Saturday, April 23, 2011

SG-KR-JP: not quite the end

I should really be studying for my GMAT, but I really can't seem to find the motivation. So I thought I would post a short blog instead.

My travels in Tokyo thus far have been fantastic. It definitely felt a little strange when I first arrived, but it really did not take long to get used to how everything works here again (it's still so damn organised!). And I think especially coming from Seoul where the language barrier was quite difficult at times, being able to speak and understand the people around you is a great feeling :)

Everytime I come to Japan, I always manage to find myself impressed by the level of service that is just considered "normal". It's so refreshing to have people who genuinely want to help you, even if they are selling you stuff. I mean, I think I fell in love with a clothing store assistant the other day... and ended up buying 3 more shirts than I need (or have space to fit into my luggage) - but hey when they super helpful and cute it's a bit hard to say no right...

Anyway, it's time for some photos. I've realised that I have a massive shortage of photos from Japan (compared to my effort in Korea) - so these unfortunately don't capture a lot of the best parts of my trip (e.g. I seem to have forgotten to actually take photos with people a lot of the time which is a shame). But still, some pictures is better than no pictures right?

My good friend Yuki from the Keio Badminton Club at Ueno Station, after a nice meal at a local izakaya.

A shot of the illuminated trees on top of Yebisu Garden Place (kind of a shopping / restaurant building). I took this shot after a great dinner with Sohei at the Yebisu beer garden. I am still not 100% sure if they actually brew Yebisu and Sapporo beer there, but they definitely serve plenty of it. Dinner was an interesting mix of international food which ranged from German fried potatoes to Korean dolsot bibimbap.

My cousin, Bernard, and I at HUB (a "British Pub" chain that seems to have become extremely popular around Tokyo). And you are probably thinking "why would you two go to a British Pub chain in Tokyo?" It was the only place we could find serving drinks that was nearby. And we did at least drink Japanese beer there :P

This was an Okinawa sashimi moriawase platter (basically just assorted sashimi) I had with my other good friend Yuki (different Yuki from above) at a cool little izakaya in the Shinmaru building. The most interesting part for me was the stuff on the left which are called umebudou (literally sea grapes). They are some sort of seaweed variety but they do look a lot like tiny grapes. Really nice but no, they don't taste at all like the stuff you make wine out of haha

And finally, I did end up managing to see some sakura in Tokyo! Really big thanks to Sohei for being as helpful a guide as ever. We had to trudge through wind, rain and mud in the Hamarikyu Gardens to find these (the cherry blossom trees have already bloomed and wilted in most other parts of the city). But it was definitely worth it. In the picture below are (I think) yaezakura, which are a slightly different variety from the smaller more common type.

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