Tess & I are in Japan! In Asia, on the other side of the world. It is a whole new world. It’s not a popular travel time over here and westerners are few & far between. On buses, trains & crowded streets, we are wearing our masks. Our green & blue eyes are the only ones to be seen and we draw attention everywhere we go. Luckily it’s all good attention. The Japanese people are exceedingly friendly, helpful and welcoming. We have 10 new best friends!

Tokyo is incredibly easy to navigate. We got off our plane, and just outside of arrivals there is a bank of ATM-like machines. Here you can buy a Suica (among other choices) card. We choose Suica because they have a special one for visitors. A Suica card lets you get on/off trains, buses, monorail and use it for payment at many convenience stores & restaurants. While the machines do “speak” English, it’s not completely clear what is happening. Luckily our new best friend, Himari, helped us out. The banks are manned by an attendant who speaks English! Score!

Our next stop was a Pocket WiFi. That way we had internet, on all our devices, the whole time we are in Japan. This was a very quick & easy process. So far our WiFi has been impeccable!

With our new tools, we headed up to the monorail and into downtown Tokyo. We had reserved a room in a Ryokan (Inn) in one of the smaller wards, but close to the anime center of Tokyo. Google maps gave us step-by-step directions and we were soon checked in, marveling at our sleeping pads on the tatami mats. I try to do things as close to a culture as possible, but right then, after a full day of traveling, I questioned my choice at sleeping on the floor at my age. I needn’t have worried. While hard, much harder than my bed at home, my body responded really well to sleeping on the floor.

We’d arrived in the morning, checked in by lunch, and Tess was ready to see more. Despite a whole night of not really sleeping. Neither of us sleep well on planes. Out the door we went, ready to explore more Japan. Just that first day I saw so much! I could write a book to describe all the sights, sounds, smells & tastes. Suffice it to say… I love Japan!

This is a quick pic of photo’s from our first 2-3 days in Tokyo. I’ll have more when we get back to Germany next week. So many more.

Downtown Tokyo (just a teeny part) seen from Shibuya SKY
Tess braving the edge. I got remarkably dizzy standing right at the window.
The famous Shibuya scramble crossing! There’s multiple scramble crossings but this is the most known one. It’s a Wednesday afternoon… so its quiet.
With just two of us, we have to rely on selfies. Here we are at the Fox Temple.
We spent a lot of time browsing manga & anime culture in the Akihabara area.
When I see these streetlamps appear, I know we are in “our” neighborhood.
Tess is in love with the gachapon machines… we have so many little toys!
The animal cafes are our favorite. This is Tess & a fennec fox.
Tess & a barn owl taking a selfie
Tess & an albino snake
Me & a meerkat!
Tess & a capybara!
Everyone loves the owls!
Me & hedgehog named Chardonnay
Another selfie, outside of the famous Senso-ji Shrine