Crashing Japan
Tour Experience - Last Day

by Bamboo Dong,

My last day in Tokyo was a bittersweet experience for me. I wasn't ready to leave the city, and I angsted over not being able to walk to Shinjuku Station every morning to devour croquettes from a bakery that I had grown fond of. I could have easily spent another two weeks there, but unfortunately, my flight was scheduled for that evening.

I decided to spend my last morning in Harajuku, planted firmly on Jingu Bridge with my camera. This is the bridge famous for its gothic lolita subculture, where every Sunday afternoon, girls go in their best duds and smile gracefully when you ask for a picture. Sadly, I had to run back to the hotel to catch a shuttle to the airport before the bridge really filled up, but I was able to catch some pretty cute outfits.

Overall, my trip was fantastic, and I'll never forget even a second of it. As much as I like going to new places and wandering around by myself until I figure things out, I'm really glad that I chose to go with a tour group. Destination Japan's tour guide, Earl, was super helpful, really knowledgeable, and maybe the nicest guy in the world. This is the guy that fielded an early morning phone call from me when I couldn't find a sushi restaurant, and the same guy that voluntarily left his place near the front of the insanely long Metal Gear Solid 4 line, just to bail me out when I forgot to get my hand stamped at one of the game show doors.

At the beginning of the tour, when the other participants told me that they chose to go on this tour partially just to hang out with Earl again, I thought they were a little nuts. A week later, I realized that chilling out with cool participants and an awesome guide can definitely make a great trip even greater. To all the first-timers out there, I definitely recommend checking out one of these tours—you'll see a lot of great stuff, you'll eat a lot of amazing food, and you'll make a lot of friends.

Driving back to Orange County was one of the more depressing moments I've had in recent memory, but knowing that I'll definitely try to go back to Japan some day made things easier.

For more travel tips and a heads up on other cool places to go in Tokyo, check out the forum thread for this issue of Crashing Japan!

For more pictures and commentary on the tour, check out Destination Japan's flashback page.

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