What an Experience: Winter in Tokyo Part 1
I mentioned two posts ago that I was bound for Tokyo for a short vacation. The trip was actually a Christmas gift from my sister, who, bless her heart, knows how desperately I wanted to visit Japan since we were little kids. (If you’re reading this, thank for the chance of the lifetime! I enjoyed every second spent with you in such a beautiful city.)
To be honest, I don’t travel overseas a lot. In fact, the last time I was out of the tropics was in 2010, when my sister and I headed to Hong Kong weeks before the Chinese Christmas for a vacation. I really ought to travel more. The change of scenery was really good for my soul.
I really cannot articulate how beautiful the city was, how amazing the sights were or how chic the Japanese are. Tokyo inspired me in so many ways!
The best thing about the Japanese is that they were able to incorporate urban living with nature. They have their skyscrapers and no-nonsense, fast-paced lifestyle, but they are never afraid to strip down to the basics with their large parks, animal sanctuaries, botanical gardens, etc.
And speaking of gardens, one of the first things we visited in Shinkuju was the Shinjuku Gyoen, which is a sprawling park with ponds, lakes, and dense woodland. We were lucky enough to catch the last days of fall so we saw the changing colors of the leaves!
Of course, I literally came to Tokyo for the food and I was not disappointed. We tried the ramen, curry, katsus, desserts, and of course, sushi.
We had sushi at swanky Ginza before heading to Tsukiji the day after. I mistakenly entered the closed sushi resto and was told through hand signals that the shop is still closed. The sushi master must’ve remembered our faces when we returned because he was a bit snooty while preparing our food. But the older chef (which, we assumed is his dad) was so gracious about the whole thing. He even watched over us as we ate and helped me get off my seat when we were leaving.
The sushi is fresh, but we thought the sushi maker went overboard with the wasabi slightly.
My sister and I also dropped by various sweet and pastry shops for pasalubong.
We thought the sushi from Ginza was already a killer but boy, we were wrong! When we headed to Tsukiji the day after, our minds were blown.
Although there are a lot of sushi stalls in the market, the most popular are Sushidai and Daiwa Sushi. We were supposed to go to Sushidai, but we got there too late. The shop no longer receives diners so we went to Daiwa Sushi instead.
According to my sister, Daiwa Sushi’s owner is the son of the sushi master and owner of Sushidai. Sushidai is one of the best sushi places in the entire country. His son’s shop is the second.
Daiwa Sushi’s sushi is so fresh, sweet, and scrumptious. I just cannot. We literally stood up in line in the bitter cold for an hour and a half before being seated. Let me tell you, the resto does not look much but the sushi makers are so friendly. They kept throwing Tagalog words when they found out that we are Chinese-Filipino and not Japanese. Our sushi maker introduced each sushi before presenting it. And each one is a knockout.
I took pictures, but the sushis are not photogenic. But, again, I cannot.
My sister and I also combed through Ginza, Shibuya and Shinkuju until our legs fell off. Ginza is such a dangerous place for shopaholics T^T there are loads of upscale malls, boutiques, and luxury brands.
We visited a popular wasteland along the alleys of Shibuya. The entire strip is literally brimming with local goods, tourists, students, and otakus. SRSLY. I couldn’t even take pictures because I was afraid I might elbow someone’s face when I take shots, it was that packed.