It started when my old Economics professor said, “I’m taking my EcoDev class to Tokyo this spring. Do you want to tag along?” The answer to an invitation like that is always “yes.” But when the date started crawling closer, I was trying to squirm out of the trip, moved to do so by a long list of excuses. My professor was the type who marked words though, so my “yes” remained. The plane ticket was booked, hotel reservations were made, the visa was approved (barely made it!), and sooner than I could pack, it was time to meet and greet those famed cherry blossoms.
They say spring is the best season to travel to a place like Japan. Surely my summer trip there was hardly ideal thanks to the stifling heat and humidity. Spring weather had sunny mornings that transitioned to cold afternoons and evenings. But the day could turn frigid when it rains. I still like autumn the most, though. I like that it’s dependably cold all hours of the day. You’re sure you’ll need that heavy coat and that you’re never going to sweat under your thermals.
But spring wins with its aesthetic; there is nothing quite like it. Bright, colorful flowers, towering, green trees, and of course, the white-pink sakura blooms–all these line the streets and fill the parks. Life and nature everywhere you turn. It’s a breathtaking sight, not at all anything I could get over with.
Day 1 had our little party of four struggling to get to our hotels. It was raining, as the very accurate weather predictions have warned us. Also I’ve forgotten that when the Japanese (and Koreans too, for that matter) say that the hotel is a 12 minute-walk away, the Filipino pacing for that is actually 20 minutes minimum. After a long trudge in the rain, we finally found Toyoko Inn Asakusa Senzobu Tsukuba Express. I reserved direct from their website and paid cash upon check in. Check in was late (4 pm!) but it’s an affordable chain inn and it’s easily my most favorite one of all. Super clean, and though small it’s a manageable space, specially since I booked a single room. Also they serve free breakfast (Onigiri! Soup, natto, coffee and bread!) and they lend you free jammies (!!!). Once we’ve deposited our luggage, it was time for our Tokyo Stock Exchange field trip, then after a couple of hours of legitimate learning, it was off to Ginza to reunite with all the pretty cafes and shops (hello again 12 floors of Uniqlo).
All photos belong to me.