I landed in Tokyo 24-hours before a typhoon hit. After sleeping off the jet lag, I donned my raincoat and headed out into the rain — I couldn’t wait to explore the city streets, and plus, rain is the perfect weather for soup. Almost every day of my trip I ate a big bowl of ramen, the only sound in the shop the slurping of noodles. Ramen is an individual experience. Even people sitting at the counter with groups or a partner didn’t really chat. They took the time for their thoughts, to experience the steaming bowl in front of them.
After the typhoon hit, the skies were clear, the air refreshed. I left the raincoat behind in the hotel and continued to explore on foot. Up early one morning from the time difference, I went to explore the Tsukiji Market, Tokyo’s famous (and historic) fish market that is due to move locations in 2016. The fishermen zip and zoom around tourists, barely noticing them ambling along the market streets. I worked up an appetite exploring the many narrow alleyways before sitting down for sushi for breakfast.
Picking up my chopsticks at about 7.30am, I felt very far from my normal New York routine. Stepping outside the boundaries we create for ourselves is part of the pleasure of travel, a reason to book a flight, endure a long-haul journey, wait out a typhoon, and head out into a new city to witness the sunrise.