I SLAYED TOKYO! I am the chic and refined version of Godzilla. Call me Claudzilla, please. During my time in this wonderful and iconic city, I did so many things I never thought I would do. The only thing that I knew going in was that I would not sleep, and rightly so because there is no time to sleep in a place that has so much to offer (and no time to sleep when I should be gracing Tokyo and its residents with my presence). The lights, the people, and the experiences waiting to happen were calling out to me.
I would like to point out how amazing this trip was going through the LINC program and getting the chance to represent the Marshall School of Business. Our group was presented with so many wonderful learning opportunities and provided with such great exposure that I do not feel we could have gotten from anywhere else. Hearing the president of Coca-Cola Japan, for example, discuss his journey and his passion for his work was absolutely inspiring, and seeing the most beautiful work environment and ecosystem at Pasona (covered with growing vegetation in every possible place, literally even under the very seats the employees did their work on) was extremely intriguing and provides reassurance that there is always something new to see and learn even when one thinks there is not much more that can cause an impression like that.
*Random interjection and BIGGEST TIP: do A LOT of research before going to Japan. Make sure that you have some idea of what you want to do and print out maps and charts ahead of time. Have some grasp on key phrases that will allow you to survive in Japan, and I am suggesting that you not only know how to speak them, but that you know how to read them. I, thankfully, had friends that knew enough Japanese to help our group survive, but if you like to explore independently and do your own thing like me, it is imperative you know how to talk the walk and walk the talk (mhm, that’s right!).
Tokyo and its nightlife outside of the office and workplace was such a beautiful thing to discover with friends. Most of the time I didn’t have to worry about photos because there was always one photographer who would selflessly help take care of saving my memories for me and then tagging me in them later on Facebook.(HUGE THANK YOU TO THOSE OF YOU, BY THE WAY). That does not mean I wasn’t the biggest tourist around. I was taking videos left and right, exclaiming “OOH!” and “AHH!” with every little distraction, and being way too loud from excitement. I already raved about Karaoke in my last post, but I could go on and on. One of the coolest things to get excited about is getting to experience the Japanese culture, specifically those of young adults, first hand. I cannot stress enough how cool it was to see them interact, hold conversations, shop, enjoy meals quietly (at rare times loudly) and sometimes barefoot at restaurants, and especially party.
On to the topic of food, I had shabu-shabu and conveyor belt sushi for the first time which is where I first tried sea urchin. I would say that I have never been discouraged from trying new things, but I have also never been so nauseous in my life. All of these new textures and flavors sure took me by surprise, and while it was so fun to think that I was being highly adventurous, I found myself losing my appetite more than once. This honesty is not at all meant to discourage the reader, but rather give advice and point out that being prepared with a large sum of snacks from home is probably one of the most critical things I could suggest. Though Japan has its convenience stores filled with tons of snacks, wasabi popcorn and fish-mayo flavored chips are not my go-to items. HOWEVER, all of the candy is the definition of yummy (HINT: Another awesome tip)
I could definitely write a book about my adventures with countless footnotes of suggestions on this post, but to do all of that work for free is not an efficient use of time. I mean, I am a business student after all. I said “Sayonara” sadly to Tokyo and now I say ” Sayonara” to this blog post and this experience. *turns page