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Japan: A Diary In Tokyo

Sunday, January 5, 2014
Japan: A Diary In TokyoLike0

 

A Diary in Tokyo by Saleh Al Braik

 

Destination Tokyo, Japan.

I decided on Tokyo because I went their with expectations of what I was going to see. Everyone tells you never to expect because you’re lining yourself up for disappointment, however, with Tokyo that wasn’t the case. I was blown away by their hospitality, their culture, their food, their sights & most of all the people. Tokyo is a place that I wouldn’t mind visiting over & over again.

Stayed in  Hilton in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

I stayed in a standard executive room. The reason I chose this hotel was because most people who have visited Tokyo told me that the sizes of the rooms there are quite smaller compared to rooms in other hotels in other countries. I made sure that wasn’t the case, because a friend of mine was staying in another hotel nearby & although paid the same rate, ended up in a much smaller space.

The great thing about the hotel though is that the Metro station is directly connected to it underground & so I could basically go anywhere in Tokyo in just under 30 minutes.

Month June & August

In your suitcase I went to Tokyo during the hotter months in Summer. What was in my suitcase was mostly shorts, & light short-sleeved shirts. I didn’t carry any winter-themed clothes like jackets etc. Most of the things were light, Loafers, jeans for night-outs & so on.

Shopped at The majority of my shopping took place at Ginza. That place is massive. Like I said earlier, each of their stores were not your ordinary store. Each brand had an entire building designed with their theme & sold all of their clothes on all floors. They had a 12 floor Gucci building that was designed entirely with the Gucci logo. It’s crazy, but extremely fun to witness!

Diary I’m one of those guys that would carry a “100 Things to do in Tokyo” kind of book. I basically planned my day very efficiently, I wanted to see everything Tokyo had to offer & experience new things. If I had to give a walk through of what my trip looked like, it was basically spent in the areas the book told me to visit.

I made sure I went to visit a fair share of local parks, one of the greater ones was the Imperial Palace. It is situated in the heart of Tokyo & also has a park in the heart of it where you can walk through it all & admire the beauty of what the Palace had to offer. By just walking through you are automatically transported into another world & it is truly a great experience. Other parks do exist around the city, & I’d advice at least visiting this one & another.

I also managed to visit the Electronic District (Akahabara), & Harajuku. These areas are really cool because you get to see every gadget that has been made by man, & then move yourself to an area where Anime comes to life. Everyone in Tokyo loves to dress up as characters from movies, cartoons, & animes, but the best part about Harajuku is that’s where you can get your costumes from & see the most of them hanging around.

Other tourist things I would do of course would be to visit Ginza, the mega-shopping district where every brand would have a 13-floor building dedicated entirely to itself. We went to Rippongi, which was another shopping district. I tried my best to visit as many local food outlets, & those were mainly scattered around.

Of course, at the end of it all, I had to make a stop at Disneyland & Disney Sea. Both mega-sized theme parks in my opinion (& I have been to every Disneyland in the World), is the closest one that competes with Florida. It was even better than LA, Paris & Hong Kong combined!

Dined at To be honest, the best restaurant I tried in Tokyo was Wolfgang Puck’s Express Restaurant. The cuisine here was in no way Japanese, but more American, but I can proudly say that it is surely the best burger I have ever eaten! I had not dined at the hotel, however, the Hilton has a space right next door that is a mini food-plaza. The restaurants there were all local, with the exception of a McDonalds, but the cuisine was all-international. I would spend my mornings at a local diner there, with your regular pancakes & oatmeal, & at night if I weren’t bothered to leave the premises, I would dine at this local Japanese restaurant where the Sushi is probably the best I’ve ever tried.

Tip If I were to give anyone a tip, it would be to buy a book called “100 Things to do in Tokyo” or even a “Top 10 Things to do in Tokyo”. These books, although very wordy, come in very handy for first time travelers. I use them as a guide of where I’d like to go & visit & see, & they also have a great section about what to expect when it comes to religion, culture, the do’s & don’ts when you’re at a restaurant & more.

A few more tips would be to remember that tipping isn’t allowed in Japan. Whenever you’re handing money over, you have to give the notes over with two hands & place it on a money tray. Do not hand over the money directly to them because that is disrespectful. Other than those two main tips, have fun! The people there are very friendly, & even if you are lost ask them for help. It is a non-english speaking country primarily, but you’ll be surprised by how far they would go to help you find your destination or communicate.

The main thing that influenced me there was how well organized & respectful the community there is. The people there are so disciplined. Everyone is in queues, they always say thank you & you’re welcome. Nobody is in a hurry, they honestly look like they are very well organized & above all respectful to you by not staring, or shouting, or even scolding.

Mode of Travel Emirates Airlines

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  • Would you go to furthermost place on earth? 
I’m so excited to announce our 5th destination release on @travelwithtjd 
Join us on the 1st-6th of May 2020 to the Northernmost Settlement on earth and explore the Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole on an Arctic expedition. In this packed polar journey, we have the chance to encounter some arctic wildlife, Kayaking into the glorious glaciers, snowmobiling into the earth’s depends fjords, enjoy husky safari, taste the culinary Arctic experience and learn so much about our beautiful planet.
Few tips on the trip: 
During May, it will be the start of the midnight sun, and so, the sun will not set below the horizon
As flights on our packages are not included, I always suggest to find the best flight deals through @wegoarabia which will give you a range of flights to chose from, matches your budget and connecting flights
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Due to safety circumstances, we can only have 6 guests in one group. 
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Photo by @dennisstever
  • Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The archipelago is composed of nine main islands. 
We visited Pyramiden, 2 hours by boat from longyearbyen, and known as a Soviet Ghost Town, an abandoned Russians coal mine settlement sold to the Soviet Union back in 1927. When we arrived, they told us that they have seen few polar bears around and so had to stay close. 
Barentsburg, the second largest settlement in Svalbard with about 450 inhabitants, mostly, also, Russians... Some of the other islands have amongst scientist and researchers. Needless to say, Longyearbyen is the northernmost capital on earth.
I also want to thank the team at @arcticexpedition.no who were so incredible with us, it wouldn’t have been the same without them, despite me being a little afraid of walking out, they assured our safety ☺️ Make sure you join us on our next @travelwithtjd in May to Svalbard once again!#TravelwithTJD
  • With thousands of years of history frozen in time, the Arctic, for me, is as a place where we can freeze our former selves and visualize what we can achieve what’s found in stories,  books and inspiring people that made it this far. 
It’s just you, the land, and your thoughts, and you can't leave until you've wrestled with yourself and emerged a survivor. 
But then again, the light is much more intense up here and everything looks different because of it. The sun hasn’t set in a couple of months, and you can see things much more clearly when it is light all of the time. 
I’m addicted to the Arctic, it has been so for the past two years as @dennisstever and I set a mission to work together to conquer it on @travelwithTJD 
Thanks to @dennisstever for capturing this moment.
Thank you to the wonderful team @arcticexpedition.no for making this a memorable experience ❤️
  • Im at the Earth’s northernmost inhabited settlement and I made this happen!!
A Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard is home to the ‘King of the Arctic’, which is the Polar Bear, followed by whales, Arctic Fox, Birds, Seals, Walrus and Reindeers. Svalbard is 600 miles away from the North Pole, the farthest place on earth I have ever been. This is not a dream...I created this beautiful reality. #TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd @visitsvalbard
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In so many ways. 
Ive always felt that my moods could be best explained in photos (and music) and that’s why I’m drawn to photography because it allows me to portray what’s going on inside when words fail. 
@dennisstever and I spent a week in Finland for the midnight sun, exploring the summer season. He probably took a thousand shots of this moment and encouraged me to keep going despite the cold waves splashing on me. 
But, I’m thankful, because, after a while, the cold numbed me, so I caught my breath, looked around and realized how F*** amazing it is to feel alive!
  • Often, I am noticing more and more on social media highlighting what society identifies as their body flaws and how we are beautiful and ordinary because of it, categorizing it as ‘empowerment’. I’m all for positivity but, I feel it’s giving mixed signals and it’s becoming repetitive, focusing on body goals. Again. 
Loving yourself, or accepting yourself doesn’t start with just accepting your body or its ‘flaws’, that’s not how we become ‘ordinary’, and the constant focus on bodies is directing the false message, denoting how our looks comes first and preaching about it (constantly)is not ordinary. 
Whatever happened to beauty from within? Or education? 
Are we truly loving ourselves if we put our body ‘flaws’ constantly out there on social media waiting again, for others to approve and congratulate you?
Is that not just promoting more “What’s on the outside counts more than what’s on the inside?”
Acceptance and beauty is deeper than that, because, surely, a body’s ‘ordinary’ image, is not solely what we should or should not be celebrating. 
Imperfections comes from the inside... Our actions, reactions, our weaknesses, strengths, our challenges and triumphs, our anxieties.
Loving oneself is accepting our heart and mind’s inability to function today but still give tomorrow another chance. 
We are beautiful for how we make others feel, for being there for one another, for lifting each other, for forgiving, for loyalty, for being there for your children, for your family, for strangers and for those around you and definitely not because we have or have not accepted our bodies and those around us. 
Whoever you are... our ‘imperfections’ in our souls are what makes ordinary and learning to accept it, is what makes you beautiful, and that is what we need to be sharing. 
So let’s highlight what’s on the inside, instead of just purely focusing on the outside. Because, that’s the only way we can truly love ourself, and not by perfect or imperfect bodies.