The Small-time Jet-setter Chronicles: Loyalty and Loneliness in Tokyo

Tokyo was my least favorite among the places I visited in Japan. It’s because I’m not a huge fan of big and very crowded cities. And Tokyo is definitely a very big and very crowded city.

We arrived very late at night from Takayama, so we only had one day to tour the city. Takayama and Shirakawa-go were much colder, Tokyo doesn’t snow a lot. But when we arrived in Tokyo we saw some snow on the roads. It snowed heavily the day before, and the news said it was the coldest in Tokyo in 48 years.

We were staying in Shinjuku, and our apartment was very close to the train station. Tokyo’s railway system is truly amazing. I got lost in the subway, something that never happened to me before. I never thought that one subway line could have four different routes and two underground levels. It made me feel like I came from the Dark Ages.

We were too tired to wake up early on the following day, our last day in Japan. Since we really love to walk, we walked a few kilometers to the next train station, Shinjuku station, where we took the JR line to the famous tourist spots in Tokyo.

With Hachiko

Our first stop was Shibuya. It’s a place every dog lover should not miss. If you’ve seen the movie about Hachiko then you’ll know what I mean. It was there where the original Hachiko, who became a symbol of loyalty in Japan, used to wait for his dead master to come home everyday for nine years. Just go to the Hachiko exit and as soon as you step out of the station you’ll see his statue. It’s also where you can find the famous Shibuya crossing, which is known to be one of the busiest intersections in the world.

Shibuya crossing

Our next stop was Ueno Park. I have to admit we were disappointed when we got there. It looked like a barren wasteland, with its lifeless cherry blossom trees and deserted spaces. It would have looked beautiful in the spring, but we chose the wrong season to visit. Just a fun fact, Ueno is the name of Hachiko’s master.

By the pond in Ueno Park
Ueno Park

Next we went to Tokyo station and wandered along the nearby streets. It was almost sunset and by this time the cold had taken its toll on me since I didn’t bring the jacket that had kept me alive for the past few days. I thought that Tokyo wasn’t as cold as the other places we’ve been to so I would get by without it. I was wrong, and we stopped at a McDonald’s to drink hot coffee. While I was drinking my coffee I looked around the crowded but unusually quiet McDonald’s, the most silent McDonald’s I’ve ever been to, and I realized how lonely life is in Tokyo. It is one of the most advanced cities in the world, and it is where people eat quietly by themselves in lonely restaurants. Most restaurants in Tokyo only have counter tables and people come in to eat by themselves for about five minutes and leave. Tokyo is very crowded, but I could barely see people walking in groups and talking and laughing with each other. And I asked myself, is this the epitome of urban living?

A building that caught my attention near Tokyo station

We had dinner at one of those restaurants where you order your meals from machines. It was so amazing how meals arrived very fast, and the ramen and meat were very good.

A common restaurant set up in Tokyo
Machines where we ordered our meals

Strangely we didn’t feel sad to leave Tokyo early on the following morning.

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38 thoughts on “The Small-time Jet-setter Chronicles: Loyalty and Loneliness in Tokyo

    1. True, Tokyo isn’t ideal for people like me. I’m more into old places and heritage sites. But fun can be found anywhere, even in the most unlikely places. The machines don’t actually serve food, they’re just for ordering food. But I was amazed because I’ve never seen anything like it before.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I envy you a lot! I want to see snow so bad. If you came from the Dark Ages, I don’t know where I came from. 😆
    I’ve seen two of movies about Hachiko: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale & Hachi-ko (1987) I think 😄

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well that was the first time I got to see snow.😄 Traveling to other places for me is also like time travel. If I go to more advanced places it’s like traveling to the future. My country is probably 100 years behind Japan in terms of technology and architecture.😆
      So you’re a dog lover huh? I cried like a baby while watching Hachiko: A Dog’s Tale. I named my dog after him. But I haven’t seen the old Hachiko movie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not really, I love cat, We have three cats at home. But I love seeing dogs, never touched one, you know, religion reason, I wish that I could, dog is an awesome animal, there are just so many questions in my mind about life and religion 😆
        For me the old one is better, 9/10 and the other 7/10 😁

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh yeah you’re a Muslim so you can’t touch dogs. Would you mind telling me why? There are so many things about religion that I don’t understand. If I was a Muslim my family would have disowned me a long time ago.😆
        So the old movie is better. I don’t think I’d like to watch it I would cry a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Me too, I still know nothing about it…

        a ‘smart’ person in says that there is some kind of disease from dog saliva

        this I believe that he said that we can touch dog
        https://www.quora.com/Why-aren%E2%80%99t-Muslims-allowed-to-touch-dogs

        It’s still a long way to go for me, I just knew the word islam is base from 3 letters arabic, sa la ma, from that root word it can became: islam, muslim, salam and the salaam itself means peace… it took me 27 years to know the word islam in a nutshell.

        Back to Hachiko, the fact that I’m still feeling the sadness of the movie, I suggest you don’t watch it 😆

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The ramen looks yummy.
    The Hachiko movie is such a classic, beautiful tale.
    That popular crossing gives me anxiety just by looking at it. I don’t know how a million people don’t die there every day.
    It’s an interesting thing about the loneliness that you mentioned. I haven’t been to Tokyo, so I can’t compare. Everywhere else people seem to be loud and meet in groups, but more and more people detach from others because they have their phones/ computers to be with.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. The ramen is truly yummy.
      I understand why you feel that way about the crossing. It’s just too crowded. But when you experience it for yourself you’ll be really amazed.
      You’re right about technology causing people to detach themselves from others. And I know living in a big city can be lonely. I also can’t compare because Tokyo is the biggest city I’ve ever been to. But it seems the Japanese take loneliness to a different level. I’ve seen a lot of videos about it and heard a lot from friends who have lived in Japan and it seems to be really concerning.

      Liked by 2 people

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