Change of Blog Format and Tokyo Summary

I feel that my blog posts are like lists of things I did. Although they are true to the nature of blogs, as in they are logs on the web, however, I find my writing to be a bit boring to say the least. Also, I feel spending an hour per day to write a post is time consuming, especially in Japan where it’s so hot that I want to spend my mornings exploring and not writing. So, I’ve decided to change the format of my travel journal and write one post per city to summarize what I did and provide a guide to any future travelers. Below is my first summary.



I’ve documented the sights I’ve seen on my previous posts for the first four days. Here is the last day and half in Tokyo.

Rest of Day 4:

I finally had sushi for the first time in Japan. It was at a small mom-and-pop restaurant not too far from the hostel. The whole tray of sushi was only 1000 JPY, or about $7 USD. Definitely worth the price, but not the best sushi I’ve had.

A mom-and-pop sushi shop

All this for 1000 JPY (~$7 USD)

Chris, Arturo, and another young traveler named Katherine, and I played card games in the afternoon. For dinner, Chris, Arturo, and Keizen, who is a 17 year old student, and I had okonomiyaki at a restaurant that’s about ten minutes walk from the hostel. I ended up going to bed soon after dinner.

Okonomiyaki with seafood on top

Day 5:

I wanted to eat some fruits in the morning since I noticed the meals I had didn’t include many fruits. I bought some grapes at the supermarket. They were very small compared to the ones in America.

Small Japanese grapes

I checked out of the hostel in the morning and took the subway to meet up with a woman named Lisa whom I had been chatting with on Coffee Meets Bagel. We met at 10 AM at Tim Ho Wan, a Chinese dim sum restaurant. The food was a bit expensive but good. After this brunch we walked to the nearby Hibiya Park and relaxed under a pavilion by the pond. We saw some koi fish and a tortoise. I thought the date went well, but I didn’t sense a romantic connection with her.

One of the ponds in Hibiya Park


Another view of the park

I took the Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train, from Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station after having some difficulties buying the ticket. The ride was about 2:15 hours, which was very fast since the train’s max speed was 177 mph. I arrived in Kyoto at 4 PM.


- Ramen: Ramen restaurants in Japan specialize in one type of ramen, such as shoyu, miso, etc, which is unlike the ramen shops in the US where they have a variety. So far, my favorite ramen is still from the US.

- Sushi: I didn’t have the best sushi yet.

- Gyudon: This is a beef rice bowl. The most popular gyudon restaurants are Sukiya and Yoshinoya. They are restaurant chains around Japan. So far, I like to eat gyudon better than sushi and ramen in Japan.

- Okonomiyaki: This is a pan-fried noodle dish consists of batter and cabbage. They are pretty good. Haven’t seen them in the States yet.

- Shave Ice: So much better than the ones in Hawaii, and cheaper. The Japanese version also includes red beans and ice cream at the bottom.


- Arturo: The first person I met in Tokyo. He just graduated from college and have been traveling in Japan for a while. He works as a video editor and is from Texas.

- Chris: Chris is from Poland and works as a game developer. His Japanese is very good and have traveled extensively in Japan.

Arturo and Chris in Ueno Park

- Katherine: I didn’t talk to her too much. She’s from Hong Kong and studied in Beijing. She is doing some traveling before returning to college in the fall.

- Keizen: A 17 years old high school student who is doing an internship in Tokyo. As it turns out, Keizen’s family lives in Berwyn, PA, a town that’s very close to King of Prussia, where I live. Keizen’s half Japanese and his Japanese is very good as well.

- Lisa: A 48 years old Colombian-Japanese woman I met on Coffee Meets Bagel. She grew up in Tokyo and went college in Massachusetts. Lisa gave me some tips about getting a job in Japan.

Interesting Observations

- People drive on the left side of the road. They also tend to walk on the left side as well.

- Some cars are narrower and smaller than the cars in the US.

- Very few Japanese wear sunglasses even though the it’s very sunny in August. Women tend to have umbrellas to provide shade.

- Tokyo is the cleanest city I’ve ever been to so far. And it’s very safe at night.

- In some restaurants, there are baskets by the chairs so you can put purses or small personal items in them.

- In some ramen shops there are ramen ordering machines where you have to buy a meal ticket with cash.

- I slept in a capsule hostel where the beds are enclosed spaces. I didn’t think I liked them at first, but I enjoyed sleeping in it after the first night. Maybe it’s because I had the lower bed, which I prefer.

- The toilets in Japan are bidets. There’s a jet of water that sprays the butt when you press a button. I find it much better than the western toilets and wouldn’t want to use any other toilets again.

- Bicyclists can ride on the sidewalks, which can be dangerous for pedestrians.

- Shops always give receipts.

Travel Tips

- Suica card: This is one of the most common IC (intelligent card) cards used in Japan. An IC card is used to pay for transportation and food in most restaurants, unless the restaurant only accepts cash. I bought a Welcome Suica card from the ticket machine at the train station when I first arrived in Narita airport. A Welcome Suica expires 28 days after the first purchase and has a max balance of 20,000 JPY. There is another type of Suica card, but I was only able to get the Welcome Suica that’s targeted toward tourists.

- JR Pass: This is a Japanese Rail Pass. You can buy one if you travel often on the trains. I didn’t get one since I want to do more slow traveling.

- Shinkansen (bullet train) Ticket: Buying a Shinkansen ticket was confusing for me when I was going from Tokyo to Kyoto. I had the option of buying an express ticket, a local ticket, or both. At first I bought the local ticket, then the information center staff told me I had to buy the express, so I did. The Shinkansen requires both express and local tickets.

The best seat to see Mount Fuji on the Shinkansen train is the window seat E if you are going from Tokyo to Kyoto. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get an E seat since they were all reserved and no E seats were open in the non-reserved sections. If you are going to Tokyo from Kyoto, then the best window seat is A.

- Learn to say “thank you” and “hello” in Japanese. Get the Google Translate app.

- I have the Google Fi Flex plan phone service with my Pixel 5a. It works for 200 countries and Japan is one of them. The only thing extra I pay is 10 cents per minute for phone calls, otherwise everything is the same as the US plan with unlimited texts and $10 per every GB of data.

Favorite Experiences

- I loved meeting people so my favorite experience is hanging out with Arturo and Chris. See my previous posts.


- - website to look for jobs in Japan
- Watch YouTube videos to learn Japanese. JapanesePod101 is a great YouTube channel to learn Japanese. Also is a good starting video to watch.


- Don’t go to Japan in August since it’s the hottest month of the year, unless you want to hike Mount Fuji in the summer. Temperature can reach 100 F degrees with the humidity. 

- Stay longer than 6 days since it takes some time to get over the jet lag.

- Being grateful that I have the time and some money to come to Japan.


  1. Joan O'Connor8/12/2023 7:20 PM

    When are you going to Korea?

    1. I'll be going to Korea in October, after Japan. Don't know the exact date yet since I haven't booked my ticket.


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