By: Hogga

I’ve travelled a decent amount in my day and I’m proud to say that not all of it has been bad ass or troublesome. Sure, there were instances in South America where I may have done some questionable things and maybe a even a few more in Southeast Asia (who doesn’t right?), but this girl has done her best to keep her nose out of trouble. Sometimes though, trouble pushes its way through the crowds and finds you. Guh….

Such as my very first ‘real’ trip, when I went to see my buddy in Japan.

If you had the chance to go to Japan, have a prime Tokyo hotel paid for free (okay maybe not so prime and maybe not a hotel, but a couch in a tiny apartment, but I’m not picky when it’s free!), you would hop at it too. I was heading to Australia anyways to see my bff and decided ‘Hey – Japan is kind of on the way – maybe I’ll go there too.’ Then there was the whole worrying about going to a place that not only doesn’t speak the same language as me but their letters are all screwy. What if I get in trouble and I can’t explain I’m just an innocent Canadian girl who wants to have a good time? Plus most of this worry didn’t come crashing down, until I got off the plane in Japan and was extremely confused about where to go.

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Like I wasn’t nervous enough already, right? I travel halfway across the world to a place I was pretty sure didn’t really exist to meet up with someone who I HOPE will be there – and that all went perfectly fine. Hooray for Hogga! Sure, I was a little sweaty and grumpy but that happens during the best of times, so no big deal.

I meet my buddy after clearing customs and being fingerprinted and photographed like some sort of meth dealer and we head down towards the train to get to the city (just a warning for anyone looking to go to Tokyo – if you fly into Narita, it’s like 1.5 hours by train to downtown). We sit down on a bench and talk and laugh and yell at each other in the way friends do when all of a sudden from around a corner two official looking dudes stroll up to us. Turns out they are police and want to see our paperwork.

Buh? ME? Innocent Canadian girl?

They are super nice about it – almost apologetic – but it’s kinda like, I was not expecting this. Neither was my buddy, who informed me later that he had been there for 10 months and had heard rumours of being asked for ID but had never experienced it until now. Must be something shifty about me, right? (One of my eyes closes smaller than the other when I smile sometimes)

In Japan, like a lot of other countries you need to have a foreign registration card if you are there for longer than three months – I just got there but my buddy was working there so he needed it, which thankfully he did. It would be just my luck to do all of that and then have no place to stay. Well, and I guess I’d feel a little bad for my friend.

One thing I figured out based on that incident though is how much nicer the police are in Japan compared to other places, at least if you haven’t done anything wrong. Yes, Tokyo and I we’re going to get along jusssssst fine.

Trouble with the law aside, once we reached the city there was plenty to see and do. And I must admit we were excited about all the things to explore in Tokyo. If you’ve never been to a large city before, then Tokyo may be a tad overwhelming. There are some breathtakingly huge buildings like the Shiodome City Center and the Mitsubishi Corporation Headquarters. There is plenty to do in terms of exciting nightlife, and Ueno Park is a great place to just sit down and chill out for a bit.

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