The Big City

WRITTEN ON SATURDAY

Our final destination in Japan was the Big One: Tokyo, the biggest city in the whole world. 

We stayed with Irish Friends… um, surely I must be into the hundreds now? Let’s just call them Carrie and Matt, lest my brain overload with nationality-based pseudonyms. They live in an apartment with what must be the most amazing view I’ve ever seen. I’m a sucker for city nightscapes, and a view of Tokyo by night is quite something, let me tell you. We just stood there gazing at it in awe, and I confess I had an inexplicable tear in my eye like I did when I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge many moons ago.

I didn’t see as much of the city as I was hoping to, mainly because I was exhausted from a week of trekking around Japan in oppressive heat, but partly because I’d already fallen in love with the country and decided I was going back before very much longer, which lessened the need to cram as much as possible into my two-day visit. It was also partly because it was the first time I’d actually met Carrie – and the fact that I have yet to meet an online friend I haven’t instantly liked made it inevitable that we would sit up half the night talking, every night, and not wake up till lunch time. Not ideal for sightseeing, certainly, but probably one of the best aspects of travelling, if you ask me. 

We took it easy, we chatted for hours, we rode the monorail, we had sushi for breakfast, we saw the Statue of Liberty and Times Square (!), we tried the Japanese karaoke experience (much the same as the Korean noraebangs, except that the machines not only mark your effort, but also tell you how many calories you burned while you were singing!), we walked through the mad, thronging crowds and saw the towering skyscrapers and neon lights.

And now the holiday is almost over, and Irish Friend Two sleeps beside me on the long train ride back down to the ferry port in Fukuoka. I’m tired, I’m grubby, I’m ready to be home in my own apartment, uploading my photos and writing my Japan blog posts… and I’ve got that post-travel contentment I was craving. I’ve had an amazing time in an incredible country with some fantastic people. May it not be so long before I get to travel again! 

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