Sights and sounds of Japan

After amazing day-long adventures in Beijing and Shanghai, I had no idea what to expect going to Japan. Beijing set such a high bar with the visit to The Great Wall, and the Yu Yuan street market in Shanghai was full of some of the yummiest food I’ve ever had! Even with these adventures in China under my belt, nothing could’ve prepared me for the few hours of free time I had in Japan.

First stop was to Shinjuku, home to the busiest subway station in the world! It was incredible (and a little overwhelming) to see huge crowds of people in every direction, while also being screamed at by brights signs, lights, and blaring music from outdoor speakers at every corner.

Japan visitng Shinjuku
My go-to blanket scarf of all time (similar from LuLu*s)

Truthfully, I couldn’t quite focus on anything that was happening around me while walking around in Shinjuku. With all the lights and sounds and colours screaming from every wall – while trying to dodge people on the sidewalk – I am shocked that I noticed this Neko Atsume claw game in the doorway of an arcade. After being obsessed with the Neko Atsume game on my iPhone for almost all of 2015 (cut the “addiction” in November of last year), it was so cute to see how the game has blown up with its own merchandise!

japan neko atsume cat claw game
It’s “Tubs” in hat form! hehe

Before heading out of Shinjuku, a stop off at Squall Cafe was a must! I had never heard of Squall Cafe before getting out on the street, but the beautiful brick toast in their signage drew me in. As someone who grew up snacking on the Taiwanese version of the condensed milk on brick toast dessert, this cafe’s take on the dessert took it to a whole new level. Look at the size of this thing! It’s as big as my face (and it was absolutely delicious)!

japan squall cafe honey toast
The next stop was Harajuku, the city known for its trend setting and great shopping. We went to Takeshita St, which is the shopping district littered with boutiques, yummy snacks, and the most incredible people watching.

Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to take many photos of anything while here. As you can probably tell from the frame above, it was so crowded! Takeshita St is a pedestrian-only, where the huge amounts of people in every direction felt like being squished in a can of sardines, and we were the sardines. It was hard to veer off to get to shops, or even stop to tie a shoe lace, when it felt like any pace that went against the rest of the crowd would get you trampled on! Never have I experienced anything remotely similar to this.

I hope to someday come back to Japan to explore all that it has to offer. Until then, I will relish in the memories from the few hours of getting to explore freely!

japan packing lightly
If there’s anything that I regret from the two weeks spent in Asia this year, it would be traveling so lightly. Even though the single backpack and small carry-on roller was perfect for running around airports and not having to ever wait at a baggage carousel, it wasn’t very souvenir-friendly. I didn’t have much space to bring home as many goodies as I would’ve liked to, but hoping this is a good excuse for going back to Japan again in the near future!

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  • Wow- you managed to see so much of eastern Asia in this trip- three major cities. That dessert looks unreal!

    • The dessert was CRAZY!! Never had a brick toast dessert like this one before and wishing I could go back right about now for a piece. :)