People say don’t take a tour if you want more freedom when exploring a new city. People also say take a tour if you don’t want to have to plan out your trip. Well, for Tokyo, Japan, I’ve done both. My first time to Japan was with my mom, wandering the city by ourselves. My memory of that trip is foggy now, it has been over 10 years I presume. The most that struck out to me during that trip was how much we walked one day that I could’ve sworn my legs were literally going to give out on me. They felt like wobbly jelly the next day.
The more recent trip to Japan was with my mother, grandmother and my cousin. We picked going in a tour because the entire trip will have been planned out for us and it doesn’t hurt for my grandmother that they pick us up and drops us off by the tour bus all the time. It also didn’t hurt that this allowed me and my cousin to have some quality bonding time.
I still remember the first night, the night when Carmen and I became friends with the other fellow tourists. Our tour guide had told us earlier that in our hotel there was a spa area that contains water from Mount Fuji (I may or may not be making this up because my memory fails me sometimes). So Carmen and I, after trying on the kimonos hanging in the closet of our hotel room (and taking an unnecessary amount of pictures with it), decided to go check this mini spa out. As we stepped out of our room, a girl from our tour also stepped out of hers. Once we made eye contact, she quickly scrambled over to us, hollering, “Hey! You girls going to check out the spa?”
“Yup! You too?”
“Yes, but I didn’t want to go alone, and my brother obviously can’t go with me. Do you guys want to go together?”
“Yeah sure!” Carmen and I sang in unison.
And that was the first time I saw both of them naked.
No, I’m serious, that’s what these spas were like in Japan, clothes are not optional. That made bonding with our new friend even easier, nothing screams intimacy like seeing someone at their most vulnerable state on the first day you meet them.
For the rest of the five days, Carmen and I spent most of our time between my mom and grandma and the new group of friends we made. During the day we would spend time with our family, taking in the tour and tourist areas like a lavishing lavender field where you can see Mount Fuji from a distant. When night falls, we would roam around the streets of Tokyo, shopping and causing trouble with our new found friends.
Lastly, we went to Disneyland (which was my second time there), but this time I got to wear some Marie ears to blend in with the Japanese culture. Whenever Japanese people visit Disneyland, they love to dress up and I think there’s no better way than that to enjoy the magical atmosphere.
Nonetheless, one of the most memorable part of this trip was the time I got to spend with my cousin. I’m always in Canada and the other half (more like actually 98%) of my family are always in Hong Kong and this really minimizes the time I get to spend with them. This trip definitely closed the gap I had with her and sometimes that’s really all that matters in life.