Over the many years I’ve lived in Japan I like to think I have done more than most in terms of seeing and doing things. Of course there are quite a few places I still haven’t been to outside of the capital such as Hokkaido but here are a few things I’ve never done in Tokyo:
* Eat sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market – This place appears in all the guide books and is often part of peoples ‘bucket list’ but I have never felt the urge to get up at a stupid time to see the tuna auctions at about 5am followed by a sushi breakfast. Likewise, as much as I like raw fish, its not usually on my mind at the end of an all-nighter. I have been to the market when I cycled Tokyo’s Top 25 sights in one day last year but naturally didn’t see too much fishy action in the afternoon.
* Go up Tokyo Tower – I’ve been there a few times but never felt the need to pay a high amount of money to go up to the top to see a view which can be seen for free from many other buildings such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku where you can see Tokyo Tower. Much better.
* Ride the Shinkansen – I’ve been to Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto etc) a few times but have always gone on the far cheaper night bus. I will only ride on the ‘bullet’ train when I am short on time.
* Sleep in a capsule hotel – Been wanting to do this for years but again it comes down to money and the fact that I have my own place means waiting for a few hours for the first train is a better option. I intended to stay in one when I went to Kansai in May but knew I wouldn’t want to do it for more than one night so a hotel won out in the end.
* Watch people from Starbucks at Shibuya Crossing – The greatest view of the world’s busiest crossing but I don’t like coffee so am unlikely to ever go there. No doubt chances of getting a window seat are not high.
* See Christmas illuminations – The Japanese like these decorations in the run-up to a day which they don’t even celebrate. I don’t care about illuminations or as we prefer to say Christmas lights.
* Go to an onsen – Just having a bath is something I’ve rarely done in the last 15 years as I find soaking so boring. The Japanese are obsessed with bathing and taking scorching hot onsen. They may stereotypically be shy but not, it seems, when it comes to parading around naked in front of others. In fairness I have kind of done this but only ever after a busy long day of snowboarding and then it is actually OK. I include this as I’ve never had the desire to specifically go somewhere for these hot springs.
* Go to a fireworks festival – These take places every Summer and are frequented by thousands of people which is reason enough to stay away in my opinion. I was on my way to one in Tokyo Bay back in 2005 or 2006 when my mate mailed to say it had been postponed due to the rain. That was the closest I’ve ever come to attending a ‘hanabi’ festival.
* See the Japan national team play live – Part of the reason I came to this country was because I loved watching the 2002 World Cup so much and I had hopes to see the ‘Samurai Blue’ in action but my working schedule and a decline in the teams performances have meant I’ve kind of lost interest.
* Cultivate a bonsai tree – OK, I probably never really expected to do this but thanks to Mr Miyagi in ‘The Karate Kid’ (1984) I thought this was what Japanese culture is all about and that I might even do it myself one day!
* Watch Kabuki – Friends invited me a few years ago and I was all set to go just in the name of crossing it off a list of things to be done in Japan……..but then I decided that I really didn’t have an interest and would rather spend my money and time on anything else!