Japan has always fascinated us. Admiring its culture, food and scenery from afar. That’s why we were thrilled to visit Tokyo and eat tons of sushi (as Erin planned).
While in New Zealand, I have reached out to a Facebook group concerning Japan and realized that it was too late to follow most of the tips given. I was worried.
No, this Nanay was not Japan ready.
We arrived in Tokyo on the first day of November and stayed for three days in Tokyo 2020 hostel. Our room has a bunk bed for our daughters and a tatami for the adults. There are common bathrooms in every floor and a kitchen downstairs.Laundry service is also available. My husband and I hanged our clothes at the rooftop, all the while enjoying the view.
During our stay, I would take our two luggage outside our room in the morning as we get ready for our day trip. We were not spoiled with room space here in Tokyo. However, our host,Tom and Kimiko, were very helpful and accommodating. Moreover,we have met fellow Pinoys in the hostel, making me feel closer to my home country everyday.
We did not purchase JR pass or bought the IC card. No pocket wifi neither. What we did was purchase our tickets every time we’d use the public transportation. With regards to directions, I googled our itinerary and screened shot everything and use our hostel’s wifi connection. I had some difficulty with Maps.me, so I gave it up entirely.
Of course, we would get lost or even perhaps looked helpless at times,but what fascinated me was- there would always be someone who would offer an unsolicited help EVERY TIME. If and when we were lost, this was a privileged time for me to unlearn my being introvert.
I was keen for the girls to experience Japan. Knowing our youngest loves sushi, I booked us an Airbnb experience on our 2nd day. I have proposed several activities to Ate K. but she declined. There was no Mangga drawing course.
That night, my heart was bursting with joy as my daughter, Erin and I walked back to the hostel. She was cheerful and appreciative of our experience. For her, Nanay is the best.
Then we got lost. Yet there were kind hearted souls to help us and language barrier was not a hindrance for them.
In our 2nd day, we took the girls to Legoland and bought a combined tickets for that and Madame Tussauds. At the end of the tour, we all agreed that the Discovery Center was not for their age bracket anymore.
However, we all enjoyed Madame Tussauds. No doubt about that even if Hugh Grant was not there. Anyway, I found Victoria B. but some tired dads were sitting next to her while their kids were strutting on the floor, so I just admired her composed figure from afar and promised to see her soon.
After sitting with President Obama and rocking with Madonna, we went back to Shibuya, eager to find this sushi train TripAdvisor has recommended. We found it but not without difficulty, blame it to my map expertise. Anyway, arriving on the 8th floor, the queue was so long. We waited for Carlo to finish his cigarette (yes, smoking room on that floor!) and decided that we would not wait anymore. We went to another resto nearby, disappointed.
After crossing Shibuya for the 2nd time, we went to get our books from the Kinokuniya bookstore. Then took the train at the Shinjuku station.
We also planned to meet my college friend,Myra. We became friends during our freshman year along with 5 other girls.
She came bearing gifts of matcha tea, noris, a casserole pan and other Japanese goodies. Well, the pan..we bought some rice and I asked her if she could lend us one from her home.
It was an emotional reunion. The night was not enough for both of us,there were so many stories to be shared and reminisced. So the following night we had drinks and I spent the night with her and her family. She also joined us in our mini exploration of the city.
During our last night in Nagoya, she treated us for our long awaited sushi train dinner.
The next day, our tribe had a quick afternoon visit to the Atsuta Jingu shrine.
After Nagoya, we went back to Tokyo. We have booked at the Relief Premium hotel for the night.
The friendly staff, pointed us to the right direction and offered some activities. A few minutes after settling in our hotel,we went back to the tourist office and the four of us immersed ourselves in folding, cutting and sticking beautiful Japanese papers.
I could stay all afternoon in that center, creating anything. But after making our origami, Japanese fans and playing the chopstick game (Karen and I won), we went to explore the neighborhood and Daiso. Then walked back to our hotel,pleased with our day & mesmerized by the night lights.
Love and drama
Everything enthralled us, from the vending machines to 7-11, from our hostel’s luggage lift to the bathroom. We are in awe!
However,the day would sometimes not go as planned. There would be kids’ drama and helplessness for us, parents. We’d extend our vocal chords then practiced patience all over again. Yes, we are constantly learning with our children.
Giving them more love. Remembering that a few days back we were told that we were the best parents in this whole wide world . 😉 No voice records for that but they said it anyway and that’s enough for us. 💖
The following day at 6h in the morning, we were on our way to the airport. Next destination: Hanoi, Vietnam.