tokyo tower

For some reason, both occasions when I've visited Tokyo Tower haven't exactly been in the most ideal of conditions. The first time I went five years ago, it was raining. This time around it stayed dry, but because of Golden Week the crowds were nothing short of insane. Needless to say, the promise of a good city view keeps me coming back, and probably means I'll be visiting many more times to come. While the interiors have changed quite a bit over the years, the view's just as breathtaking as ever!

      



On the way from the station it's impossible to miss Zojoji Temple, where you can get a view of the entire tower. Sadly I didn't get much time to explore the temple itself, but I thought these beanie-wearing statues and pinwheels were adorable!





And of course, a trip to Tokyo just wouldn't be complete without bumping into Mario and friends on the road...





Since it was almost Children's Day at the time, the koinobori, or carp fish streamers were out in full force. On a side note, since coming to Japan apparently I've adopted a permanent peace sign pose in photos. My dad won't let me hear the end of it!

      







After the most uncomfortable elevator ride ever, we finally made it to the top! The view really is impressive, even if you have to jostle by people to reach to the window. It really seemed like everyone and their mother decided to visit the tower on that particular day...

      



I loved how the streets looked like a river of light weaving throughout the buildings! There really aren't any words to describe it.





Just a small sample of the gift shop, which we checked out before heading back. Japan has a huge gift-giving culture, so you'll find that most tourist attractions are decked out with mascots and special merchandise. The Tokyo Tower store even spanned two separate floors!

The tower itself closes at 11pm, but I've heard it's popular for couples to stay until midnight and watch the lights go out. However, I'd definitely recommend visiting just before sunset. The night view's truly amazing, and it's fun to watch the city gradually get darker and darker. Definitely a must-see if you're ever planning on visiting Tokyo!
Posted by : Mani

snapshots of may

I don't know when, but at some point life in Sydney has become all but a far-off memory to me. While the shininess of everything Japanese has worn off a bit, it feels like I've lived here a lot longer than just over two months. Yet, I'm loving every moment of it. Despite being kept busy with work from both of my universities, I love being free to do whatever I want with whomever I want. There's always some event to look forward to, and someone to count on if I need help. For some reason, living with a bunch of other young people really makes you feel like you have a separate family, something I've never experienced back at home.

Anyway, with everything going on blogging has been the last thing on my mind lately! And so begins the arduous task of catching up on everything that's happened since last time. For now, I thought I'd take a little break in travel posts to share what I got up to in May:





If I've learnt anything since starting exchange, there's a festival for pretty much everything in Japan. Food, flowers, you name it – chances are someone's invented a matsuri for it already. True to form, my friends and I had to visit a ramen festival that took place at Senbako last month. I accidentally ordered all of the extra toppings, and ended up with this comically huge piece of nori in my ramen! Despite being unseasonably hot, the atmosphere made it a super fun day out.





If you ever get the chance to visit Japan, do be prepared for mascots bombarding you at every turn! I just couldn't resist getting a snap with Naruto-chan and Mito-chan, the town mascot. Her head's even made out of natto or fermented soy beans, Mito's local delicacy.

      

Food, glorious food. The sushi was a tad expensive at 120 yen a plate, but most places will charge 100 yen (the equivalent of around one dollar). I've been forever robbed by the sushi train restaurants in Australia... Not to mention, the sushi in Japan is totally different to what you'd find back home. There are way more varieties of sashimi, and not many sushi rolls on the menu!



      

Even more food where that came from! Whether it's at an impromptu food party or restaurants around the area, it seems like the only thing I do here in Japan is eat. At least, that's what my camera roll seems to be telling me...

      

Finally, my birthday passed last month! At first I felt disappointed when I realised I'd be turning the big twenty-one away from home, but that all went away when my friends surprised me with cake and presents at midnight. I've never been the recipient of a surprise party in my life, so to say I felt loved in that moment would be a total understatement.

Anyway, all this happened almost a month ago! It scares me how quickly time seems to fly by here. As my mum keeps telling me over Skype, before I know it the year will be over and I'll be back to my regular life in Australia. But for now, I guess all I need to do is enjoy the ride while it lasts. Anyway see you next time, when I'll finally be finishing up the rest of my Tokyo posts!
Posted by : Mani