became annoying). I don't know if it was because I was really excited and impatient to get to Japan that I could not sleep very well in the plane. The food was average, a weird mix between mexican-japanese flavors.

DSC_0660 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

At the end it was all worth it. I left Mexico City around midnight and arrived at Narita around 6:00 am, but 6:00 am of the the following day. I "lost" an entire day due to the flight duration and the time zone differences. I was sort of getting part of that time back in my return trip. After a really quick check at migration I made a quick stop at the restroom to freshen up and immediately bought my bus ticket to Tokyo Station.

DSC_0666 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

The view from Narita to central Tokyo was amazing, to see how "urban" everything became the closest we got to the station was just incredible. I was so excited to start my adventure that I almost forgot my carry on backpack in the bus. :lol: But this is when it got complicated. It was my fault for not being completely prepared with my hostel's address and how to get there from the station, but I honestly thought it was going to be easier to use the WiFi in the city. I still don't know if it was just a problem with my phone, but I just could not connect to any wifi hotspot. Usually all the available ones appear in a list, you click on the one you want to connect to and it takes you to a sort of login site where you agree to terms and conditions so they let you use the network. But that was not working for me, no site appeared, it was just a message from Google saying that the website couldn't be displayed. Even if I had the name of the station closest to my hostel I would not have known in which direction to walk to if I had the chance to get there. After about half an hour of wandering through the station trying every single wifi spot I found, I remembered that yahoo was still really big in Japan. I chose a hotspot, the google message showed up again, but now I typed "yahoo.com" in the search bar, and suddenly it worked, the log in website showed up. :nuts:

I finally got to my hostel. Because it was still really early check-in was not yet possible, so I only left my luggage, grabbed my camera and stepped outside and start exploring the streets of Tokyo...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great pictures! Did you decide to take a bus because it was more direct to your hotel?
Arigatou! :cheers2:

The bus was the cheapest and most comfortable option. There were other economic train options to take me to Tokyo Station, but those were regular commuter trains, with several stops along the way and since it was around 7:00 am in a weekday I thought they could be quite crowded.


Thanks for sharing your beautiful trip photos. I do hope you had a wonderful time despite the long flight to get there.
Thanks! :cheers2:
I did, they were some of the best days of my life. I dreamed with this trip for years, and even with my high expectations Japan did not let me down at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One of the things I loved about Tokyo is how distinctive each neighborhood is. Walking around Nihonbashi (and the area surrounding Tokyo Station in general) was really cool, lots of business men and women going out to grab lunch all dressed up (lots of handsome men too :lol:), the combination of contemporary and modern architecture, with even some examples of traditional japanese and european buildings too was amazing. This was the heart of the city and maybe even Japan. In Mexico the center of any city is always a historic heritage zone, in some cases they even haven't change at all for centuries and the financial districts are in the outskirts of the cities, this type of business and energy ambiance was new and exciting for me.

This was the first impression of Tokyo and Japan I had, very clean, organized, efficient, as if everything was already rehearsed, but not in a bad way at all.

The Kyobashi Edogrand project is one of my favorites from the recent highrises built in the city. Since I saw it growing through the updates in this forum I was amazed at the quality of the intervention and how it merged with the surrounding city. This level of excecution, design and materials is not something you find everyday.

DSC05620 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05626 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05624 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05652 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05666 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05667 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05634 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05656 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the thread. I'm getting ready for my first time in Japan and Tokyo and this will help me to get a little more familiar :)
I'm no expert, but I'll be happy to help in anything regarding your trip! :)

I think Tokyo has a special type of appeal in winter, all of the images convey a super-crisp feeling to them. I'm glad you had favorable weather.
What I love about the images is how sophisticated people dress and the businesses are fancy.
I certainly love cold weather, so it was perfect for me. However, in a few days you will see how the snow became a major problem :lol: The way people dressed really impressed me too, I don't enjoy taking pictures of people, so it's a shame I can't communicate that through my photos as I would want to.

I could live in Tokyo / Japan just because of that. :) Thank you for your winter photos. :cheers:
You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoy them. :cheers2:
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Next stop was Ginza.

I enjoy window-shopping a lot and the variety, design and quality of japanese goods and it's display is just superb. I went into Itoya, Mitsukoshi, Tokyu Ginza, Ginza Six and at the end Uniqlo and Tsutaya (the only places where I actually bought something :lol:). I was really impressed, they transform shopping into a whole new experience, unlike other high-end shopping districts I've visited in other parts of the world (where I usually feel like an intruder) here most sales associates were kind and friendly (and that was before I realized how cold Tokyoites are compared to people from Osaka and other parts of Japan). And it was not just about "shopping", the atrium of Ginza SIX is worth the visit alone to the complex, when you add the terrace with the panoramic views it gets just better. And the same goes with Tokyu Ginza.

Many people see Japanese as very straight and "square" thinking people, with very few room for improvisation or imagination. However, wandering through Ginza (and I felt the same later on in Harajuku, Shibuya, etc) you can see how creative and innovative they can be. They way they can fit so much "design" (in all the ways you can understand it) in a single square meter of land is amazing to me. Maybe they don't showcase it in the same way american "innovators" do, maybe instead of working in the relaxed and casual way westerners do, they manage to find solutions and approaches through hard work and more structured methods, but the results are just as good, if not better.

DSC05748 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05756 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05762 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05793 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05803 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05807 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC05815 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Day 1: Random Pictures

I made a quick stop at the tourist information center at Ginza SIX, they told me Tsukiji was partially closed because of New Year's holiday so the visit was not going to worth it. I headed back to the hostel to finally check-in and take my luggage to my bunk. After some rest I made my way to Shinjuku later that night, but first a random selection of pictures from my phone:

1. I found really strange the fact that you can buy ice in this presentation. :lol: I've never seen that in my life before. I don't have pictures but it was in this visit to the 7 Eleven that I fell in love with Melon Soda and a bread that's filled with corn and mayo. :drool:

DSC_0670 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

2. After my first encounter with a Japanese automatic toilet, I started to realize how small some things can get to be in Japan.

DSC_0686 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

3. Couple of shots in Shinjuku with my phone:

DSC_0677 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

DSC_0679 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr

4. My first Japanese (?) dinner. I still don't know how it's called, but this was in a Sukiya on my way to the station. Simply delicious. Do japanese people like Tabasco sauce? After I told the lady that was helping me that I came from Mexico she told me to put Tabasco on the bowl, that I would like it more. I guess it was because people assume mexican people like spicy stuff? However Tabasco is neither mexican nor spicy :lol: It tasted great with and without it.

DSC05817 by Roy Vidales, en Flickr
 

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Excellent photos, you have a good eye for photography. I'm impressed with the phone camera you have! Looking forward to seeing more.........I'm going back myself at the end of March for Hanami season so your thread will be good for inspiration :colgate:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Excellent photos, you have a good eye for photography. I'm impressed with the phone camera you have! Looking forward to seeing more.........I'm going back myself at the end of March for Hanami season so your thread will be good for inspiration :colgate:
Thanks! My phone is a Sony, japanese quality (?) :lol:

Melon Soda is my Japanese guilty pleasure. :yes:
I wanted to bring some bottles to Mexico with me, but I didn't find any on my last day :eek:hno:
 

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