I tagged along Joe's last business trip to Tokyo. I tried to remember this was only a vacation for one of us and made plans to explore the city on my own. And then I realized how massive it is. And how much cab fare is. And how navigating metros while trying to decipher characters is really hard. So I stuck to exploring the area immediately surrounding our hotel.
I armed myself with a map, and even drew my course as my iphone wasn't going to be of much use. I decided to use the western stores as my landmarks as they were the only thing on my map not written in characters. Unfortunately I discovered that was a flawed plan as there is a Prada, H&M, and Apple on every other corner.
So I relied on my skills learned from Sesame Street as a kid to match the shape of the characters from the map to the street signs. A lot of those characters were mighty similar to my Elmo-trained eye.
But Sesame Street trained me well, as I was successfully able to navigate the above in order to get the below (among other things).
(Unfortunately Washi tape is just as expensive when you buy it at the source.)
All in all I decided it's extremely empowering to navigate a completely foreign city (largely without Roman lettering or Arabic numbers I might add) all by myself. And I really liked Tokyo.
Of course, it helped that a few of Joe's business dinners fell through so I got to go to some of the best restaurants Tokyo has to offer. It was incredible.
(When in Asia...)
Along with discovering the empowerment of navigating, I also discovered the deliciousness of sushi! Up to this point I have been a roll-only kind of girl. What? You want to add cream cheese to sushi and then deep fry it and add mayo? Great! Upon Joe's insistence however, and the spirit of travel, I gave real sushi an honest try. Oh man. I think Joe created a monster. It's just sooooo good. Unfortunately I think I've got high taste and this level of sushi will not be
afforded available on any kind of consistant basis.
But some things still remain the same. I do not like large chunks of Japanese clam. And when you are in a restaurant that uses cloth napkins and only seats six, and you are the only non-Asian who is clearly struggling to get a few things down, and it would be very clear who spit out their specialty clam, you wait until the chef goes in the back room to put your clam in your cardigan pocket.
And that's it. Unless you want to see one of the best souvenirs we brought back here.