People ask me why I don’t get tired of travelling alone. Well, first, I have friends in different places across the globe. Second, it’s easier to make friends when you’re travelling alone than when you’re stuck with your own clique. Finally, with every new traveler you meet in your journeys, your network across the globe expands and you will have someone to visit whichever city you’re in anywhere in the world 🙂
On my Japan trip this September, I visited Dong Dong in Fukuoka. I first met her in Chengdu through a mutual friend whom I met on Couchsurfing. Although she was busy with school, we managed a mini celebration of the Mooncake Festival and a hearty girl’s talk the night I arrived.
Dong Dong made salad and Pu'er tea, and we picked up some sushi from the supermarket on the way back to her apartment after she picked me up from the train station. I brought a couple of mooncakes and some panda candies from Shanghai.
In Tokyo, I finally managed to catch up with Ryota on one fine Sunday afternoon. Ryota is a designer at Sony and his work schedule is mad. I was not able to meet up with him on all my previous trips, so it was a delight to finally see this old friend again (he used to be my colleague during his brief stint in Singapore a few years back).
Ryota brought me to this hole-in-the-wall soba place in Aomori. Oiishi!!
Cutting through the meandering backlanes of Omote-sando, we bumped into a troupe celebrating one of Japan's many summer festivals. Someone once told me that despite the glitz of main street Omote-Sando (a high-end shopping belt), its backlanes are full of character and romantic. It is true.
We popped into an exhibition housed within a cafe, dedicated to the late Taro. The impudent me mimicked the grandmaster of super weird sculptures 🙂
I met Mike last October in New York City, only to find out that we’d soon be within an hour of each other (time difference) come January 2011 when he moved to Tokyo. After his move, I first met up with him during my trip in March. As always, I couldn’t have been happier to see him again this time.
Mike was extremely busy and tired from Japanese lessons and house hunts that we could only manage a quick Indian dinner in Shibuya. Hachiko provided a convenient meeting point at the busy interchange. The shopping district lit up with a float as part of the city's summer festivals.
The morning before I had to jump on my flight back to Shanghai, Mike obliged to lunch and a walk through Shimokitazawa. I adore this cute district, so good to be back! Some of the nice new finds were a pink train and Mickey Mouse smashing his guitar in the window of a shop that sold nothing but stickers. And my favorite panda now setting up shop for ... er ... fortune telling?
As time was running out for me and we both loved spicy, we ducked into a Thai restaurant. After my tom yam goong in Bangkok, no Thai food anywhere else came close. But it was a satisfying roundup of my Japan trip this time. Not that I was ready or happy to leave, but ... well, I'll be back soon. So, after sharing a goodbye hug, Mike and I parted ways again.