My husband and I were in our mid-twenties. He was still in school. I had just finished grad school and was working an hourly job that I enjoyed but that didn’t exactly earn me exorbitant amounts of money. In a fit of irresponsibility, we decided that we wanted to go to Japan, and we wanted to go now.
We found a good deal on a travel package to Tokyo. We booked it on our credit card, did a ton of research in the months leading up to our departure, and off we went. We didn’t do a guided tour, we didn’t meet up with friends once we got there, and neither of us could speak a word of Japanese.
I can’t tell you my favorite song, and I can’t narrow down my list of favorite movies to just one. But I can say with absolute certainty that Tokyo is the most wonderful, spectacular, there-aren’t-superlatives-to-adequately-describe-it place I’ve ever visited.
We were in awe of everything: riding the subway (especially at rush hour), green tea ice cream, Italian food that did not seem like Italian food, stores dedicated exclusively to selling colorful condoms, baseball games where the fans cheered the entire time rather than sitting back and halfway-watching the game, a wedding procession at a shrine, streets that were eerily clean, signs written in English that made us laugh, public toilets that had a million buttons, businessmen who took off their shoes and lounged in the grass at the park, $5 sodas, the filming of some TV show where everyone was wearing white.
We visited museums and took in cultural sights and ate Japanese food. It was the little things, the glimpses of daily life that made an impression on me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the opportunity to go to Tokyo again. That is one darn long flight, and it isn’t particularly budget-friendly either, but I’m so glad I went at least once. I’m thankful we threw caution to the wind and didn’t sit around saying we’d go “someday.” Every now and then, the wise thing to do is not to wait.