Big in Japan: Sleepless with Political Cats.

September 30, 2017

Arrival at Narita Airport
After 31 hours without sleep finally in Japan
31 hours without sleep. 14 hours on a plane. With fear of flying. Drenched in sweat while 100 little miner were digging tiny holes into my brain. Even the $20-coffee in Moscow couldn’t save the day. After our arrival at a neat hotel in Tokyo we were more than done. This was for sure the worst and longest journey I ever had. All I wanted, was throwing my luggage out of the window from the 4th floor – and die. This world is huge and it takes a damn long time to get to a place.
At the next day our headache was gone. Even the sun was shining. I shouted “Yeah, we’re in Japan!” out of the window and my best friend Alex unfolded the timetable for trains. He’s my buddy since Elementary School and one of the most important people in my life. After a quick look at the map we decided to walk by foot and folded the timetable in a wrong way to stuff it into our backpack. Our hotel is in Asakusa and the beautiful Senso-ji shrine lays very close to it. It’s the oldest shrine in Tokyo.

Senso-ji: The Oldest Shrine in Tokyo

Wonderful atmosphere around Senso-ji Shrine Toyko
Many beautiful impressions around Senso-ji Shrine

A nice lady in a café marked our coffee mugs with a friendly “Welcom to Asakusa“ und “Enjoy in Japan” – yeah! So we walked down the Nakamise-dori-Street. It’s an outdoor shopping arcade with a roof and you can get nearly everything there. Cute stamps, hairpins and – of course – waving cats. Moreover a cloud of pasta, curry, chicken and tons of spices was hanging in the air. Some Japanese people were scanning us detailed and reserved with their eyes at the same time. We still don’t know how they manage to do that in a high professional way.


The red and majestic Senso-ji shrine was glowing against the dark blue sky. We already regretted our decision to wear long black trousers. At the end of September it’s still warm and humid in Tokyo. After we passed a barrel full of joss sticks without suffocating we were going to find out about our future in tiny wooden drawers. There you can pick a sheet that tells you if you’ll have a bad or bright future. If you have bad fortune you can leave it at the shrine and it won’t harm you. Unfortunately Alex got bad fortune so we liked this idea a lot.

5 things you need to do in Tokyo before you die

Our Night Walking Tour in Shinjuku

Omoide Yokocho also called "Piss Alley" in Tokyo
Lanterns at Omoide Yokocho
By taking a break at the shrine a guy from the government came over to hand us a survey for tourists. Only because we had round eyes and a destroyed train map! We gave our best to decode the English words and to fill out the form with German correctness. As a reward the guy gave us some fancy cat stickers. Well, that’s something German politicians should consider for the next election campaign.


In the evening when the moon was lying between some light clouds we made our way to Shinjuku. We booked a Night Walking Tour. That’s something I did a couple of times in the US and I simply love it. You are guided by a local and get to know all the secrets and treasures of a district you would have never found without him. How to describe Shinjuku? Well, it’s a huge burrow where thousands of ants are dancing on LSD while listening to David Guetta.  


Times Square in New York is nothing compared to this area. Neon signs, advertising, music, masses. More than 700.000 people are using Shinjuku station daily. We took a walk through the red-light district, to Love Hotels, karaoke bars – and even the mafia headquarter. My favourite place was Omoide Yokocho. A small alley with tons of tiny restaurants (for 10 people or less!) and Japanese lanterns.  After that tour we held on tight to our messed up train map to be not swept away by sensory overload. Welcom to Tokyo!



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