Golden Tokyo

Last weekend was Golden Week in Japan, aptly named for the string of public holidays that make it the busiest time of the year to travel. Travel and lodging are booked months in advance as people take advantage of this time off. I went to Tokyo for the four day weekend, and despite preparing well ahead we weren’t able to get reserved train tickets for the journey there. That meant standing in the centre aisle practicing my snowboarding stance and thinking enviously of those sitting around me. Lucky for us though, the train ride is actually pretty fast and we got to Tokyo in about four hours.

The weekend itself was a lot of fun, and maybe the most random assortment of activities I’ve experienced in a weekend. Saturday we traveled, checked out some shopping, and explored Shinjuku area. We ate dinner at a pretty great Thai place that made me realize how much I miss Thai/Vietnamese/Cambodian food that used to be a staple in my week.

Sunday we strolled around Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which was free since it was “Greenery Day” holiday, and went to “Happy Cakes”, which is a make-your-own pancakes restaurant. You pick your batter and toppings and cook everything at your own personal grill, exactly like okonomiyaki.

Then Harajuku for some fun which was insanely crowded. Around two in the afternoon we made our way over to Tokyo Dome, for the main event of the weekend, the YG Family concert. YG Family is an entertainment company from South Korea that parents many pop music groups, most famously PSY (though he was not at the concert). Without being too dramatic, I have to say this was one of the best experiences of my life, but I’ll save that for later.

Monday was very rainy, so we went to Ueno park to the Metropolitan Art Gallery. This was a great decision and we spent about 4 hours there. We happened to be there during the Shinkseiki Art Exhibition, which has since left the museum. It was cool to see contemporary art from so many Japanese artists.  In the park we also ran into an awesome guy who was celebrating his 20th birthday (legally adulthood in Japan) who was asking for strangers to write messages all over his white clothing.