May 21, 2012
By Rikiesha Pierce
Today was our first official day in Tokyo, and it was definitely a busy one for us all. I was extremely jet-lagged; I found it difficult to sleep in and woke up a few times during the night. By 4:30, the sun was high in the sky, and half of our group headed out to the fishing auction to catch some of Japan’s largest economies live in action. Stayed in and had a hearty breakfast of a McDonald’s fish filet and hash browns. There was a bit of a commotion on the streets as we were walking back to the hotel. Interested in finding out what all the fuss was about, some of the locals pointed out the solar eclipse happening just above the Tokyo skyline. It was an amazing sight to witness. From there we caught the train to the Tokyo Tower and got a bird’s eye view of the city. Standing at the top of the tower gave me an appreciation of the combination of modern life and nature. The lush green plants against the harrowing skyscrapers made me realize the lack of plant life in Los Angeles. I wonder what our city would look like if we planted more trees in the city?
From the Tokyo tower, we had an authentic Japanese lunch in the market and headed to Meji Park in Harajuku where I was able to leave a prayer and offering in the center of the forest. It was a humbling experience to be standing in the midst of historic Japan paying tribute and respect to the Emperor that helped modernize Japan. After that, we were able to go exploring in Harajuku and do a little bit of shopping. I was able to meet some real Harajuku girls who wore pink and purple wigs, big pink dresses, tights, platform shoes. There were many other people trying to capture a photo with them and I was one of the lucky few nimble enough to weasel my way in. I was ecstatic to make their acquaintance. After surveying downtown Tokyo for take-home items, cheap clothing, and other knick-knacks, we finally headed home. Today was a busy day indeed, filled with travel, walking, and most of all, Japanese culture.
By Guadalupe Cardona
Today was a day of exploration. It was not a heavy day of action but enough of exercise. My feet are killing me. They weren’t playing about wearing comfortable shoes. The first stop was Tokyo Tower. The view is beautiful. You can see everything. The most shocking is the balance between nature and industry. There are as much buildings as trees. It is something we definitely have to have in Los Angeles. The peacefulness that these random areas of pure nature make the day soothing and relaxing and takes away all the worry one may have. Next stop was a shrine. It was awesome. So many trees in one place like a forest. It was lovely. The rest of the day was city sight-seeing and I enjoyed it. I ate a banana and custard crepe and it was amazing. But today has definitely taught me to embrace the Japanese culture more. I can’t wait for what tomorrow brings. I will embrace very moment here. They are so different and similar in everything they do here to us in America. The only difference is how polite they are. That would be awkward to Americans.
By Jasmine Torres
Today was an exciting day. I had the opportunity to see Tokyo Tower, which was really awesome. The Tokyo Tower looked very much like the Eiffel Tower and for someone who has always wanted to go to Paris to see the famous tower, the Tokyo Tower was a real treat. I was surprised to see that the train stations were very clean and also very quiet. I actually saw a man vacuuming the steps at the train station. I ride the bus and trains every weekend in Los Angeles and they are neither pleasant rides nor clean ones. We also got to go visit a Shrine that was beautiful. There was a lot of green and a lot of trees. However, the most exciting thing was going to Harajuku. It was crazy! There were clothing shops filled with all pastel clothing or with all gothic and black clothing and costumes. My friend Lucy explained to me that this is dressing Lolita or Gothic Lolita. I even saw some girls dressed like it was Halloween with their big “poofy” dresses and pink and purple hair. Also, all the women wear heels here everyday! I am not sure I could do that! I think slowly I am beginning to realize I am no longer in the United States and that this culture here that is foreign to me is someone’s; that it is as normal to them as it is normal for me to live and act the way I do in the U.S. It is exciting to see that the small world I have lived in is so tiny compared to how big the world is. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and learn about myself (despite having to walk like a million miles a day). I am excited to walk more, learn more, eat more, and be more immersed in this culture here in Japan.