People who happened to be in Tokyo last weekend:
Ant, my brother in law
Jose, Ant's friend
Kazue, Jose's fiance
Kevin, my friend from high school
Bryce, my cousin
Yes...true story. They all happened to be in Tokyo the same weekend and we all cruised around the city together on Saturday and then all went to church together on Sunday. It was such a random group and yet somehow it felt like we were all family. I love how that works! Here are some pics from our crazy day on Sat.
Ant, Jose, and Jose's fiance Kazue took the shinkansen up from Osaka and our first stop in Tokyo was...TSUKIJI!
Tsukiji fish market (aka biggest fish market in the world) is moving locations at the end of this year..and although the new building will be cool and modern...there is something so intrinsically Japanese about the original spot. The wholesale side of things is like stepping into another world.
Rows and rows of vendors sell seafood at wholesale prices. The people work here have been at this for generations and they are definitely professionals in what they do. The stalls are all super old, there are holes all along the cobble stone flooring, there are stacks and stacks of boxes everywhere just waiting to fall over, it's chaotic, messy, smelly, and oozing with a kind of culture and tradition that can only be created after 80 years of fish selling.
*fun fact: the most expensive fish to ever be sold was at Tsukiji back in 2013. It was a 222kg blue fin tuna and it sold for 1.8 million. WHOA.
One thing Tsukiji is iconic for (at least in my opinion) are these carts that the men drive around. I'm pretty sure at least 1 person gets their foot run over everyday by these things because the guys drive them extremely fast down the narrow rows of stalls moving boxes around all day. For tourists visiting Tsukiji...follow the guys driving 80mph in tiny carts and you know you're headed in the right direction.
Tsukiji is just a hop skit and a jump over from Ginza, which was the next spot we hit up. Ginza is the Rodeo Drive of Tokyo and is home to one of the dopest stores ever - Dover Street Market. I had to take Ant here since he is a shoe and art aficionado. It is more art museum than clothing store and I get inspired every time I go there. You're not supposed to take pics of the art - I mean clothes - but I got this shot of a line of shoes that were a mere $250 a pair.
On the weekends at around 12pm, the main street in Ginza is closed off to cars and then tables and chairs are brought out to experiences "hokoten" "pedestrian heaven" which is one of my favorite things in Tokyo. I was glad to have Ant there to be my model for the day lol!
After shopping in Ginza we did something ridiculous...I wanted to try this Gyukatsu place in shibuya so we headed that direction and saw a long line wrapped around the corner and decided to join. I imagined it would take 1.5 hours or so to get through...BUT IT TOOK 4 HOURS. AM I INSANE!?? Ant is literally the chillest person ever so he was cool with it, but half way through the line I was like...is this the dumbest thing we have every done?? haha. Anyway, we finally got into the 9 person restaurant and payed $10 for some insanely good meat...but at the end of the day I concluded that no meal is worth 4 hours of time haha. But, my good friend Kevin met us in line and the three of us had a good time hanging out and awaiting our feast. It was definitely a meal to remember.
After our meal, we headed to the scramble where we took some pics and then I took Ant and Kev to my favorite building in Shibuya - Hikarie! At the top you get a nice city view and a good cup of coffee.
From Shibuya we walked over towards Omotesando area...and connecting the two neighborhoods is a street called Cat street. It was my first time there and we were joking that Kev knew Tokyo better than I did because he had been there before.
That night we got crepes down Takeshita dori, met up with Bryce and hung out at Asakusa. It was a crazy day and we were full out exhausted when we got back home...but it was worth it!
There was a moment on the train to Asakusa when I looked down the row of seats and there was my bro-in-law, Jose, Kazua, Kevin, Bryce, and my coworkers Steph...and I just had to laugh at the randomness of it all. Traveling is cool like that...you could be in a foreign country thousands of miles from home but it has a way of making bridges and connecting you to people in a way otherwise impossible.