Tokyo Bar Game Strong AF

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I get how people visiting Tokyo for the first time go through hell and back planning trips. I can also see why it’s hard to believe when I tell people: relax and just get… lost. But I promise, Tokyo is packed to the brim with good food, booze, and everything in between that all you have to do, is walk a few steps and BOOM. Anything you put in your mouth will taste better than whatever you last put in your mouths in your home countries.

Tokyo is so massive that even after living here for almost four years, I still stumble onto new places to eat and booze. If I don’t notate, I usually forget places I randomly find.

Last Friday, I re-discovered a bar I thought I would never find again because I forgot to notate and, well, my IG caption says it all:  “Found this super hidden bar I stumbled onto a while back and thought I would never, ever, ever be able to find again — shocked, delighted, but most of all, elated! My drink of choice: #Yamazaki Mizunara 🥃”

So if you’re planning a visit don’t be afraid to come without hours of research — Tokyo is one of the best places on the planet to wander without a plan. (Unless of course, you are looking to eat at all the Michelin spots).

And just for heck of it, here are some photos from another random bar — every piece of ice is chiseled to fit the specific glassware. So incredible! *pardon the laziness of uploading screenshots of my Insta; as of late, I don’t keep photos on my phone anymore… 

All the Feels

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New York vibe; Tokyo flow

There’s been this tugging of my heart for a while now. Emotions well up in the back of my throat, usually followed by this hollowness and my heart tugs again. I’m feeling all the feels and I don’t know what to do; these emotions are messing me up.

I’m a thinker not a feeler. Independent, strong, fearless, and carefree, I’m the one everyone relies on, looks up to, the ‘crazy’ one who picks up and moves anywhere, achieves anything and everything I put my mind to. So what is going on? What has been going on…?

After returning from SF earlier this month I think I figured it out. I’m homesick.

In late 2013 I moved from NYC to Tokyo. It’s pretty hard to leave a city like New York.

There’s an unmatched vibrance you can’t help but pick up just walking down the street. It’s packed with people from all over the globe. Focused. Driven. Rushing. It seems like everyone has a purpose, a goal.

The colossal skyscrapers, the culture, the subcultures, the food, everything about New York is a daily reminder of how insignificant I am in this world. Manhattan humbles me and I always want to do more. See more. Be more.

New York drove me to always be the best version of me. Especially moving from SF (where I was raised) a city where everything was handed to me effortlessly and easily, I craved a challenge. Thrived on it. 

Then, I reached a cross-roads and what I loved so much about New York started weighing me down. I required a change of pace, a release, from the city that demanded so much from me, that I constantly wanted to please — needed to please — before I drowned.

In April of 2013, I visited Tokyo for 10 days. It was the first time in six years I stepped back into Japan. I was captivated.

Tokyo was bustling but not noisy. Busy, yet there was order. There was conformity but the city is so large, so diverse, there is room to be different. I knew this was the city that suited me after New York, LA, and D.C.  

So I packed all my stuff and moved.

Several years later, Tokyo still manages to constantly delight me. Surprise me. Catch me off guard.

Tokyo has everything I love about a big city and more. It’s convenient. And clean. Pockets of old within new, new within old. There are so many layers, so much history. Every day I make a new discovery within the so many things that make zero sense.

Tokyo keeps me on my toes, yet it is peaceful. Non-confrontational. Passive yet aggressive. Just like the people. My culture. My roots.

I am at ease in Tokyo. But I am also alone. My friends, family, and loved ones — my support system — are all Stateside and with every visit back, my heart aches more and more when I reach an airport to fly back to Japan.

I’ve always liked being alone and never needed people in the past. Moving abroad has changed that, changed me. Or perhaps I’m simply learning that solitude and loneliness are two very different things.  

But I know I can’t leave yet. I need to achieve something anything that defines my time here. Something that validates me … but then I wonder, is it really worth this emptiness?

I am homesick but more so, I need others for the first time ever. What do I do with all these emotions…?