Kaze Wo Atsumete

Tokyo, Japan

This post on beautiful Tokyo is long overdue following a week there in December 2012 with one of my best travel buds, my Dad. We were lucky to catch both the Emperor’s birthday – with a rare entry into the Imperial Palace – and the madness of a Comiket fair. We explored Ginza, Harajuku and everywhere in between. Other highlights included…

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Sumo: The time of year meant we missed the Tokyo Tournament, so we organised a visit to a wrestling stable via the IJCEE. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. If you’re in Tokyo, you really can’t miss this.

Shinjuku: Shinjuku was my favourite neighbourhood, home to Golden Gai bar area and the stunning Park Hyatt hotel, which hosts the New York Bar & Grill where you can create your own Suntory moments.

Meiji: Another highlight was not just the serene Meiji Shrine itself, but the Meiji Shrine at the weekend with all the gorgeous traditional Japanese weddings parading through its courtyard, one after the other.

Music: Japan takes its music seriously, reflected in Tokyo’s world class jazz venues. We spent a couple of great evenings at Tokyo Blue Note and the Pit Inn. For a country I’ve always associated with cutting edge technology, it surprised me that the trade in second hand records is truly alive and well. Disk Union stocks literally every record that has ever been produced.

On that note, my final recommendation. Pick up a copy of the ‘Lost in Translation’ soundtrack (awesome Xmas present!). I’m just listening to it while pulling together this post. It feels like I’m right back wandering through the alleys of Golden Gai. Failing to be more original or witty, I’ve named this blog post after my favourite track on the CD – the 1971 song ‘Kaze Wo Atsumete’ (‘Gather the Wind’) by the band Happy End. Enjoy!

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