Nihon no Mikata: My list of regrets for my Tokyo holiday

As of today, or maybe yesterday, depending on timezones and that, I have arrived back home in Southampton, from only slightly two weeks in sunny Tokyo, Japan. It was a good journey, and a rather memorable experience, even with my relatively sparse command of the Japanese language. The food was good, Comiket was interesting, and I managed to get an interview for my student project.

However, there were still some things left hanging that, mostly due to time or other extenuating circumstances, I regret not having, or in some cases having been done. So that’s why, for my first post about my time in Japan, I’m going to put down a little list of things that I have regretted after leaving Japan…

  • I regret not renting a mobile phone as soon as I entered Japan: “Mobile phone rental? Bah! It’s all I Japanese. If it’s Tokyo, it should be easy to get on the internet from any street corner! That’s how it is in London, why not here?” How wrong I bloody was! It turns out that apparently Japanese people do most of their internet access on the go using their mobiles, so I was stuck without any way to properly twit or blog on the go. This made hell for me to organise any interviews, because I was out and about most of the time, and when I found a mobile rental place in Akihabara, they just happened to have no phones that could access the internet. When I’m coming back to Japan, I’m renting a phone as soon as the plane touches down.
  • I regret not trying to find a battery charger for my camera: I would’ve been pretty easy, but I thought that if I was frugal with how long I kept my phone on, I could’ve made the battery last for the whole two weeks. Well, I did manage to pull it off, at the expense of my not having as many photographs as I have would liked. I could’ve gotten some pretty great sights on camera, like my night time walk in Odaiba, if I wasn’t so worried about the battery that I didn’t take my camera with me to some places. It’s a pity, because it was a good camera.
  • I regret not checking my Marantz recorder and microphone before I left England: God. This is a very bitg regret. I should’ve known more than to place my trust in my university in taking care of their equipment before I rented it. But then long and short of it was that I ended up bringing a bunch of dead weight with me that I didn’t even know it was until I turned it on and tried to record with it. The result is one trashed interview, one missed opportunity, and one late return back to the hatch….
  • I regret not getting more comfortable clothes to wear for Comiket: My usual pair of blue jeans was feeling mighty uncomfortable in the 30’C Tokyo heat, and I had the feeling that  if I wore them any longer, they might’ve fallen apart on me. My black jeans already got holes in them, but they were at least more comfortable to wear. However, sport socks were a rather good idea, especially after the laces broke on my usual pair of shoes and I had to wear the trainers everywhere. More sports socks are definitely on my list for tomorrow.

  • I regret not visiting any shrines or other landmarks in the city, with the exception of the Washinomiya Shrine, the Imperial Palace and the Tokyo Tower: I admit it, I spent most of my time in Tokyo, if not at Comiket, then at Akihabara. Akihabara, being the Otaku capital of the world, was always a priority spot for me, but I didn’t have any idea of the beast that stood right in the middle of Tokyo until I actually visited it. Despite, unlike some other people I know of, not going utterly crazy with the expenditure – the most I bought was a PSP with games, and a Soul of Chogokin Baikanfu, which was one of my big priorities in Japan anyway… –  There was so much to scratch beneath the surface in Akihabara that I spent a lot of my time in there, instead of other places I wanted to visit, like Osaka, Kyoto or Atami. It didn’t help that I couldn’t find a Go Go Curry anywhere other than in Akihabara either…
  • I regret walking from the Imperial Palace to the Tokyo Tower for an hour: I figured that if I could see the Tokyo Tower in the distance from the Imperial Palace, I could’ve walked it easily. Unfortunately, I’m not a very good expert at scale (my idea of size as it accounts for everything in my life seems to only distinguish between small, medium, big, large and extra-large). The result was an hour of walking, and aching legs, as I arrived at the Tokyo Tower. And then there was the lines to get into the Tower…
  • I regret not using the baths more than I should: Just out of courtesy for my fellow man here. It didn’t help that my hotel’s communal bath was closed from 9am to 5pm, and it had “ladies hours” from 9pm to midnight, so it was extremely hard for me to both get a bath and a good night’s sleep…
  • And finally… I regret not staying longer: It was hardly even two weeks at all!

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