So I'll start at the very beginning. A very good place to start, right? :) *now bursting out into song*
Anyway, the gals and I began our trip by going to Tokyo on the bullet train -- "shinkansen" in Japanese (or "shink" as Lauren likes to say). After the three-hour ride, we went to the Imperial Palace grounds to walk around. That's where we met up with our new friend, Alice.
Alice is from Milan, Italy and studies Japanese in Tokyo. I'm still amazed by the fact that she speaks Italian, English and Japanese fluently!! I'd never met her before last weekend, but we've been messaging back and forth for over a year. I first got in touch with Alice through my friend Sarah from college, who has been Alice's penpal for over 10 years. It was great to finally meet her and hang out for the weekend! Alice was a ton of fun and a great guide around Tokyo.
From the Imperial Palace, we went to Asakusa Temple, which is the most popular temple for tourists to visit and is surrounded by souvenir shops.
At the front entrance of Asakusa.
We spent the rest of Saturday evening exploring the Ueno area, where we ate dinner at McDonalds and then went to karaoke! We sang several Michael Jackson songs as a tribute. :) "Heal the word, make it a better place..."
Group shot taken after lunch. Interesting fact: Hisayo and Alice are both friends living in Tokyo who I met through friends named Sara(h)!
Outside the temple are several wooden panels with prayers/wishes written on them by visitors. They're in all different languages and are interesting to browse through.
I got a kick out of this one...
I opted to take a picture of the adorable (but pricey) tissue box cover instead of purchasing it. :)
Sunday ended with a session of purikura -- the fun photo booths where you take goofy pictures and then add embellishments.
Fun times! We headed to Kyoto the next morning, which I'll write about next time...