The title of my last post was misleading. It was just a farewell to Tokyo for 2014. I’m still here until January 30. I’m making the most of my remaining time, enjoying favorite places and seeing some new ones. I’m very satisfied with the life I’ve had in Japan and feel ready to proceed on with the next phase of my journey. (Yes, I’m working on some ideas!) The Westgate office staff had a week and a half of holidays and, with weekends included, it added up to almost two weeks of vacation. I didn’t travel anywhere because living in Tokyo keeps me busy and content.
I spent my free time running, reading, meeting friends for dinner and outings, seeing the illuminations and just wandering around. I made visits to the Tokyo International Forum, the National Diet Building (location of Japan’s parliament), iconic shops in Tokyo Station, and the (newest) tallest building in the city, Toranomon Hills.
Inside the Tokyo International Forum with Renu.
Daytime at the Forum.
Kita-Senju Station. I go through here on my train every day.
The National Diet Building.
Back side of the National Diet.
Statue of Kusunoki Masashige, a 14th-century samurai. Near the Imperial Palace.
Japan is rich in history, politics and… Hello Kitty.
Inside the depths of Tokyo Station is a mini-mall with specialty shops dedicated to favorite Japanese characters, as well as other beloved icons, such as Snoopy and the Moomins. There’s also a KitKat shop that sells mini-bars in 15 different flavors.
Of course there’s Pokémon!
A few more pictures from Yokohama…
Many cities in Japan have signature manhole covers. Take a look at this link for some more.
Motomachi in Yokohama.
Japanese boys figuring out an old-fashioned Coke machine.
Back in Tokyo…
Icons of Tokyo: an office building, Tokyo Tower and a shrine.
I have less than two weeks to go in this grand city. I have not done everything, but I’ve seen and done a lot. I’ve always felt very content living in here. Sometimes I feel a bit of “Japan fatigue”, still not always “getting it”, never fully understanding what is going on around me, and trying to keep up with the perfectionistic standards that everyone adheres to. At the same time, Japan is quite accommodating. Someone always seems to be nearby to offer directions or help with interpreting. When I think about what I’ll miss, it will be scenes from this and other posts. I’ll remember the frenetic bustle of the city and the various districts. I’ll remember the way the wind whips around the buildings near Tokyo Station, and the lights of posh Ginza. I’ll remember the way the energy changes in just the few blocks from the Westgate office to the sensory-assaulting anime district of Akihabara. I’ll miss the calm walk around the Imperial Palace and the Marunouchi district, just across the road. I’ll miss seeing Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Skytree as I run along the river or take the train to work. The memories are countless, beginning with the first time I walked through Narita International Airport in the spring of 2012. What an adventure this has been.
I still have another post or two before this chapter is over. Stay tuned!