Me and Matilda went to Japan this autumn and it gave me 4 weeks vacation, a lot of great memories and more then 5000 shoots. It is hard to describe how fantastic Japan is but I hope some of the photos describes it better then I can. Let's start with Tokyo. The worlds largest city with 42 miljon inhabitants surrounded by a lot of mystery and rumors. Some where for filled and some where crushed, not in a bad way but some things where just not as you think going there. To start with I must say that I have never been to a country with so friendly and helpful people. Everywhere you go people try to help you, it dosen't matter if it takes them an hour. They are going to make sure all your problems are solved and if they can, they will help you even more. So this rumor that it's hard to travel in Japan we never found true at all. Most people know a bit of English and will be able to help you. This was also true in the most rural parts of Japan. So let's go back to Tokyo.
Tokyo is an amazing city with so many different parts to it you will most definitely find a area that suites you. Our favorit parts turned out to be a bit away from the center. This is not going to be a detailed guide to Tokyo but our absolut favorit part was Sangen-jaya followed by Shimo-kitazawa.
Sangen-jaya shined with its excellent selection of restaurant and bars. For example our new favorite bar called something like Looking in the mist. This bar is runed by Joe, a skilled dj that will keep you in the mood until early morning. Be warned though, this is a classic Japanese bar so there is not a lot space. 8 people will fill this place to breaking point and there will be a lot off Tetris going on when you want to go to the toilet. Wich by the way has the smallest door you will ever have to crawl through.
But here we made many new friends that showed us around in the small allies of Sangen-jaya. We where introduced to Sake in the local Sake-restaurant by a man called "life-coach". And he coached us into eating fermented sharkbone in roe. Maybe one of the strangest things I ever tried but it sure made that Sake go down. We also met Kurokawa, a great guy who ended up a good friend. He helped us with our first Japanese words which we pretty soon forgot after some heavy drinking and barhopping. Somehow it is very hard leaving Looking into the mist before sunrise. Sangen-jaya couldn't be more recommended, if you go to Tokyo you should visit this part, you will probably be the only tourist here but that just adds to the fun. You have to walk around a bit to find everything but it is worth it.
Shimo-kitazawa on the other hand is the holy grail of second hand shopping and hipsters. This place is full of shops, stores, fresh juice-cafes and candy stores with homemade soda where you can take a selfie holding the store owners earlobe. Why? Why not? Everywhere you turn there are small stores with everything from clothes, bikes, hats to everything. Things you would actually think about buying, not just excess stuff. This area is also very cozy and has beautifully decorated streets. We spent a whole day here just walking around enjoying food and just looking at stuff. It seemed to be quite quiet here in the evenings after the stores closed but you will definitely find some kind of bar if you look around a bit.
Other part of Tokyo are also fun. The nice thing about Tokyo is that even if you are in the dead center of all high rises and big shopping malls, not to far away you will be able to find a small street filled with restaurants and local lifestyle. One thing that also surprised us was that most of Tokyo consists of small houses and narrow streets and these narrow street kept most traffic out so you will not see as much traffic in Tokyo as other big cities. All in all Tokyo is a fantastic city and if you get the chance to go there you should take it. When it comes to restaurants, bars and people this is hard to beat. Tokyo is cozier, happier, trendier, more futuristic, more fascinating, more welcoming and more old school the cities that are famous for this. Paris, Amsterdam and London feels far from romantic places after visiting Tokyo. Too bad it is so far away otherwise I would have gone there every chance I had.