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Exploring Japan – The Tokyo Underground and Sakura Frappuccinos [Day 2/40]
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Exploring Japan – The Tokyo Underground and Sakura Frappuccinos [Day 2/40]

 

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March 2nd 2017


I woke up in time to attend an architectural meeting that Jasmine’s cousin was having, it was all in Japanese. It was interesting to see them talk architecture and stuff but all in Japanese and I pretty much didn’t understand a single word but thought it would be cool for instant immersion.

There is that 15 minute chit chat preamble culture here from the looks of it because at some point they just decide it’s best to start talking business. [In case you’re wondering, I mention this because I find it interesting how some cultures would just get straight to the point of the business while some preamble first to warm up. Like that Wolf of Wall Street scene with the Swiss bank.] 

Jasmine and I planned on going to Tokyo station soon to get jr seishun 18 pass.

[The Seishun 18 Kippu is literally one of the best passes you can get for the March-April season in Japan. You can be any age to get it. And it costs around $120 USD. It allows for unlimited one day travel on all JR, Japanese rail, lines, for five days. And you can use the five days at any rate you want. You don’t have to use it consecutively.

So if you’re going to Kyoto from Tokyo, it’ll cost $100 one way via the Shinkansen, the high speed bullet train, and gets you there in like less than two hours.

If you take the JR regular speed railroad from Tokyo to Kyoto, it’ll cost you $60 and take over 8 hours. But with the Seishun 18 Kippu, it’ll only cost you ⅕ of the 5 days that you have with the pass. So:

$120 that you spend for the pass divided by the 5 days of unlimited JR travel you can use the pass for = $24 for the Tokyo to Kyoto train.

As you can see, it’s much cheaper to buy the Seishun 18 Kippu if you know you’ll be traveling over extended distances between cities and if you’re backpacking on a budget. And it’s available to anyone too. Tourists. Japanese people. Of literally all ages. But if you know you’re only going to be spending your time in Tokyo, than I don’t recommend the pass because you’ll only be using local trains.]

Got on the chiyoda line for Tokyo station. Cold and rainy spring weather. Ate katsudon [pork cutlet that’s been breaded and deep fried, put over rice, than poured over with some half cooked egg yolk and soy sauce. So good!] before heading out. Was massively hungry.

Jasmine and I get lost in the Tokyo underground. I’m OK with us being lost and we can just live here as forever wanderers.

There is so much stuff, so much food, so many people. [I would find out a month later when I’m back in Thailand, that Tokyo is the world’s biggest metropolitan area with over 37 million people living here.]

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Guy making O-Bento [Japanese bento boxes
I noticed that the underground subway stations in Tokyo around Tokyo Center do not have people playing music in the subway halls as well like they would in NYC or elsewhere.

There are a lot of affordable food options here at the Tokyo underground station. Jasmine and I are going to try and see if we can eat for $20 a day approximately. Because we had originally allowed ourselves $30 a day for food, so if we can eat at $20 or less a day, that’s about $300 saved over 30 days that could be better spent on trying out one nice restaurant or trying out new experiences.

We decided to try the world famous Sakura frappuccino from Starbucks. It’s only sold during the Sakura blossom season in Japan! It was good, the pink cereal balls you see in the picture were crunchy and good too, but overall I don’t think it’s worth the hype that American Buzzfeed or other young social media outlets make it out to be. The vanilla bean frap or chocolatey chip frap from Starbucks are just as delicious 🙂

[Seeing the pictures remind me that Japanese people actually make their food look like their advertisements! The Mcdonald’s, Starbucks, and local Japanese fast food places all put so much pride into their service and food that you can physically see it, and physically taste the pride, and quality of the ingredients that they use. It’s so much more different from the U.S. and how we just give people crap to eat and the fast food always looks like crap when compared to the ads. The food is one of the reasons I’d want to live in Japan for an extended period of time. Though after coming back to Thailand, I will say that Japan seems to lack a variety of food. It’s always the same, grilled meats, sushi, fried meat. Whereas Thailand has salads, fruits, veggies, grilled meats, dumplings, etc. We had trouble finding any stirfried vegetable plate on any menus in the tens of restaurants that we ate at. Yet the Japanese stay so healthy and live so long regardless. Or I think it’s because it was slightly early spring and late winter and the Japanese seem to eat more seasonal.]

-Jack

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