Not many people believe in reincarnation. I do and I already figured that one of my recent past lives was in Japan. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been drawn to this country ever since I saw that photo of Kiyomizudera temple for the first time when I was 11 years old.
When I first visited Japan two years ago, I knew I will keep coming back, and I promised that I will. The main reason for my visit this year was the Kyoto International Marathon, and I also took it as an opportunity to reconnect with my loved ones and friends in Tokyo.
I arrived in Tokyo in the second week of February. I know, another winter story! Ironically, the inevitable season my body likes the least welcomed me warmly. I also came well-prepared this time around.
I visited Odaiba on that afternoon of my first day in Tokyo. I knew many tourists go there and it’s a famous island city located in the heart of Tokyo Bay. I often heard about it from the Japanese drama series and TV shows I used to watch.
One of the spots famous among tourists is the Odaiba Statue of Liberty. Overlooking the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay, this replica gives tourists a feel of New York. It’s a tribute to commemorate the ties between Japan and France.
Going to Odaiba was also an opportunity for me to take a short cruise along the Tokyo Bay. I enjoyed watching some iconic Tokyo views, like the Rainbow Bridge and my favorite Tokyo Tower. Oh, how romantic the whole experience was!
The main agenda in Odaiba was really the food trip! A bowl of ramen and a plateful of my all-time fave gyouza saved my day.
Everyone who saw the Rainbow Bridge said they love it more at night. I loved it more at noon, though. I don’t know why but this particular sight of the iconic bridge gives me a tinge of nostalgia of either a past I no longer remember or a future I might never have.
Tokyo never fails to make me feel like I’m living in the future. On my way back to the city, I took Tokyo’s first fully automated transit system called Yurikamome. It is sometimes called the monorail. It was an unforgettable experience to be on-board an unmanned transit. It was also made more memorable by the person I shared the experience with.
Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
I’ve always dreamed of boarding a bullet train! Who doesn’t want to? On my second day, I traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto via the Shinkansen. I purchased a non-reserved ticket, as it was cheaper. The platforms were a little confusing though, especially for me who was chasing buses and trains on my own for the first time. I had no one to translate the Kanji I couldn’t read.
Desperate not to miss the train, I just went straight inside one of the cars without bothering to check whether I took the right one. I had to walk from Car 13 to Car 1 where my non-reserved ticket was valid. It was amazing how it didn’t feel like the train was actually going at a maximum operating speed of 320 kilometers per hour while I was walking inside to find a seat.
I also got the chance to view the elusive Mt. Fuji. Imagine how my heart was dancing and singing during those moments. Dreams do really come true!
Tokyo Character Street at the Tokyo Station
I can’t visit Tokyo without seeing one of my soul sisters, Chisato-chan. She took me to this famous Tokyo Character Street at the Tokyo Station where we had our catch-up chitchat. She always completes my visit in Japan.
National Museum of Nature and Science
If there’s another place I will visit again and again every time I’m in Japan, it would be the National Museum of Nature and Science. If you know me too well, you’ll never wonder why. I was here the first time I visited Japan, and I came back this time with my best friend.
Andromeda Ethiopia Cafe
It’s amazing to be in places that remind me of my other home – Andromeda. I found this cafe by chance and I didn’t know until I was about to leave the place that its name is actually the Andromeda Ethiopia Cafe. I was meant to stop by here! Next time I come to Tokyo, I’ll surely drop by.
Tokyo Sutetso Fresa Inn
Aside from my homey stay in Kyoto, the Santana Guest House Kyoto, I also loved my stay in Sutetso Fresa Inn. I missed my minimalist bedroom actually. It also has a French bistro-inspired restaurant where in-house guests can have breakfast.
Snaps of Memories
It always feels good to remember glimpses of our past through the memories immortalized in photos, in songs, and in places and also in people we shared those memories with. It reminds us how blissful life can get despite everything.
I have lived this life for more than 3,000 years but there are still things I’m never used to – feeling nostalgic for one.