14 Oct 2016

Skyscraper Jungle: Tokyo

Long long time ago, in one of Lithuania's villages lived a simple teenage girl who had one wish - to visit Japan. As time went by, the dream still looked as a dream and was locked away, while the girl immersed herself in the new life that she created in the capital. And one day pretty much a miracle happened - that girl got plane tickets to Japan! 
   As you might guessed by now, that girl is me. And this is the first post about my adventures in Japan.



Well, to get those tickets was not that easy, as I just wrote. Actually, I applied to the International Youth Development Exchange Program (or INDEX in short), succeeded in the interview and got selected to be one of ten Lithuanian delegation members. The INDEX Program commenced in 1994, in order to commemorate the wedding of Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Each year delegations from foreign countries visit Japan and Japanese delegations come to their countries.
   To be fair, if you imagine that being a participant of this program is like being a tourist - you are very mistaken. The program is intense and wast, including the International Youth Conference and Local Program in different prefectures in Japan. In one day you see and experience so much, that you are pretty much dead tired at the end of the day, and this continues for more than two weeks! BUT nevertheless you get an incredible chance to get first-hand experience everywhere: from tea ceremony in one of the most celebrated tea schools in Japan, to making traditional sweets or visiting atomic power plant or school.
   Even though I felt tired every evening, I still went to explore every city that we were in. Tokyo was the first one on the list.




The city itself is huge. Enormous. There are lots of people, lights, sounds, traffic. It's very hard to feel the traditional Japanese culture, which, as our journey has shown, is usually concentrated in more rural areas. Nevertheless, Tokyo has its own charm. It gives you the feeling of anonymity and freedom.







What I really liked in Tokyo (and in all Japan) was Shinto shrines and temples. No matter, that there were hundreds of people around you, you could still feel the calm surroundings of old buildings.









Asakusa temple with the famous Kaminari-mon (pictures above) surprised me with a giant market, that continued alongside the road to the main building. Buzzing and constantly changing crowd was an unexpected sight, but I soon got used to it.




Meanwhile, the Meiji temple greeted us with majestic buildings and looong way to reach them.





Tokyo is a must visit city when in Japan, but it was not the city that I fell in love from the first sight. In my next post I will tell more about my unexpected emotional attachment to one particular city. But for now - 





Photos © Asta Skujytė-Razmienė

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