The more you fight with any obsessions the more of them you get. Onigiri – not only a perfect breakfast idea, but also a great snack with various fillings. Anytime.
Buying food in Japanese supermarkets, for example as Lawson, is a fantastic adventure, since unless you do not know Japanese language and food, there is no way to guess what are you choosing. Surely you can judge by a smell, texture or consistency, however, trust me, it is not obvious. But it is fun for sure so I recommend to everyone to play this game and enjoy the results.
My big dream was to visit Japanese ice cream shop with fancy, quirky and not obvious flavours. Actually instead of looking for something very unique and not for the masses, I tried quite known brand in Okinawa Naha, Blue seal. Enough to try something new among flavours like: Ryukyu Milk tea, Shiiquasa Sherbet, Ube, my favourite Beni-imo, Okinawa Salt cookies, Okinawa Ta-imo cheesecake, Choco Matcha.
Beniimo was my favourite. I guess I was not the only one with such opinion as Okinawa people decided to make most of the sweets with Beniimo feeling. Do not think there is any enormous magic behind this name, as Beni Imo means sweet potato. Bit this is what I love in Japan, the they can use very simple ingredients to prepare a fabulous meal.
Lactic acid drink was one of the worst surprises at least for me. Strange, however refreshing during warm Okinawa nights or afternoon flights to Tokyo.
When I came back from Japan my friend asked me what surprised me there the most?
Gardens along the river
It might sound a little but corny, but I realized I have never taken a water bus in any city i visited. As usual I suspect there must be something exciting to focus on there. In general, Tokyo with its perfectly planned urban space has a lot to offer to the curious travelers. Since I was using metro almost the whole time in Tokyo, a water bus was a nice change. I took a trip from Hamarikyu Gardens in the very south of the city to the northern Asakusa.
What I found extremely attractive was how the nature is composed with the housings and streets. With all the massive housing across the city there are so many green spaces, gardens, parks. Between Hamarikyu Gardens and Asakusa, along the river, there are amazing green mini-alleys, probably also for pedestrians, cyclists:
left shore of Sumida river, near to Binji bridge
both shores from Binji bridge till Bashoinari Shrine
green area close to Tokaiinari Shrine
many more, however it is not obvious the find the names:)
Silence in the metro
Yes. Stay calm and keep silence says Japanese savour vivre. What a wonderful feeling. However how painful it is to go outside the metro, especialy if you go directly to a shopping mall:) What is even more interesting is that you should not eat there, well you should not eat outside in general. With such enormous choice of restaurants it is not that difficult.
Sings in the trains with hilarious English translations
That is definitely something to observe when entering a train in Tokyo. In most of the ads and train signs you will see animals (probably pandas or cats) or funny creatures instead of people. It really reminds of comics.
For the first time in my life I joined the very known trend to set resolutions for the new year, except that for me there will be only 1. I want to make most of the days of the year valuable and not to have the impression that all days are the same and life just go by. Yes. I am getting old and the older I am the less lazy I become, what is actually quite positive from my perspective. Only small steps to take out of my comfort zone, but more of them than before. Sometimes I was so into the routine that at the end of the week I could not say what exceptional happened. Let’s see how it goes after couple of weeks but I am quite positive about this.
I read somewhere that the trick is to get new habits. The way it works is that first you need to force yourself like hell to do something, but after 2-3 weeks it should actually become your habit.
Morning routines should rock
Being an early bird makes your life easier when developing morning habits, depending on what you want to achieve. As long as waking up is not the biggest issue here, forcing myself to do the exercises create big issue. So far only first day was effective thanks to my Japanese friend visiting me that weekend. Japanese New Year Day’s traditions says to get up early morning and look for the sunrise. So we did, running against the small mountain. Great experience although it would be hard to do it alone. Even greater if you are fit enough to fight with a small mountain. After couple of minutes I thought I will die. Literally. It is 11.01 and I am sick. There is a lot to do with changing my morning habits.
I eat everything except sweets. By sweets I don’t mean honey or additional small amount of sugar in vegetable juice etc. I only want to avoid what is literally called sweets like my favorite caramel bonbons, dulce de leche, chocolate, fudge and all those bad things that keep me high but only for couple of minutes. Yes, that is my drug that I don’t want to stick to. The reason why I want to avoid is that I am aware how destructive it can be for health. I am curious to know how not eating it will influence on my skin condition.
Small things makes a change
I think in my case setting huge goals that are had to achieve and measure don’t make sense. I can think about one great idea that I set up: to be more productive, but in order to achieve it there must be more small goals in the schedule. Go ahead, do small steps, few exercises, a bit more healthy small elements in your daily food – let’s see what it gives.
So I have a travel suitcase bought on purpose as a hand luggage and a planned 10 days trip to Japan. As usual my goal is to take only the necessary things and I think this time I planned it really well. 9 kg of luggage, enough to have still some spare place in the suitcase to bring some great souvenirs from Japan.
Plan well each day of your trip and check the weather.
That helps to choose clothes and perfectly and match each of them with your day plan. Here is how I do it:
flight – comfortable leggings and t-shirt, hoodie or pullover, socks
visiting Tokyo in December (2-3 days) – trekking trousers, comfortable sneakers, 3 t-shirts, pullover, windproof jacket, additional short jacket if necessary (evenings might be a bit colder)
beach day in Okinawa – swimming suit, summer trousers, windproof jacket
visiting Naha (20 or more degrees) – leggings or summer trousers, windproof jacket, t-shirt
Underwear of course:)
flip flops, 2 pair of sneakers, summer shoes comfortable enough for walking
small handbag or a backpack
2. Where do you sleep – check room amenities.
There is no point taking shower gel or a shampoo if your hostel or hotel provides them unless you need a special product. I took both, a shampoo and shower gel knowing that 3 people will use it.Make up product as well, but anyways it does not take a lot of space. Contact lenses – I use the daily ones, so I took 4 pairs for 4 days.
3. Accessories like sunglasses, nail file,
4. Medicines – painkillers, plasters
5. 2 Books, maps, guides, of course pdfs are better
6. Japanese power adapter, phone charger
That is really enough. Of course it is always better to find a hostel with working washing machine and a clothes dryer, but even without it you can make it.