Japan has never been high on my list of places to travel to, mostly because nothing I’ve ever seen or heard about it has ever really appealed to me. Everything I’ve seen of its cities in the movies looks dystopic and ugly and makes me want to hide in a corner, and the bizarro Japanese quirks that seem to fascinate the rest of the world usually just annoy me. I also have a larger political problem with Japan’s shifty stance on its wartime atrocities, which is probably the main reason my feelings about Japan have always been decidedly chilly.
And yet, I am going to Tokyo next week. Never underestimate the ability of a free hotel stay to triumph over my principles!
Alec’s there on work, so I’ll be exploring on my own the vast majority of our time there. If anyone has tips about how a non-Japanese speaker with a decent but not excellent sense of direction can best enjoy exploring Tokyo (and nearby places like Nikko, Kamakura or Hakone) alone in the depths of winter, please share. I’ve done a fair bit of reading up, but I’d be especially interested in hearing about any particular places, activities or meals that people found especially memorable, or anything that people would not recommend. So far, my plan A is to do totally cool edgy shit, transcending language and cultural barriers and finding a new enlightened understanding of this nation I have so long disdained. My plan B is to spend 7 days in Daiso, which would also be bliss.