Sunday, July 5, 2015

My days in Tokyo

Shinjuku District, Tokyo
Tokyo is expensive. Tokyo has no space. These are my two conclusions about the city.

I've been here nearly a week. At first, I didn't enjoy it. Perhaps, because I feel so cramped here. There's no room in my hostel. There's no room in the elevator. There's no room in the subway.

Also, it's super expensive. To give you an example, a watermelon the size of a grapefruit costs $7 USD. Can you believe it?

Also, on my first night, an Argentinian backpacker rummaged through my shorts and stole 17,000 Yen from me (about $140). He did it, when I was knocked out from the jet lag. That's the first time I've had anything stole in my fifteen years of travel. I accused him. He didn't say anything. He just fled the hostel.

I filed a police report. It took an hour. The detective came to my hostel. I found that strange that he sat at the owner's living room and talked to him. In America, we wouldn't have a detective sitting in our living room. We'd go to the station.

The detective was a friendly man. He offered me a menthol cigarette. Although I don't smoke, I took it out of politeness. He lit it for me. I inhaled. The mint smoke sat in my mouth. He was super nice and professional and kept apologizing. He bought me a coffee as well - I bet out of his own pocket - not the police budget. In the end though, because I had to leave Tokyo, I had to withdraw my police report. I think I'll remember that detective's kindness - however - for the rest of my life. It meant a lot.

It wasn't that much money, but I keep thinking that guy was such a piece of (you know what). He was 30. He knew the money was in my wallet because he saw me pay the hostel owner. Earlier in the day, he kept complaining he had no money. I was thinking, go back home then. Traveling's not a right. But, I guess his greed got the best of him. It left me feeling an ugly feeling inside about my trip.

The next few days got better though. I met a French Canadian named Victor at hostel. We toured the city a bit. But because he was white and had no experience with Asian culture, everything about it fascinated him: the talking machines, the cartoon animals, the masses of people, the food, etc. In contrast, none of it fascinated me because strangely enough, my home is still pretty Korean: the food, the language, the culture, etc.

Giant Angelfish
In any event, the next day, I went to the Sumida Aquarium. I was very impressed by the freshwater exhibit. In case you didn't know, I've been an aquarium hobbyist for nearly 28 years. I've been collecting fish since I was 6 years old. So, when I saw the giant angelfish, I was wowed. I kept wondering how to get mine that big. I have angelfish at home too. I love them.  I was just wowed by the aquarium. I know, it's not in the top ten things to see in Tokyo, but I enjoyed it.

My kitty Jeh Pan would've loved it too. My mother and I just laugh at him as he jumps high and jumps at the aquarium, belly flopping against the glass. He tries over and over to catch those angelfish, and those angelfish don't even know a cat is trying to catch them.

Other than that, I saw a few museums. I went to the National Tokyo Museum today. There was so much fascinating war items. I really enjoyed seeing the swords and the armor. I thought, If I only had more money and an office, I'd put those in my office.

Yet, when I saw the Buddhist statutes, and although they looked peaceful, my skin felt like it was on fire. I got itchy everywhere. I started scratching and so, I had to leave the room. After awhile, my skin returned back to normal. How weird is that.

Tsukiji Fish Market
This morning I went to the fish market. I bought three pieces of sushi and an oyster. I spent $9 USD. Everything is so expensive in Tokyo. But it tasted really good. So, I was happy I bought it.

I bought a piece of fatty tuna, called Toro. When I ate it, it tasted like meaty butter, which melted in my mouth.

In short, I keep eating in Tokyo: ramen, sobe noodles, curry and rice, and breakfasts sets. Nothing is cheaper than $6, even the fast food here.

I really enjoyed my last few days here, but I can't live here. It's too expensive, and there's no space. I never knew this, but as a writer, I feel like I need some desk space. It just seems too hard to write without space.

Maybe, next time, I have to check out Kyoto - the former ancient capital - rather than Tokyo.

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