Sitting on the plane, about two and half hours from Tokyo, I am contemplating what I am most looking forward to, and what I have missed most since the last time I was there.
- Sake, sake, sake….
Sake is super cheap in Japan, around a third the cost of what we pay in Australia. The selection is enormous, like seriously huge. Super Sake Boy and I stand in the supermarket just drooling at the choices. It is both wonderful and a little bit frustrating. We have been given a heads up on some serious sakes to try, by the lovely Sake Mistress, Simone, who we are literally tag teaming with. She is a guru of knowledge and we are looking forward to drinking many of her recommendations.
- Convenience Store Onigiri
Onigiri in Japan is wrapped in such a way that the nori doesn’t come into contact with the rice until you are about to eat it. It means the nori remains crunchy and the flavour is super delicious. The nori has an almost smoky flavour and it crunches as you bite into it, with such satisfaction. There are many flavours, some that I am not too keen on, like natto. But my favourite for breakfast is tuna and mayo, which is called chicken of the sea 😋
- Order on the Platform
Platforms at stations, all through Japan, are orderly and well organised. People abide by the etiquette and line up at the designated spot. No one pushes in or stands around in the wrong area, so despite the extreme busyness, especially in Tokyo, there is no chaos, just a sense of order. For someone who comes from a city of completely chaotic commuting, this is a welcome reprieve and only one of the many things that I love about Japanese trains.
- Kawaii Overload
You cannot come to Japan and not have some appreciation for the cuteness. It is rampant, and all pervading. The mascots on trains, the ubiquitous Hello Kitty on every product you could possibly imagine and the grown men, with their cute teddy phone covers, reading manga on the train. I guess this aspect of the culture is something I love as it reminds me of my childhood. The Little Twin Stars and Astro Boy. I have been a sucker for Japanese culture for a very long time. It is always difficult to not lose control and buy every cute thing you see, as there is so much of it, so much variety and it is comparatively cheap.
- Japanese Stationery
Japanese stationery is next level awesome. For those who know me personally, you know I am a big fan of all manner of stationery. The great desire and dream to be organised and that it be done in a beautiful way. Pens, paper, diaries, stickers, stamps. I love them all. The difference with the Japanese stuff is it is super good quality, and so luxurious to use. In Australia it is prohibitively expensive, but in Japan it is moderately priced and much easier to justify.