After the soulful revelation I had experienced in Hiroshima, we were already on the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) headed towards Tokyo. I was excited to visit Tokyo because it is one of the most fashion forward cities in the world. It was not only a dream come true to visit, it was an honor.
Tokyo can be compared to Times Square in New York City or Las Vegas, Nevada because Tokyo never sleeps, especially in districts such as Shibuya and Roppongi. When I was in Tokyo, I felt like I was no longer the young girl with extraordinary dreams who lived in a small town that could no longer foster my dreams for they were too big to handle. But I became a young girl with extraordinary dreams staying in a city where nothing was too impossible to accomplish.
We stayed in Shinjuku, Tokyo in a large youth hostel that had more than 20 floors and met people from all around the world including Thailand, Korea, France, Australia, and China.
The youth hostel in Shinjuku isn't a five star hotel complete with all the amenities. In fact all the girls along with Sensei (my teacher) had to stay in a cramped Tatami room where we slept on the floor, there was only one public shower for all the women in the hostel which was inconvenient and wifi was never available unless you were in the lobby, and did I mention there was a curfew?
But staying there was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything because by going through experiences such as this makes you appreciate what you have back at home. Such as having your own personal shower for instance.
As in Hiroshima, it was raining and pouring in Tokyo, but the rain didn't stop me and my friends from exploring the city. By the way, these one dollar umbrella's from Daiso ( One Dollar Store) don't hold up well.
We did not get to visit Studio Ghibli Museum as originally planned because unfortunately our reservations did not go through, so that was a bummer. If you don't know by now, I am a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki's animation and Joe Hisaishi's music, so I was a bit disappointed we did not get to go. So one of our first stops as a group was the Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest buildings in Japan.
From the bottom looking up, it looks like something from an old folk's tale called Jack and the Bean Stalk, because the tower (the bean stalk) seemed to shoot straight into the sky into another world beyond our own...
And the only way to cross over into that world, was to go on up.
This design was part of the ceiling inside of the tower, it's quite ingenious and pretty.
Our tickets were about 30 dollars to go all the way to the top. The employees there gave us complimentary souvenir cards since it was raining that day.
The elevators of Tokyo Skytree were decorated aesthetically in different seasons, some represented winter, some represented spring. This one was a winter theme, see the snow flakes?
The elevator was designed to move very fast inside of Tokyo Tower, so it only took 7 seconds to get to the top. Much less work than climbing a bean stalk.
This was the view of Tokyo from the top. To be honest, there was not much to see at first because it was raining and the clouds were blocking the view. But then the clouds moved away for a couple of minutes...
In a way, being on top of Tokyo Skytree was indeed like climbing the bean stalk and crossing over into another world. I became Jack, a curious fellow who had a once in a life time opportunity to look down on Tokyo in all it's grandiosity amongst the misty clouds-wondering who lived where, what everyone else was doing down there, and if they were all looking up here thinking the same things I was...
After wards, we all went for lunch. I had a radish salad and hot green tea!
Then a friend and I went around to explore and by some sort of miracle, we stumbled into a Studio Ghibli store, where I finally bought Chibi Totoro. This store was everything! Even though it may not be the Studio Ghibli museum, I was happy to find it.
They even had a giant, life size Cat Bus out in the back! There's Chibi Totoro looking out the window.
In case you don't know what a Cat Bus is, it's an animation character from the movie Totoro. It's a Cat in the form of a bus, who carries lost children and helps them find their way home. He kind of looks like Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland.
They even had a Cat Bus library filled with books and films for you to gaze at and purchase.
The best part of this shop was that they had a Totoro who was snoring! His belly was moving and up and down with Satsuki's sister on top of him.
Then we took some pictures with Totoro.
And Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service.