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Day 1-2, Japan: YOKOSO!

Monday, July 6th, 2009

This page is dedicated to my friends, family, and all of my atarashi nihon no tomodachi (new japanese friends) I met in Japan. It is also dedicated to anyone who is curious or would like to travel to Japan as well.

A few things to note: This used to be my old web design business website but seeing as how I no longer actively do web design and I needed a place for everyone (not just facebook.com members) to see my photos, I figured I would post them here!

Also, click on any of the pictures to view a larger sized version. If you wish to have the full size picture for any purposes such as design, printing, or setting it as your desktop wallpaper feel free to send me a request at KayJafari@gmail.com

Day 1 – 2 , Japan, Land of The Rising Sun, Yokoso!

My Room in Tokyo
This is my first of 3 different places I stayed while at Japan. It’s a Hostel, which is basically a hotel for students. While it was a very cheap place to stay (about $30/night), I did have to share the room with 3 other travelers from Europe. Nonetheless, it was clean and did what I needed it to do: just provide me a place to sleep at.

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My first meal/dinner- I walked into a neat looking bbq place near my hostel located at Minowa (northern part of Tokyo) and enjoyed a very tasty self-cooked bbq dinner.

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One of my favorite things in Japan are these vending machines. They provide some of the absolute best drinks to quench your thirst through the long walks of the hot and humid Japan typhoon season. There’s also other vending machines that distribute cigarettes and alcohol as well! Interestingly, many of the good drinks are manufactured by Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo, who as many of you already know, provide very popular Japanese beers here in the U.S. It’s such a shame their other soft drinks are not often found here though! 🙁 Below are pictures of a few of my many favorite drinks you can buy from these amazing vending machines:

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Milk Tea, brought to you by Kirin.

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Kirin also manufactures an extremely tasty and refreshing apple juice drink. This totally hit the spot after a trip from Himeji’s Shinkensan (bullet train) station all the way to the top of Himeji Castle. ^^;

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It would be insanity if Japan’s vending machines did not have iced green tea!

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And the absolute best of them all, MELON CREAM SODA, from our friends at Sapporo. OMG this stuff is like crack, I went through 3 bottles of these during my trip.
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My first big stop in Japan was Akihabara, the Mecca of manga, anime, and technology in Japan. Below are some more pictures of this crowded and crazy fun place to hang out at:

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The numerous electronics stores in Akihabara have anywhere from 3 to 5 different levels, categorized anywhere from houseware accessories to full blown super computers. I was very impressed by how unbelievably clean and well-air conditioned these stores were. After forgetting to bring my camera memory adapter for my laptop, I was lucky to buy one at one of these stores for only 800 yen (~$8 USD). Pretty cool considering the same accessory would sell at Best Buy for $20. O_O

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Gundam lol

Akihabara is also popular for one other thing…. Cosplay Maid Cafes! These cafes are typically for loser guys who have nothing better to do than to pay for overpriced drinks and meals while being served by teenage girls in maid outfits calling you “Goshyu-jin-sama” (Master)…. just the place for me to visit! LOL

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This is me with cat ears doing the cat pose with another maid, you will note the sheer amount of excitement and energy I put into that picture. 😛 What’s funny about this particular maid cafe is that they give you an american express looking credit card that tracks your visits and allows you to level up to a higher master rank… I’m a bit scared as to what the highest level gives you, lol.

I was actually glad I went to that Maid cafe because it allowed me to meet a new Japanese friend named Keita (Persian Kay meets the Japanee Kei, heh!). Our conversation at the cafe started with me discussing how “interesting” this cafe is and eventually to us both laughing and pointing at all the hentai-yaros (perverted bastards) that would blow their money in these cafe… pretty ironic considering it’s what both me and Keita just did. 🙁 After our visit to the maid cafe, Keita was amazingly nice to take me out on a tour to Tokyo for the rest of the afternoon, despite us only knowing each other for about an hour… Keita even tried to pay for my subway tickets! And so my day-long journey through different parts of Tokyo with my first Japanese friend begins:

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The first stop was the Sensoji Temple located at Asakusa. The picture above is Kay and Kei! ^_^.

The story behind Sensoji (aka Asakusa Kannon) Templeis that in the year 628, two brothers fished the statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even thoug they threw the statue back in the river, the statue would miraculously return to them. Thus, Sensoji was built at that same location in dedication for the goddess of Kannon. This is Tokyo’s oldest temple, which was completed back in 628.

Here are some more pictures of Sensoji Temple:

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Two long rows of traditional shops pave the way towards the main temple.

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The shrine at the temple

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Shrine visitors toss coins into this container and say a prayer in hopes that their wishes come true!

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After the temple Keita showed me other places such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku which are all located in the south-western part of Tokyo… this would not be the last time I visited these places during my trip!

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Seeing as how there are all these parked bicycles in this picture, I just wanted to say something here…I have concluded that one of the main reasons why people in Japan are in a lot better shape than the rest of the world is because when it comes to transportation in Japan, the majority of the population either walks, rides a bike, or takes the subway- and even those that take the subway do plenty of walking. Proof of this is witnessed first-hand in that despite how much food I ate at Japan, I ended up losing 7 pounds when I got back from my 10 day trip! Hot and humid weather + walking = ultimate fat burner, lol.

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Shibuya is known as THE place to go when it comes to shopping for the latest in Japanese fashion. One of the largest buildings in Shibuyathe “ichi maru kyuu” is known as the epicenter of Tokyo fashion and has long been a landmark amongst the young and hip! 😛

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This is just one of the many long streets of Harajuku. And yes, this is the place where Gwen Stefani inspired her “Harajuku Girls” music, style, and merchandise. ^_^ Lots of cool shops are located in Harajuku and it’s generally a fun place to hang out at since there’s so many interesting shops crammed side-by-side.

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While not as hip as Shibuya, Shinjuku is also a very popular place to hang out at in Tokyo.

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Sadly it was time for Keita and I to part ways, he had a concert to go to and I had first-day-in-japan jet lag to fight off. On another note, Keita plans on being a fashion designer in Tokyo- I can definetely see this guy succeed! ^_^

Click to continue to the next day!