“Is this 6am already?”
When you woke and found the day was so bright, it could be a sign to wake up earlier the next day. A question I asked myself
almost every morning when in Japan was “how could I slept only four to five hours and found the dazzling light from the bathroom’s window by 6am? Is it 6am or 9am?”. It could be worse if you have nearsighted like me and found a harsh light early morning. Was it because I traveled in summer?
Talking about summer in Japan is YES! It is extremely hot. I’ve been living in West Africa for years so I know what is the meaning of “HOT” weather. But in Japan, summer can be unrelentingly humid. Though I had SPF50 and SPF25 with me, Japanese summer still made my skin three shades darker. If on my first day I wore my Zara jacket during the day at Sensō-ji and Tokyo Tower cause I forgot to drop it in the hostel, I already gave up on the second day. Comfortable sheer tee is a must for summer and no jeans please, khaki shorts is much better. A side from the humid, there was nothing precluded me to enjoy Tokyo.
“Oh OK, day two was meant to be “morning guys, here is my cute caffè latte” moment on my Instagram page”
On the second day, I left my hostel before 9am and took train to Shibuya station. I trusted Google map would drive me to a place where I could sit down and enjoying my morning coffee. I was hoping that dessert in the morning wasn’t a sin, too. Coffee and dessert could be a friend forever, at least that is what I have in my own dictionary.
When I arrived at Shibuya I was following every steps based on what Google map told me. I must confess that I’m not bad if you ask “Are you great reading a map?”. Yes, I’m not that bad but in Tokyo, where internet is extremely swift, I had to make sure that I didn’t run out of battery even I brought my power bank. I needed my iPhone and internet ‘ready’ when I had to move to the next destination. It could be a reason why I was lost and couldn’t find the coffee shop I’d been eyeing to spend my morning at.
I thanked God that Zara, Topman, Adidas, and H&M weren’t open yet when I was faffing in the morning. If not, I would call myself a liar cause “hey Azis, you said you wanted to do light travel but brough pieces of Zara home?”
Yet I was a liar that day for some pieces from Uniqlo. Apologise.
Day two, I was still relied on Lawson and those supermarkets where I could find something easy for breakfast. Dorayaki and a cup of Starbucks latte was in my hand before I sat down to enjoy matcha shaved ice and a warm chocolate croissant at St Marc Cafe Shibuya. If you just visited this blog, you must know that I’m a huge fan of croissant :). It was still humid but drizzling outside there and I stayed inside a cafe where the smell of fresh croissants was in the air.
Talking about Shibuya, it would be a shame if you travel to Tokyo and not take a walk across the famous intersection. It was an experience indeed when I was among “the scramble”. It was like marbles spilling out of a box by the time the lights turn red. Either in the afternoon or clear evening, pretty sure it’s mandatory experiencing Shibuya crossing.
After I experienced by myself I went to the Starbucks in the Tsutaya building on the crossing’s north side. It was a time for me to observe the “chaos” down there and took some pictures with my iPhone. Cloudy noon with grey lights made it a bit challenging capturing this crossing with no proper lens. But I found that is quite interesting with a cut-out effect, nah? (click on the image to zoom).
I was enjoying my raspberry iced tea while having a conversation with a middle-age woman from Australia (a country that has kangaroos :P) at Starbucks. She took two days off from her group and enjoying Tokyo by herself before went for a day tour cruise to Mt Fuji the next day. It was so good we had a short time sharing our stories and few random things we loved about Japan.
Right after Shibuya crossing I moved to Harajuku, the centre of Japanese youth culture and fashion. I didn’t spend time exploring Takeshita Dori and just took 2 pcs
too-sweet crunchy puff pastry from Croquant Chou ZakuZaku for lunch before heading to one of the most popular shrines in Japan, Meiji Shrine.
“I love the fact that in Tokyo, as busy as it is, we can still find a huge greens at Meiji Shrine”
At Meiji Shrine I realised that I didn’t take single picture of myself in front of those landmarks. This could be one reason why I should have selfie stick, no? Thanks to iPhone’s front camera for two selfies but I said “come on, being a little garish in Japan is not a sin Zis, ask that man to help you with one or two shots under the Torii gate”, and I did :) I asked an Indian man after he asked me to take picture with his family, that I knew they live in Malaysia after his grandma was guessing if I speak Melayu.
Two hours spent at Meiji Shrine and I had to move to find halal food. Sweet snacks, pastries, and those ice creams couldn’t satisfy me. I needed a time to sit down and enjoy heavy meal because in Tokyo, everyday seems like an exercise day. I mentioned on this post what I did was half-half. Half of me wanted to explore places as many as I could, another half was enjoying every moment out of my itinerary.
I must confess that I didn’t do serious research for halal food before I flew to Tokyo. Much better to look at the nearest location where I stood that day though it was a bit difficult yet challenging. Google map told me that the nearest location for halal food was at Ōyama-chō district. Well, I didn’t mind for Turkish food cause hey, I would find rice right? :)
typical Indonesian. I took train to Yoyogi Uehara Station and I just realised it showed Tokyo Camii Mosque on my iPhone.
When I arrived and checked my map just to make sure I was at the right place, I was wondering where was the restaurant. While I kept looking I entered to the mosque and aw, it wowed me. The restaurant is in the ground floor while the mosque in the first floor. After I prayed
and took some pictures of course I found that, “OMG the restaurant just closed and the Turkish food in my mind disappeared instantly”, I didn’t regret anything. For me, as a moslem, it was interesting I accidentally paid a visit to the largest mosque in Japan (will post the beauty of Tokyo Camii separately :)).
“Don’t call me Azis if I’m easily give-up for something I’m looking for. Mark my words :)”
From Tokyo Camii I took train to Shinjukugyoen-Mae station to find halal food for my dinner. I promised to myself when in Japan I had to try authentic Japanese food as much as I could, and ramen was among. It was past 7pm till I found the location of a restaurant for vegan and halal noodle called Halal Ramen Ouka. It is a very small restaurant where you really have to wait to get a seat. And I had to wait an hour+ till I could sit down and finally had a ramen for dinner. Here is the best shot of the ramen from my iPhone, I’m a bit fastidious if I have to photograph my food but for this one, it was an exception.
“I’m thankful for my brain that can capture moment vividly with all the details”
I still remember all the details behind the ramen picture above. When I was waiting for my seat outside, there was a bunch of five Indonesians were waiting to have a dinner too. Three women and two men. Two of them are working and other two are studying in Japan, the last one was a traveler. How do you know Zis? Oh come on, they spoke Indonesian so I understood :D. Funny enough I kept silent and wondering in mind like “oh girl, you can’t laugh that loud in Japan, and this is past 8pm already”. You may think that Azis is introvert? Can’t talk to people? Is it not exciting if you meet your people in another part of the world? It is.
But wait, I’m not introvert :) I used to be, but how can I survive in West Africa where vibrant people live if I’m introvert? I’m very open person chiefly when I travel. I love meeting people from different countries, I love making friend. I love learning something from you, guys. But manner is important and it depends on you as a person, wherever you come from. So in my opinion, when I found someone laughed at 8 pm in Tokyo? No, for me it was not appropriate. We really have to be mindful where we are, right? I feel more comfortable having conversation with an Indonesian lady that works in Ouka restaurant rather than joining ‘the loud team’ :P
And I still remember vividly too, when it was raining before I entered the restaurant. All those street lamps, the street scene, the rain drops, conversation I had with a father and his 20+ old daughter from Qatar and a stylish European couple. How could I still remember the huge strawberry pattern on the guy’s shirt? he was so damn stylish with light brown khaki short while the lady wore a short embroidery bralette top with high waist slim skirt in red and black. They are blonde so both outfits were looking so fantastic on them. I’m very visual so all those details were sticked on my mind :P.
I ended my day two in Tokyo with a bowl of hot spicy ramen, cold matcha, and authentic Japanese ambiance when it was still raining outside. Was it a better idea than that?