By Keira Louis
Steeped in tradition and culture, but driven by modern, and somewhat futuristic, technology, Japan is quite an amazing country. Despite having visited this place 4 times before, my experience is always unique and I’m always intrigued by this paradoxical society. This time, however, my experience was heightened by travelling with 3 companions – Adam, Adam’s brother Josh and his girlfriend, Lauren. It’s funny how much more you become aware of when you travel in a group of 4 people, each with different interests, each observing their surroundings in different ways. And it was great to be able to share these experiences with each other.
Four days in Tokyo wasn’t enough time to explore all it had to offer, but we did a pretty good job at trying!
Although we were based in Asakusa, our first Sunday saw us at lunch in Ginza with Aoki san, a Japanese lady who had previously stayed with my family in Brisbane for 2 weeks. As is Japanese custom, her and her 2 friends shouted the 4 of us lunch at a great buffet-style restaurant which was very nice.
After lunch we were taken to a lovely little art gallery owned by one of the ladies’ friends, where we observed different forms of jewellery and lacquer ware at very expensive prices. It is always an honour for the Japanese to host Gaijins (foreigners) in any way they can, so naturally, at the end of our visit, we were presented with Green Tea, sweets and small gifts as a token of their thanks and appreciation.
We finished the day at Harajuku where we observed the art of ‘Cosplay’ (costume play). Young Japanese 20-somethings dress up in wild attire to pose for photos with both tourists and the Japanese. A sight to be seen!
During our remaining time in Tokyo, we ventured to Shibuya, home of the famous 5 way crossing; Akihabara, the technology centre of Japan; Ropongi, where we could view Tokyo at night from Tokyo Tower, 150m above ground level; and of course, Lauren and my favourite place, Tokyo Disneyland. We wished we could have stayed longer.