“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
It was in a middle of January 2017 when my wife Jennica and I decided to do something crazy for the month of February(as if this month is not ‘insanely’ busy for our family). You see here’s the deal, I consider February as the craziest month for us. Next to December, this ‘love month’ gives us a lot of reasons to celebrate(and be grateful for). My birthday lands on the 11th, our anniversary is on 12th and while Valentines is on 14th, Mori’s birth date is on every 15th of the month. Can you imagine what kind of a week is that for us??
ITS. 100%. INSANE. But we are still and always thankful to God, nonetheless.
Yet maybe me and my wife want to max it out and go full-on mental this year! So we both decided and said “Hey! Lets go to Japan on February!” And in an instant, I booked everything. Our flight schedules, our accommodations and started building the itinerary. The next day, one big crucial question popped out of nowhere: do we have VALID Japan visas? … I checked our passports and viola! Jennica and Mori have no visas while mine was still valid until September of 2017. But to cut the story short, still everything went very well. We got our visas before January ended and everything was all set. Except for one last thing: the itinerary.
[A back-alley wall in Shibuya sprayed with graffitis and stickers.]
“If I’m going to describe how authentic the lifestyle or how rich the culture of this city is, I could right a book about it.”
And boy we did not expect that this would be the biggest challenge for us! Why, you ask? Because Tokyo is one of the richest(in terms of culture), busiest, trendiest, hippest and even loudest(wether music or fashion) city in the world! If I’m going to describe how authentic the lifestyle or how rich the culture of this city is, I could right a book about it. I could even write a trilogy of books describing Tokyo’s culture alone! In short, we had a hard time deciding on what to do for our 10-day stay in the neon city. To be honest, we ended up fixing the first 5 days of itinerary, and the rest, well to simply put it, we relied on our instincts. (NOTE: we do not recommend this! Do NOT rely solely on your instinct!)
There was a lot of things to consider when building our itinerary. Other than the challenge of squeezing every place we wanted to visit for a span of a week and 3 days, we have to keep in mind that our itinerary must be suited for our family. That goes for me, Jennica and Mori. As the ‘old’ traveller of the gang, I wanted to live like a local for 10 days, while Jennica was aiming to visit the kawaii-est parts of town. We also prioritized child-friendly tourist spots for our little Mori for her to enjoy our trip as well.
With all the criterias laid out we have customized our own itinerary for this trip. Though it was a tough challenge for us parents surprisingly, we had lots of fun creating it! We tried to stay focused on our goal for this trip, which was to have fun and build wonderful memories as a family. Our dream is to have a journey that will make us witness life, the beauty of this world and to personally experience God’s creations, one adventure at a time.
Now for everyone’s amusement, I will break down our itinerary for the whole duration of our trip. Most parts of our vacation were well researched and mapped out. But there were times that we adapted to the situation and just enjoyed the flow of our day.
So without further a do, lets dive right in and get ready for the #TENDAYTOKYOTRIP!!!
FIRST DAY [FEB 10, 2017]: A “WARM” GREETING FROM MEGURO
On February 10 of the year 2017, our small yet adventurous family set foot on the land of the rising sun. As a small family, it was our very first time to leave our homeland behind to explore new worlds, meet new people and experience cultures we have never seen before.
It was around 11am(Tokyo time) when we arrived at Narita International Airport and we instantly felt the big temperature drop! It was a freezing 3 degrees! We hopped on the NEX or Narita Express train and travelled our way to our first Airbnb accomodation which was in Meguro, a few minutes away from Shibuya. It was a very peaceful residential area of Meguro.
Toritsudaiga-ku was the nearest train station in Kakinokizaka. The minute we arrived at the station, Jennica and I were stunned. We couldn’t believe our eyes, but in a split second our unbelief turned into excitement: snow flakes were falling from the sky! It was a spellbounding sight. This has to be one of the most unforgettable moments for us in this trip. We consider it as a blessing from God because snowfall rarely happens in Tokyo! What a way to greet us!
We arrived at our Airbnb home at around 2:30pm. Our host “Aki” had a huge house that serves as a traveller’s inn. With my rough estimation, she can accommodate up to 3 groups of backpackers consisting of 3 to 4 people each. I can’t say our room was japanese inspired because we were in Japan but still, everything was very japanese! Tatami flooring. Wooden sliding doors. And the mattress was superb! We had a common bathroom that was very modern with all those high-tech gizmos to pamper your ‘behind.’ And the bathroom on the first floor was spacious that had a small tub inside. Kawaii!
We went out again to familiarize ourselves with the weather and the neighborhood. Once again, as we approach Kannana Dori highway, it started to snow again. Using her tongue, Jennica tried to catch and tasted the snow which quickly desolved into cold water while little Mori’s nose and cheeks went red like fuji apples. My hands were shaking as the wind rushing towards us felt like it was coming from a huge airconditioning. As soon as we had a glimpse of a nearby 7-eleven, we ran as fast as we could and went inside to get warm again. I bought some milk tea and got an onigiri, a rice snack wrapped with seaweed paper(I had the tuna with mayo filling). As I was enjoying the warm air-conditioning of the convenience store, I said to myself “oh, man. So this what 3 degrees feels like! This is going to be fun!”
[The icy temperature couldn’t stop Mori-chan from being so playful, she went strolling on her own while we we’re in Shibuya.]
Little did we know that the cold weather was just about to embrace this neon city tightly.
(Watch the uncut footage of Jennica having a taste of snowflakes in Meguro while Mori said “lamig”(its cold) for the first time. Watch the video here!)
That’s it for now! On my next blog, I will talk about our 2nd, 3rd and 4th day in Tokyo and discuss more on how we prepared for this trip.
UNTIL NEXT TIME, SEE YOU ON MY NEXT ADVENTURE!
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