Before we moved to Tokyo I was concerned that Blaine would hate it. I’ve been trying to get him to move with me to NYC pretty much since we started dating. He’s always been reluctant. He feels claustrophobic in NYC and says it’s too far from the beach. I’m still working on him, and now he says he’s willing to try it for six months. Yay! He also said as soon as we can afford a fancy brownstone in Brooklyn Heights, he’ll move right away (I’m starting a brownstone piggy bank).
Anyway, we were both surprised on our first trip to Tokyo that it did not feel like New York City. The buildings were shorter, the streets wider, the city stretched out further, and we found quiet neighborhoods and big sprawling parks and gardens. It didn’t take long for Blaine to love Tokyo. It’s super walkable and we easily walked ten plus miles on the weekends just exploring random wards. Blaine and I have very similar tastes on almost everything, which is pretty fantastic. But I’m sure he has his own special things about Tokyo that he loves. So let’s find out what those are.
What’s your favorite Tokyo neighborhood?
Probably Daikanyama, it’s quiet and not too crowded but with awesome boutique shopping and small winding roads with cool shops and tiny restaurants. You can spend hours there.
Where do you most want to live in Tokyo?
Daikanyama or Nakameguro. Nakameguro is quaint, it has the canal surrounded by cherry blossoms, it has small shops and fun little restaurants, and you’re close to the main center of the city but it’s really relaxing.
What’s your favorite shop in Tokyo?
Takeo Kikuchi or Tokyu Hands. Takeo Kikuchi is a Japanese menswear designer. His shop in Shibuya is awesome, clothing and a bespoke suit shop are on the first two stories and a great café is on the third, plus the staff is super friendly.
Tokyu Hands has everything; it’s like 13 stories of anything you can imagine – from clothes to housewares to cleaning products to model making sets. It’s like a toy store for big kids.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Tokyo?
Walk around and explore the neighborhoods.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Tokyo?
Itamae Sushi. They have locations in Ginza and Roppongi and the lunch special includes about 10 pieces of nigiri and unlimited miso and green tea for around 1000 yen.
What’s your favorite thing to eat in Tokyo?
An Asahi Black (beer) with Muji chocolate covered peanuts from the conbini (convenience store).
How would you describe Tokyo in ten words or less?
Vibrant, refreshing, a foreign city that feels like home
What’s your favorite touristy thing to do in Tokyo?
Go to the temples. That’s the only time I really feel like a tourist, because I don’t know exactly what to do.
What should people not miss when they visit Tokyo?
All night karaoke in Shibuya
What surprised you about Tokyo?
There were more people than in New York City, but it felt like there was less. It felt more open than NYC.
What’s your favorite museum in Tokyo?
The National Art Center because the design was pretty, the architecture was really cool, and the rotating exhibits keep if fresh.
What’s your favorite coffee shop in Tokyo?
FabCafe on Dogenzaka in Shibuya. The coffee’s really nice, it has a good atmosphere, and it’s fun to meet all the makers using the 3D printer.
What’s your favorite place to people watch in Tokyo?
I like to go to R/O-426, the airstream burger joint in Harajuku, and watch everyone walk by down below in their awesome outfits.
What’s your favorite park in Tokyo?
Shinjuku Gyoen, it’s beautiful and giant and you don’t even feel like you’re in the city.
What’s your favorite building in Tokyo?
KITTE, directly south of Tokyo Station. I love the white tile and the rooftop garden with views of Tokyo Station and the shops are pretty cool too.
What’s your favorite Tokyo memory?
Going out with our great friends for all night drinking and karaoke until 5 in the morning, feeling camaraderie with everyone else wandering the streets of Shibuya after staying out all night
Sushi or Ramen?
Beer or Sake?
Sake. Nihonshu to be exact.
Coffee or Green Tea?
Tokyo or Kyoto?