Class X journal
I had to get from Shanghai to Vancouver, so of course the most logical option is to take a transit as long as possible in Tokyo. The ticket cost less than 300USD roundtrip anyway, so why the heck not? See the last time I spent a weekend in Tokyo here.
My flight from Shanghai departs at 1:45 a.m., so I had to take the latest metro to get to the airport. After a gruesome red-eye, I successfully arrived at Haneda 5:15 a.m. with no sleep. However, my long journey had just begun. My flight to Vancouver departs at 9:45 p.m., so that was about 16 hour of transit time. I had a budget constraint, a sleep constraint, and a time constraint, so I better make this little day trip count.
Tokyo metro map, is someone supposed to read this?
I used my Suica card and got onto the Keikyu Line towards city center. It was a regular Wednesday, so people were already cluttering the 6 a.m. train. I had two main objectives this time in Tokyo: find the spots where one of my favorite films Your Name was inspired, and find the spots where the best food could be had.
Tokyo train station
breakfast at 築地壽司清
I got off at Tokyo train station, and headed to one of the best breakfast I could think of that would not cost me a kidney, a traditional combo in 築地壽司清, one of the best. After a heartwarming meal, the short walk towards the Royal Palace became much more pleasant.
二重橋, Royal Palace
I have been here before, so I simply sat by the trees, and watched the joggers pass me by. I had a great time doing nothing on this rainy morning. This is where I belong.
outside Royal Palace
I later took a walk to the neighborhood of 人形町, where a bunch of tiny shops lined the area. This is a classic Japanese neighborhood, where people live normal, happy lives.
I was here because I wanted to try a restaurant famous for tempura. An old grandpa runs the shop along with his wife. He is in charge of frying; she is in charge of soups and rice, while their son is in charge of handling dishes and bills. This is how a Japanese company works, more than an operation, but a family tradition. This is likely the best tempura in the world, tucked away in a tiny alleyway with just 10 seats.
old grandpa making tempura
And of course, when you are in 人形町，you have to get the famous 人形燒. 人形means human shaped in Chinese, but in Japanese, these imported Kanji actually means dolls, since this area used to be where puppets were made, so this yaki is made into shape of human heads resembling doll faces, packing a delicious filling of red beans. YUM!
After lunch, I finally began my hunt for the famous Your Name. film locations. For those who do not know, Your Name. is a famous animated movie by the genius director Makoto Shinkai, and tells a story of two young people and their intertwined destiny. A few of the iconic shots took inspiration from Tokyo’s little hidden gems, and Shinkai is notoriously famous for being able to recreate scenes as if they are photographed. Take a look of these scenes in the movie, and the ones I have taken in real life.
信濃町pedestrian walking bridge
新宿Shinjuku Business district
I simply could not believe humans are capable of doing this, as it would be one of the best things you could possibly do when it comes to replicating a place in real life. For those who have not watched Your Name, I highly recommend you take 2 hours from your life and give it a try. It will change you, forever.
I sometimes think musubi has something in store for me, just it is not the time yet
a poster showing an exhibition for Shinkai
Then I took a walk around Shinagawa area, where the enormous crowds had already swarmed the iconic crossroad. People’s movement and energy, that is what instills me hope for a great future of all mankind.
And of course who can forget the tear-jerking movie of 忠犬ハチ公/Hachiko? (no, not the US version.) It is one of the stories one needs to hear before he or she leaves this world. Sometimes we take things around us for granted, without realizing how precious they are to us? If you have not watched it, I demand you watch it. Hell I will even throw you an illegal download links in the comments. Fuck, I am crying just by thinking about the story.
My last stop for the day is the neighborhood of 惠比壽, where numerous specialty restaurants were located. Amongst them is the ramen shop famous for pomelo scented noodle soups 阿夫利AFURI.
the famous pomelo soup tsukumen
Finally, I took a quick train back to Haneda airport, ending my short day in Tokyo. I felt like nothing was quite like this little trip. The sheer amount of difference willing to step out of the airport can make is rather astounding. Without the courage to leave the airport, I would have never ate so much great food, had so much fun walking around one of the true metropolis in the world, and I would have never made myself part of my favorite anime movie!
a ramen vending machine
beautiful displays of Tokyo Banana, an interesting dessert
I boarded my flight to Vancouver, effectively ended my transit. The mileage run life is such a strange one, huh. I woke up in Shanghai, had my day in Tokyo, and finally I would fall asleep in Vancouver. The world is so small, and there are hundreds of people we get to run into every day. I wish someday I can meet someone, and it starts with a simple:”Your Name, is…?”