Yesterday, I met up with my friend Haruka, a Tokyo native, who showed me around the city. We discussed Japanese culture, food and life throughout the day and I learned a tremendous amount about the people of this country. It was my best day in Japan yet.

We took the Sky Hop bus to Roppongi Hills and had lunch at a great vegetarian restaurant. I ordered a pumpkin and brown rice dish that tasted incredible.

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Haruka said that this neighborhood is home to many foreign businesses and wealthy expats. The luxury brands and boutique shops that surrounded us indicated that she was correct. 

We then hopped on the bus to Tokyo Tower and took the elevator to the observation deck, giving us a bird’s eye view of the city. Seeing Tokyo from above gave me a whole new perspective of the metropolis I had only experienced as a lowly street pedestrian.

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And of course, Japan never fails to disappoint in the slightly strange category. Among other souvenirs, they sell mayonnaise flavored crackers in Tokyo Tower.

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After descending from our perch, we went to a famous tofu restaurant and tried the local specialty. The restaurant was located in a lush Japanese-style garden where women in a small building separate from the main restaurant sold carryout tofu. I tried a tofu ball with pickled mushrooms, which cost about ¥300 (~$3). Despite being cold it was very flavorful and I’d definitely eat it again.

That was the last stop on our day trip and we parted ways when we got back to Tokyo station. I continued to ride the bus back to Asakusa and on the way snapped a good photo of the recently completed Tokyo Skytree.

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I wandered around Asakusa after I got off of the bus and grabbed some noodle soup. In the restaurant, I met a british musician named Conrad and talked with him for a while. He’s an electronic musician and quite an interesting guy. You never know who you’ll meet when you explore a city!

On my way back to the hostel I couldn’t help but admire a lit up shrine I walked past. I had seen it many times in the daylight, but the night seemed to bring out a mystique that stopped me in my tracks.

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