Kon’nichiwa From Japan!

Kon’nichiwa From Japan!
Maria Mahesar takes us on an adventure to Chiba, Japan.

It wouldn’t be wrong to call Japan my second home. After all since 2014, coincidentally and mainly because of work, I have been fortunate enough to travel to Japan every single year; for the third time in 2016 and I have absolutely no complains!

Japan has been more like an obsession for me since my teenage years. Since the day I decided to venture into the creative world, Japan, most specifically Tokyo, has been a source of inspiration to me for its vibrant culture, creativity and most importantly for its uniqueness that might sometimes come across as unusual for outsiders such as the Cat Cafe, Bunny Cafe, Owl Cafe to name a few.

My third trip to Japan started with a long tiring flight from Karachi that lasted a good fourteen hours. Instead of Tokyo this time I was stationed in

Chiba, capital city of Chiba Prefecture in Japan that sits about 40 kilometers southeast of the center of Tokyo on Tokyo Bay. Over the course of 5 days

in Chiba, I got to experience some of the best spots in the city; marine stadium, zoological park, Chiba shrine, city museum of science and castle ruins.

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But for me the real experience of Japan was in the city of Tokyo; third time in the city and you can still never get enough of it. Each day spent in Tokyo is a day that acquaintances you to something new. It could be food, fashion or culture; this city is full of surprises. Every day as soon as the clock would tick 5:00, I would take the first train to Tokyo and spend those 40 minutes on the train searching for new places to explore in the city; every single minute of those 40 minutes would teach me something new rather ‘unusually interesting’ about the city.

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This time I discovered Sensoji, Tokyo’s largest ancient Buddhist temple that is dedicated to Bodhisattva Kannon also known as ‘Guan Yin’ or ‘Goddess of Mercy’. It is the city’s oldest temple that became independent after World War II and remains as one of the most significant temples in Japan. Next I visited Nakamise, another major tourist attraction, located near Sensoji after Kaminarimon or ‘Thunder Gate;’ this is considered to be one of the

oldest shopping centers in Japan.

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And if you’re into traditional Japanese souvenirs (like me) finds such as Yukata and folding fans is a must-visit-attraction for you. Over the course of 5 days, I spent my evenings in Tokyo both exploring and learning something new each day about this beautiful city. The Imperial Palace and East Garden, where the Emperor mainly resides, was one of the rare attractions that would keep you away from the hustle and bustle of the usually noisy Tokyo and instead treat you to a beautiful scenery coupled with peace and greenery.

When in Tokyo you have to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. The fish market is home to

more than 400 different types of seafood that ranges from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar. The tuna auction area was one of my favorite attractions in the fish market.

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Visiting the tallest tower in Japan reminds you of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. This particular 634 meter tower is the newest landmark and attraction with a large shopping complex on the base. If you’re into Japanese anime, then you should visit Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo, a Mecca for original Pokemon goods.

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You can’t be in Tokyo and not visit Shibuya, a popular shopping and fashion hub of the city. Within this popular district lies a very busy crossing that is an experience of a lifetime especially when you’re viewing this moment of chaos from the second story window of Starbucks in the Tsutaya building on the crossing’s north side. What makes this crossing worth-a-sight is that when the lights turn red they all turn red at the same time in every direction. The pedestrians surge into the intersection from all sides; when you view from the top they (pedestrians) look like marbles spilling

out of a box.

What I really missed out was the experience of watching wrestlers practice at a sumo stable; you can only understand the intensity of this sport

when you watch sumo wrestlers practicing the panting, grunting and dripping sweat. Each time I have visited Tokyo, I have been close to

missing my flight because with a city like Tokyo you need more than a week to explore and understand what makes this city one of the most sought-after, and most unique cities in the world. I say if you haven’t visited Japan, you haven’t experienced anything in life. Arigatõgozaimashita Japan!

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  • In: Lifestyle