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Tokyo, Japan

Japan, at long last. It was the #1 country on my to-do list for many years, and I was glad to finally make it there. Although Japan is obviously not part of the traditional Southeast Asia travelers route, I was able to get a 10 day stopover there as part of my USAP return ticket, and so it didn’t cost me anything to spend some time there. I also had a number of friends in Japan, so it was good opportunity to reconnect! My time was limited, but I tried to make the most of it.

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Tokyo is a massive city, and space is at an incredible premium. My first few days in Tokyo, I stayed at the Khaosan Capsule Hostel, which was great! A comfy common area, super cool staff, and cozy pods for everybody to sleep in. Although my pod was small, it was very clean and nice, and I loved staying there. That’s actually the vibe I got from Japan in general – everything is small, precisely engineered, clean, and nice. What a great combination.

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One of the first stops I made was Akihabara, which is filled with electronics, video games, manga, and maid cafes. Certainly an interesting mix. I loved that each neighborhood in Tokyo had a unique flavor to it. Retail shops in Akihabara are filled to the max with whatever they’re selling. Ads are everywhere, and inventory is stacked as high as possible. In the electronics store Yodobashi, i spent hours playing with every single piece of camera gear imaginable. Paradise!

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I was fortunate to meet up with two friends in Tokyo – Toshi and Taeko. It was great reconnecting with them, and exploring the city with two super cool Japanese people! We had a great time.

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Making Takoyaki!

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Vending machines are everywhere, and sell anything you could ever want. This vending machine worked off one giant TV-sized touchscreen, and sold about 100 products.

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There are entire arcades willed with photobooths, which make all sorts of photos for people. Huge packs of girls show up together with full makeup on, and spend entire evenings takings glamour shots.

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Shibuya Crossing – very busy indeed!

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Checking out an expat bar with friends.

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Lunch counters in Japan are very very efficient. You order and pay from a vending machine, and then give your ticket to a cook who makes the food for you. No sitting, only standing for rapid turnover!

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Japanese apartments are cozy and very nice. Perfect for hanging out with friends.

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