Shades of Indulgence: JAPAN.
(My reviews are based for the young traveler who knows what he/she wants, a holistic travel experience incorporating light history, spiritual connect, contemporary architecture, value fashion shopping and a vibrant night vibe.)
If you are someone who has a problem holding back, or someone who easily gives into his/her temptations we suggest you do not board that flight to Tokyo’s mammoth Narita Airport, the gate to one of the most expensive, alluring, and boisterous yet intriguingly composed countries of the world. Being one of the busiest airports of the world, the airport itself will charm you with its mix of air, sea and road transport options; and the fact that it’s built on a man-made island where you do not see land outside your window until the last millisecond of your touchdown on the tarmac.
Japan is a punishment for the weak at will (blessing in disguise). Food, shopping, lust, fashion, nightlife, sports, spirituality, history and socializing are part of an average Japanese locals’ week. Japan will enthrall you with its charm, a superb mix of a cultural heritage etched in samurai, mythological figurines, Buddhist beliefs and contemporary architecture, nightlife and anime. Japan has something in store for everyone, the history buff, the shopping heiress, sport fanatic and even the lusty lonely traveler. Here’s a peak into what to expect when you are in Japan:
According to us, magnificent People form the most important part of any unforgettable journey, complimenting this belief of ours; the Japanese are by far the most hospitable and courteous people you will find anywhere in this big bad world. We have to add, that they are so friendly that seldom does the language barrier (poor English) obstruct communication with the locals, as they will go out of their way to lend a helping hand.
The Japanese are a very fashionable lot, a fact represented by the fact that the country boasts of of the highest cosmetic and hair care product sales in the world. The urban streets are filled with youngsters and PYT’s flaunting a mix of high end designer wear and chic street fashion. It’s normal to find pretty young girls in hot pants and short skirts in the dead cold weather of Japan the guys are also adventurous with a mix of suit culture and low-rise street jean and metal accessory.
You now know who you are up with it in the land of the rising sun; we’ll now tell you what you absolutely must do when you are in Japan:
Without a doubt, you could be wowed enough to visit all the cities of Japan, but as youngsters we are always strapped on time and more importantly cash, so according to us on your trip you must do at least Tokyo (new age megacity), Kyoto (erstwhile capital for over a 1000 years), Osaka (third largest city of Japan, culinary paradise) Sapporo (Ski town, relaxed, signature beer) and if possible Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Yokohama depending upon your interests.
As a young traveler you absolutely must check out the urban landscape and architecture, shopping malls ad arcades. These urban structures are found easily around any Tokyo neighborhoods in Shibuya, Roppongi, Shinjiku and Odaiba. All these places are noteworthy and on par with any of the Manhattans or Leicester squares of the world. A special mention to the Ginza neighborhood as it will flood you with indulgent temptations with the world’s best brands. You can almost safely say, a worldwide international brand is not truly international if they do not have a store in Ginza. This neighborhood is one of the world’s most expensive neighborhood if not the most expensive, the shopping restaurant and bars will leave you stunned until you say “Oh Mother of God!”
If you have planned well In advance you must travel around a traditional Japanese matsuri (festival). Japanese boast of hundreds of festivals around the year and it’s relatively easy to accommodate at least one in your itinerary. The vibrant colours of Japan come out in full bloom in these festivals as people are very sportive to come out in droves dressed to the occasion. The air is filled with merriment, joy and celebration, which will leave you enticed and refreshed.
Japan also has over 170000 temples and shrines, so much for a country which is probably the size of one state in the USA. A visit to a monastery or temple will leave you asking many questions or get you many answers depending upon your personality. Calming you down and a process of self discovery awaits you in these ancient divine structures.
After all the shopping and soul searching, it’s now time to let your hair down in the wild nights of the Japanese skyline. There's room for everyone in the long cold nights of Japan, whether you want to dance the night away, have a romantic evening, or lounge around the night, sing along with your buddies or if you crave for a more adventurous flirtatious and that extra naughty touch. Japan will give you everything. The nightlife has a hot buzz, as the Japanese come out in their fashionable best at night in the numerous bars, clubs, restaurants and KTV’s. KTV ? For those of you who are not averse with the term KTV, it stands for a karaoke bar. The word KTV changes its meaning from country to country in the Far East, in some countries they mean sleazy bars where you can enjoy the company of women to sing and dance, and in some other countries perhaps, do more. Albeit, it’s common to get trapped and cheated in these KTV’s as well. In Japan however these bars are more upscale where pretty women will help you sing and dance and perhaps make good conversation if you can speak Japanese. Many of these bars have a Japanese only policy as well. Our suggestion is to not try these places unless you are in a big group and want to have fun amongst yourselves. We suggest you stay with the traditional bars restaurants and clubs which will give you ample entertainment for the night. There are many Japanese local alcohol flavors including the now world famous Japanese Sake, u rather sip into these saying Kampai (cheers).
Special mention goes out to the private bars in Tokyo which seat only about 1 -3 people in the back lanes of Tokyo. These bars usually have their regular clientele who come spend hours at the bar drinking and conversing with the bartender, who usually is the driving factor in these establishments. The lack of space in Tokyo has lead to the rise in such establishments. These bars are frequented by Japanese men who come here to escape from the reality of their workspace or family and forget their sorrows while conversing with the bartender. One can see the pressure that the Japanese men are in, that apart from these small, rather, tiny bars, they also frequent geisha bars or hostess bars. No, it’s not what you think it is; these bars are again usually frequented by regulars who usually have their favorites. Japanese men will come by and sit with their desired friend who is well trained to hold a conversation and well a few drinks, as the more the hostess drinks, the higher is the bill. Areas of nightlife in Tokyo: widely spread all over Tokyo, perhaps even your neighborhood, however these are worth mentioning Roppongi, Shibuya and Shinjiku; In Sapporo I ts mainly the Susukino area; In Kyoto they are around Gion, Pontocho and Shijo Dori.
Local Transportation: Taxis plentiful, but as you’re in one of the most expensive countries in the world, taxis are expensive; use the well networked public transportation system and the of so awesome rail network which will change the way you’ve looked at a rail system anywhere else in the world.
If you need more info, you may shoot your queries and we should be of help, until then, Happy Trippybacking!
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Shades of Indulgence: JAPAN.