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My Semester in Hong Kong: Part Two

I went to Tokyo and I did not meet Bill Murray or Scarlett Johansson.

I did, however, stand outside the karaoke rooms where they filmed their scenes for Lost In Translation and take pictures so I was close enough.


Japan is crazy. In a really, really good way.

The Metro system is the most difficult I’ve ever come across, barely anyone speaks English, and we had to keep our shoes off at all times in our hostel (which we forgot to do about a hundred times). But none of these things detract from Tokyo’s charm. Bright lights and the big city indeed; one of my friends even compared our sights to Salford Quays.

In Akihabara, we visited a maid cafe, which is run by ‘kawaii’ women dressed up in full maid attire who would be summoned to our table through meows. They made us do a lot of smiling and heart signs with our hands before eating but it was all good fun.


In Shinjuku, we took a man-powered rickshaw around the roads, which was an incredibly odd and hilarious experience. They even gave us the opportunity to pass by a (then-) closed cafe that had been around for an impressive 70 years.


A warning for prospective Japan tourists – their drinking age is 20, which sucks when you’re only 19 and all your 20 year old mates want to go to a club that is genuinely called Womb and is genuinely home to the world’s largest disco ball. What I wouldn’t have given to have been born in 1995 so I could tick those two things off my bucket list. We also spotted a Garlands in Harajuku so you truly are never that far from home.

To clarify -- this is definitely not Womb or Garlands

To clarify — this is definitely not Womb or Garlands

The highlight of Japan for me was visiting Mount Fuji. One hours sleep was totally worth being up in the actual clouds, just chilling (literally – Japan is very cold compared to HK) with a really beautiful mountain. The 2,000 foot cable car to a neighbouring mountain, however, was actually the most terrifying experience of my life.


From the moment we got off our coach at the Station we knew we’d fallen in love with Tokyo. Fresh air and wonderfully polite and helpful people aren’t things which can be taken for granted.

I’m thinking about getting a job in one of the maid cafes just so I can live there forever.

Alex Gregson


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