Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My First Impressions on Japan

We arrived in Tokyo's Narita Airport in Japan yesterday and, to be honest, we were a bit scared as we were told a few things about Japanese people, many of them, not very good. However, we were pleasantly surprised from the minute we set foot on land. For starters, the airport seemed too quiet for such a big/important airport...or maybe it is because we come from Mexico City where everything is big and crowded at all times; anyway, the whole airport crew was really nice and polite the whole time -we'd been told migration was a bit like in the US, but not even close, they act just like any normal customs/migration agents. The fact that they had to manually searched through our bags opposite to pass them though a luggage scanner was a tad surprising though, I mean, after all, it is Japan and -being a bit exaggerated- you'd expect pretty much anything to be done by a robot lol (ok, not). But well, even after such long examination, the customs officer was really nice and all he asked basically was how long and why were we in Japan, then wished us a good trip.

After a bit more than 3 hours later, we arrived in our hotel but couldn't check-in until 3pm, so we just dropped our bags and headed off to town. The first place we visited was Shinjuku, where we went to the Metropolitan Government Building as there is an -free- Observing Deck on the 45th floor. The view was cool but it would have been so much better if it hasn't been that polluted.

Then, we went to Shinjuku's Central Park, where they have a nice shrine/museum thing and where people -apparently- go there for a mid-daypic-nic/nap trying to scape the humidity of the city.

After hanging in the Shinjuku area for a while, we headed straight to Shibuya -the busiest and one of the most touristic districts in Tokyo. We hung around there just getting to know the area a bit; there are a lot of stores, cafes, restaurants and fun stuff to go around. All the Japanese galore you could ask for is here, like this cute store with giant teddy bears!


Perhaps it was because it was day time or I don't know but for some odd reason, we did not recognize the famous Shibuya Crossing...we thought it was just another crossing as it really didn't seem as impressive as we've all seen it on TV/movies/etc. Until we did a little research and found out it was indeed THE crossing. Oh well, we're going back there tomorrow night to make sure we see and experience everything there is to see and experience.

After going around for a while, we were a bit exhausted after our 15+ hour flight all the way from Mexico City, so we decided to come back to the hotel (in Otsuka), take a shower and refresh a bit. The hotel is very nice I have to say, small like everything in Japan, but very nice, clean and the staff is very nice too. Once revived, I mean, refreshed, we went out to dinner and found this small Ramen place in a corner where the smell drawn us immediately, it was all-Japanese though so we hesitated about going in as we don't really speak Japanese (believe it or not lol) but we are really into trying as most local stuff as possible so we took a chance, took a quick glimpse at the Japanese phrase book on our phone, walked in, sat down at the stalls next to a guy and order 2 Ramens. Somehow, they understood us and served us too smoking hot huge bowls of Ramen. It was actually very good though a bit big for us and it was only 1200¥ (about US$12) for the both of them! The usual drink is plain water and you get that for free so it's all good. We were glad that our very first Japanese dinner couldn't have gotten anymore Japanese than that!

All in all, we are very pleased with Japan so far. Japanese people are far much nicer than their reputation lead us to believe. When we wanted to get to our hotel, a nice man drew a map for us and gave us the exact directions so we wouldn't get lost; when visited the Metropolitan Government Building an old man volunteering there gave us a guide around and told us about nice places to go in Tokyo and was very, very kind to us; when we wanted to a find a particular store, a guy went out of his way -literally- to take us there and didn't leave until we had an employee showing us what we were looking for; when we were looking to connect to wifi, a guy tried helping us and even offered to lend us his local credentials as wifi for tourist is not that common really. So, at least from our first day, it's safe to say Japanese people are very nice and quite tourist-friendly (unless you're a USAian I guess). But as far as we concern, we love Japan and the Japanese!

No comments:

Post a Comment