I spent two weeks in Tokyo two years ago visiting a friend that was studying abroad there, and had an absolutely amazing time. Tokyo, and Japan in general, is one of those places where a Westerner has no frame of reference culturally. Everything that you encounter is new, strange, and intoxicating. When I first arrived at Narita airport, I had to navigate the subway system on my own to find my friend, which was an experience and a half.
I was the proverbial fish out of water. I am blonde-haired and blue-eyed, and got stares from what seemed like every single person in the subway car. There was to be no blending in on this trip. I was incredibly relieved when I reached my friend’s apartment, and I was also incredibly grateful to have a tour guide of sorts that had been living in the city for the past 8 months. I spent two weeks wandering the city, often on my own, because my friend was still in school at the time I was visiting.
Let me be the first to say that Tokyo is like some Bladerunner-esque city on the moon. The fashion is loud and cutting-edge, and often ridiculous. In the park on weekends there are endless people dressed up in anime character costumes, alongside four guys that sing Elvis every single weekend rain or shine. The nightlife is amazing, especially the karaoke. You can rent your own room, complete with drink services, and sing to your heart’s content with your friends. It is a bit different than the cheap bar setups you usually find in the United States. If given the chance, I would definitely return to Tokyo for a reunion tour, because that city is absolutely insane. There was never a dull moment while I was there.