Wednesday, 9 March 2016

I'm in Tokyo!

Oh hey there! After two weeks spent travelling around Taiwan and another week exploring Hong Kong I'm back in Tokyo. I last visited Japan in 2014 and fell in love. I've been dying to come back ever since and here I am. I literally couldn't be happier. I almost shed a tear as I was riding the Yamanote line yesterday because I had one of those I kinda can't believe that this is my life moments. Writing that felt weird. I'm scared that it sounded smug. I hope not. I guess part of the reason that I find it hard to believe that I get to be here again is because my life used to be so different. I used to live in a moulding basement flat with no electricity or hot water and a drug addict flatmate who did some pretty awful things to me. I also spend a lot of time analysing my privilege and I know that getting to travel this much is for sure a privilege so I just feel lucky a lot of the time.

One of the first places I went was Takeshita Street in Harajuku, a mecca for youth fashion and everything cute. A lot has changed since I was there last, fashions have obviously changed, I spotted a lot more cat unicorn hoodies and less heart shaped sunglasses on this first wander and I saw plenty of the heart window backpacks that have been popping up on the Tokyo fashion social media accounts I follow for a while now. There are also a whole lot more crepe places now that the whole Harajuku crepe trend is an internationally known phenomenon. There's also an unofficial mascot now and I loooove her!


Another thing that's new since I was last in Japan is that Starbucks now have a vegan doughnut! I'd actually never been to Starbucks until I came to Tokyo for the first time, I obviously hate their business practices but what can I say, I'm weak and the soy milk situation here is very dairy-ful. Without speaking the language a dairy free latte is not easy to come by.
As they've upped their vegan game with this cake doughnut (ask for the cakey doughnut) I'm giving up on feeling guilty about capitalism for a sec' and embracing the deliciousness. Best enjoyed alongside a matcha soy latte!


T's Tan Tan was another obvious spot to revisit and Nick and I made it there yesterday. Located on Keiyo Street inside Tokyo Station this can be a challenging spot to find given the maze like nature of the station. Purchasing a platform ticket and just following signs for Keiyo Steet will get you there though, just keep walking. This is their new pork-style ramen which comes with pickles and dumplings. It was one of the best things I've eaten recently and I'll be going back again soon.


Whilst Nick and I were adventuring late last night we stumbled upon a parade of PomPomPurins in Shinjuku station! They're there to celebrate the pup's 20th birthday and I was SO EXCITED to see them! I love PomPomPurin!


So far being back in Japan just feels right, I mean where else in the world can you stumble across plushy life sized characters to cuddle in a place where everyone just waits for each other to take pictures before jumping in?! I kinda feel at home here which is weird given that I've probably spent 11 days here ever and that I can't even join a gym because I'm tattooed! I'm looking forward to seeing whether this feeling intensifies or changes completely over the next month.

Nick and I were lucky enough to snag a somewhat affordable Air B&B in the Koenji area of Tokyo, it's a cute area that's much more residential than where we stayed last time but that still has fun looking bars, 24 hour convenience stores, veggie restaurants and interesting second hand shops. This is our little kitchen, the one-burner no-oven thing is normal for Japan and the fridge, microwave and toaster oven are just the other side of the curtain in the lounge area. There are no work surfaces so I smooshed my tofu in a bowl the sink before whipping up a tofu scramble this morning.


It's been raining all day today so we spent the morning shopping for hair dye (me!), headphones (Nick!) and chocolate (to share!) and then grabbed some onigiri and inari tofu from the convenience store for lunch before spending the afternoon cuddled up on the sofa re-watching Lost in Translation for the millionth time and scoffing the majority of the chocolate.


If you enjoy white chocolate and haven't tried the iChoc White Vanilla bar yet you need to get on it ASAP. I don't know what I've been waiting for, it's on the Food Empowerment Project's "Yay list" (as I call it) and it's by far the best vegan white chocolate I've ever tried. It's seriously so good! I'm also excited about fiiiiinally getting to fix my hair, my roots are a disaster and my pink is super faded. It's so much to be reunited with fun cruelty free hair stuff. I also made a little trip to LUSH yesterday because the prices in Hong Kong were pretty extortionate. I picked up a tub of their herbalism cleanser which I'm hoping will sort out the spot sitch' going on on my face, my skin's been breaking out all over the place recently which is strange given that I've never been prone to them before. I think it's the combo of constant climate changes, sun cream and the fact that I'm the worst and maybe remember to wash my face once a week! I know. I'm gross! I'll be back with some Tokyo food pic's, Hong Kong info and updates on my travels around Taiwan soon but for now I'll just be here enjoying my favourite place in the world.

18 comments:

  1. a) So happy for you! I've never been to Japan but I really hope to go, Kyoto is probably top of my long-distance list. b) No gym with tattoos? Wtf? c) I need to go to Itadaki Zen soon!

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    1. Thanks you!! I hope you get to visit soon, Kyoto is wonderful. And I know right? Tattoos are still taboo in Japan so it's a no-go even at the American chains.

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  2. Japan is so freakin' cute. Never been there (or anywhere outside the U.S. aside from Mexico). But someday maybe! Wish Starbucks here at that vegan doughnut.

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  3. I was also surprised to read you couldn't join a gym with tattoos. I normally don't go to Starbucks either, but I remember ordering a soy milk latte in Paris because I so desperately wanted a coffee with milk... It was good, with the Eiffel tower in the background.

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    1. That sounds so good! I'm hoping to get to Paris later this year. Tattoos are still a huge taboo in Japan, last time I was here I wasn't even allowed to use the pool / gym at an American owned hotel chain!

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  4. Yay! I know exactly how it feels to be in a city that you just love and feel so at home in. For me, that city is Seattle. But I do love Tokyo and Japan so much. I hope I get back there one day.
    I am really looking forward to all your posts. :D

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    1. Thanks Susan! I always love reading your posts from Seattle - you always seem to be having the best time!

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  5. I totally get the "what, this is my life now?!" moments. I grew up feeling like the cuckoo in the nest, in both my family and ridiculous home town full of racist, homophobic, misogynistic twots. Fast forward more years than I care to think about, and I live in my favourite country in the world with an amazing person who, when I say "how about backpacking South America in the summer?", he goes "sure!" Of course we have to check our privilege (having friends from around the world has made me realise how lucky I am, that most places I can just rock up and get a visa/visa waiver on arrival, whereas the hoops they have to jump through are just incredible - in a bad way), but we can enjoy ourselves too.
    On the other hand, no tattoos in the gym, wha? And I love the idea of a cat unicorn hoodie. So want one.
    P.s. this is Sarah who you met in Bangkok, this is my online alias, haha.

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    1. Oh hi Sarah!! Yes, the visa thing has been pretty eye opening this year. As was road tripping around Europe this summer and seeing the refugee camps in cities and the fences being built along the boarders.

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  6. Yay! Enjoy Japan extra for me!

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  7. lucky you! japan looks/sounds so amazing! also starbucks having a vegan doughnut - swwooonnn!

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  8. This was such a great post to read. First, I am utterly jealous of your adventures in Japan. Tokyo is at the top of my "places I'll go when my dog expires" list. I know this is awful, but it's true, too. Ha ha, ugh.

    You can't join a gym in Tokyo with tattoos? That made me laugh, but what a drag. So strange.

    I'm so jealous of that white chocolate too! And so curious why there is no work space in that tiny kitchen. I bet a piece of wood across the sink would be a life changer.

    Have fun and report back with your new hairs!
    xo
    kittee

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    1. Yay! So glad you enjoyed reading Kittee! It's not awful, just reality... depressing reality but reality nonetheless. You would LOVE Tokyo so much, it's such a great city.

      Ugh, the gym thing. So ridiculous. At least I'm walking for miles every day but I do kinda miss the gym.

      I thought the exact same thing about the workspace, a piece of wood would be amazing. That's what I had going on in the van this summer and it was great.

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  9. Brilliant that you made it back to Tokyo - it's absolutely top of my bucket list. I just think I'd have to take an extra suitcase to fill with kawaii...

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    1. Last time I was here I bought an adorable bag from Swimmer just to put all of my shopping in. No regrets!!

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