From Vietnam to Japan was not only a journey of some distance but cultural shock as well. While leaving behind the chaos, heat, spontaneity of one we enter into the order, mild climate and formality of the other. Both have their appeal to us and both their shortcomings, but the special part of this particular vacation is the unexpected and diverse aspects of the people and their cultures. One not better than another just very different.
Our accommodations are impeccable, serenity in a city like Tokyo is a high priority for us with almost 13 million people. Technology is evident everywhere and while crowds of people abound the tiniest space can offer a sense of tranquility hence the importance of simplicity and order in behavior, dress and surroundings.
Having said that, one night we venture out to the Shibuya district pre-Halloween festivities. One of the top concentrations of people crossing an intersection in the world! The crowds are like waves of people, dressed in costumes and out for a night of partying. The four of us make our plan to cross the intersections as a unit but the crowd has her way and I get separated from Mike and stand among thousands of mostly young people faced with the dilemma…try to find my group or head back to Hotel… both provided the ultimate challenge! Long story short, after my initial sense of panic, I survived and with the help of several gracious Japanese young men and many obstacles I made it back to our hotel safe and sound! Another adventure we all will not soon forget!
During the day we visit the National Park, one of those retreats from the hectic city similar to Central Park and the Shinto Shrine once belonging to the Emperor and now where weddings and blessings ceremonies take place.
Another evening finds us on a Food Tour with our guide Gen, a young 24 year old, who takes us to some off-the-beaten-path local restaurants to try unfamiliar dishes allowing us a whole new experience of Japanese cuisine. We love it but opt later to forgo the taxi and do some walking back to our hotel perhaps excising some calories ☺️