January 3 - Final Day

It was hard realizing that the moment I woke up this morning in bed, it would be the last day of my adventures here in Japan, a place where I’ve laughed and cried, learned and loved, experienced and lived. It has been a tremendous journey from the beginning, and the stories that I’ve made here will never be forgotten. 

I started off the day meeting the last few friends who could make it all the way to Tokyo from Tsuru and hung out one last time in Shinjuku, eating breakfast and taking pictures. Once it got to a certain point of the day, I had to leave them, but met up with my dear friend who would finally see me off. 

On a personal side, this friend has been with me even before I began to plan this trip to Japan. She has stuck with me through thick and thin and I would never be able to imagine my experience in Japan without her. I’m glad to have her in my life and I hope that she always will be.

As tearful goodbyes go, this one took the cake as the both of us stood on the train platform bawling our eyes out. We had both written each other goodbye letters, and to save from the tears while we were apart, we agreed to read it while we could still have each other’s company. 

Once everything was all checked in and ready to go, it was shocking to believe that as soon as it had seem to start, my eventful trip to Japan has finally come to a close. Sitting on the airplane, settling in to a 10 hour ride home, my mind filled with memories of all the people I’ve met and the adventures I’ve had. I was thankful for all that have helped me throughout this journey. Without them, it wouldn’t have been as amazing as it was.

Also, thank you to everybody who has followed and liked my photos. It means a lot to me, knowing that my hobby has been well received. As much as I have lagged on these posts for the past year, without the lingering pressure over my head that people would see this blog go unfinished, it couldn’t have been done without your support.

Until we meet again, farewell Japan.

January 2 - Yokohama

To spend my last full day in Japan, my dear friend took me out to Yokohama to go to the Cup Noodle and ramen museum. Considering this was the last full day, I couldn’t ask for more than good food and a very special friend to share it with. The memories I had today won’t be forgotten anytime soon. My only wish is that this day would never end.

January 1 - Kinki Kids Concert

As I was drunkenly stumbling my way back to the hostel, I decided that I should at least visit the shrine that I stayed so close to and ring in the new year like everyone else around me. However, I never realized how many people there would be and it turned out that I had to wait for an extra hour or so until it was my turn to get to the shrine as the line stretched all the way out into the streets. When I woke up the next morning, I tried to put myself together as much as I could and met with my host mom and her son at Tokyo Dome. The last time we met, she invited me to the Kinki Kids concert with her, and thinking that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea, I decided to go along. We spent the afternoon eating and shopping around the area in front of the venue, and when it was time to head in, we swiftly made our way to our wonderful arena seats. During the concert, it was incredibly energetic and fun, seeing the compassion of not only the artists, but also the fans as well. Although I fell asleep during one of their MCs, their music energized me enough to continue one with the rest of the concert. At the end of the day, I said my goodbyes to my host mom and had dinner at the chain restaurant Saizeriya once more.

December 31 - New Year’s Eve

Woke up to a bright day of going around and visiting some of the last places that I wanted to see before leaving Japan. Although New Year’s is a big holiday in Japan and as one would expect that people would be at home for the holidays, there were a good amount of people on the streets, shopping and visiting shrines. I was not an exception as my first destination was the Meiji shrine in Tokyo. Still a bit early, but it was nice to see such large grounds where people would be waiting later just to pray and welcome in the new year. Not realizing that the shrine was so close to Harajuku, I started to explore and see if there were any deals that I could have been able to grab at the last minute. Later on in the day, I went to a bar on the recommendation of a friend. After a somewhat small dinner at the bar due to high prices, I started to sample several beers, which this bar was known for. Having at least 70 beers on tap per day, the Bakushu Club Popeye did not disappoint in beer quality and selection, especially for me as I don’t usually drink beer. After a loud and rowdy ringing in of the new year, a large cup filled with beer was passed around the entire place, letting everyone take a sip for good luck.

December 30 - Last Visit to Tsuru

As my trip was winding down, I decided to visit my host mom one more time at her place. Although it was a slow day, I cherished every moment and was glad that I was able to come by one last time. It was sad saying goodbye, even though I knew that I’d be seeing her again in a couple days. It was embarrassing riding the train home in tears. @__@

December 29 - Capsule Station

I decided to do some last minute shopping for souvenirs for some friends back home today. All my large suitcases have already been packed to the weight limit, along with an extra suitcase I needed to get in order to fit my clothes. I thought about the capsule toy store in Akihabara and headed there as it seems like I would be able to fit a couple capsules into my backpack. When I found the place, it was much smaller than I imagined, but more condensed with these machines, stacking until they hit the ceiling. It was amazing seeing the variety of capsules as well, ranging from characters and things from television shows, anime, and video games. There were many wacky capsule toys, but there were also a good amount of 18+ rated capsule machines as well.

December 28 - Quiet Night

Starting from tonight, I would be staying at Sakura Hostel. My friend had found me a wonderful deal where I would be able to stay a week for less than $200 US. Being in Asakusa, it gave off a very touristy feel. Many foreigners and English speaking staff made it a bit easier to communicate, but after being away from other foreign people for awhile, I started to feel a bit alienated…

December 27 - Nightly Asakusa
Started to move some of my luggage to the hostel where I would be staying for the rest of my trip in Japan. Sad times, but this would be what I will be seeing on my walks back to bed.

December 27 - Nightly Asakusa

Started to move some of my luggage to the hostel where I would be staying for the rest of my trip in Japan. Sad times, but this would be what I will be seeing on my walks back to bed.

December 26 - Asakusa

I met with my friends from Tsuru for a fun trip around Tokyo. Incidentally, it ended up only being in the Asakusa area. Shopping and trying out tons of food, it was nice to get the chance to spend some time actually shopping for myself and gifts for friends back home. At the end of the day, we all tried some chocolate fondue at the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar. Complete decadence. 

December 25 - 4th Tour in DOME

Knowing that I probably couldn’t take my DSLR into the venue, I only used my phone today. However, in my excitement, I also forgot to take pictures with the only picture being the entrance and how close I was to the stage.