An Asian Detour to … Tokyo, Part 1

Ever since I took a Japanese class in my first year of university, I’ve been in love with Japan. I almost thought of minoring in Japanese and/or studying a year abroad in Japan. Well, those ideas – along with my Japanese language skills – have long gone, but the desire to visit Japan always remained. Finally, FINALLY, that dream came true and I was able to go!

Our first stop was to the visually-stimulating and at-times-overwhelming city of Tokyo. With 13.9 million people in Tokyo, and over 40 million people in the Greater Tokyo area, Tokyo is crowded, busy and large. But despite all of this, the city was relatively clean and orderly, running like a well-oiled machine. It was quite incredible.

Shibuya Crossing, known for being one of the busiest intersections in the world
Walking the streets of Shibuya

Our first stop in Tokyo was to a unique type of museum. I’d previously frequented many art museums (the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and MoMA in New York are my 3 favorites), but this was my first time visiting a digital art museum. Instead of watching the artwork, with a digital art museum, you are part of the artwork. And since the digital artwork is constantly moving and changing, the experience changes as well.

Almost like Van Gogh’s sunflowers, except that the sunflowers are moving and changing around you.
The “Forest of Flowers and People” Room

The teamLab Borderless digital art museum was a beautiful sensory experience. If going, I highly recommend going as early as you can, this place can get really crowded! There is no map which allows you to wander around and explore the rooms as you go. The only issue was trying to make sure that we covered every room before we left. The other recommendation is to eat before you go or bring snacks – there is no food inside and you can easily spend hours there.

An overhead psychedelic light show accompanied by pulsating music, reminiscent of a Jedi light saber battle
This long-named room is called: Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather. It was super crowded, but I was able to find a small spot to take a photo.
This circular “Black Waves” room was like having a continuous undulating Hokusai painting surround you. It’s so relaxing that they have reclining chairs in the middle for you to relax and take it all in…
This was my favorite room (and judging by the long line, everyone else’s too!): The Forest of Lamps
The lanterns change color periodically

There’s no way I can post about Japan and NOT post about food. Although there’s no food at teamLab Borderless, there is a huge mall next door. Interestingly, the mall was very nice with a variety of shops, but it took quite a while before we actually found a Japanese restaurant! We walked past American, Italian, and Chinese restaurants – even a restaurant that specialized in beef tongue (!!!) – and finally we found one tucked into a corner at the far end of the mall. It wasn’t super cheap, but this restaurant had a deliciously fresh chirashi bowl with fresh salmon and salmon roe.

Our trip to Japan was off to a great start! Stay tuned for more to come…

One response to “An Asian Detour to … Tokyo, Part 1

  1. Pingback: An Asian Detour to … Tokyo, Part 2 | Je Parle Franglais·

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