Posts tagged Anna Kooiman
Tokyo in 3 Days

Konnichiwa! Hello! Good afternoon from Tokyo! There are so many great ways to soak up the size and scope of Tokyo's cityscape that's home to more than 13 million people! We chose to have a sky high elegant lunch in one of Tokyo's tallest buildings and then did an afternoon cruise on Tokyo Bay. If you're looking for the newest, highest point, Tokyo SkyTree is your destination. You can get some of Japan's most famous sushi while you're there too! Unfortunately I am off the sushi at the moment (4.5 more months) since I'm preggers.... But we did eat some amazing Japanese signature teppanyaki cuisine, crazy cool street food, and Japanese sweet treats.

You must go to Shibuya Crossing while you are in Tokyo. It is said to be the busiest intersection in the world! Make sure to take the train here! Ya gotta ride the subways like a local! I was so impressed by the subway system there. Incredibly organized, orderly, clean, etc. And the Japanese people are absolutely lovely if you need some help getting around!

I imagine you may want to get a little retail therapy in while you're in Tokyo. Harajuku and Aoyama are the main shopping districts in Tokyo. Harajuku skews younger and Aoyama skews high end. If shopping isn’t your thing, or you broke the bank just buying a plane ticket to Tokyo, you don’t have to spend too much... there is so much to see in these neighborhoods. Fabulous cafes to sip your tea and watch the people go by. My favorite shopping neighborhood was Daikanyama. It is a bit more hipster and reminds me of my old neighborhood in New York City, the West Village. It is actually often called the 'Brooklyn on Japan's capital.'  I would 100% recommend spending some time there. There are lots of cute coffee shops and cafes. We found a quirky place for dinner where if you wanted you could sit on beds that were lining the walls!  If you're in search of the quirkiest, most outlandish fashion finds... just go bopping around was in Takeshita-dori. This is where the teenagers make their fashion marks with bright colors and zany styles. If you want to get as authentic as possible, make sure to check out the posh boutiques and second hand shops along the side streets.

Because the art of sumo wrestling is such a foreign concept to me, I knew I had to squeeze in a session to at least watch these gigantic athletes slap and pound each other. Unfortunately our trip did not coincide with one of the handful of tournaments they have every year. If this is a priority for you... make sure to go to this website to plan your trip around tournament dates! Visiting a sumo stable for practice is thrilling too. I made my way to Ryogoku to observe a sumo wrestling practice. It was so cool! Lots of slapping themselves and taunting one another. The training equipment they use seems archaic.... massive water jugs, hammer weights, etc. I got to meet a few of the stars and snap some pics. I will say it was incredibly HOT in there. Pack lots of water and make sure you whisper once you take your seat. These practices are taken VERY seriously and you don't want to be rude. Also be sure to take off your shoes when you walk in the building.

The biggest seafood market in the world… Tsukiiji Market. Locals and tourists alike flock to the fish on a daily basis. Massive is an understatement. The equivalent of aound US$15 million of seafood is traded daily. Early in the morning it looks almost like a symphony of bustling merchants, trucks, forklifts, handcarts, ice, and seafood of all kinds. The jazz gets going before the rooster crows in the morning… so a lot of out of town-ers make a special trip to come watch the tuna being tossed and auctioned off as the sun rises… and then have sushi and freshly shucked oysters for breakfast! If raw ain’t yo thang…and neither is dried fish or seaweed… you can opt for savory Japanese rolled omelettes, called tamagoyaki. Some even come on sticks! I ate a lot of those while I was in Tokyo! I also tried charred baby octopus on a skewer. I usually LOVE octopus... but I have to admit... it was GROSS! The outer markets around the main Tsujiki Market are really cute too. I bought a couple pottery pieces, a bowl for my mom and a little holding tray for my husband. Tsukiji Market may be a must see stop for travelers to Tokyo, but it’s a legit working space. So watch out for all the workers and their heavy equipment! Or you’ll be tuna on toast!



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10 Tips to Survive Long Haul Travel

Is there somewhere you've always wanted to travel that requires a lot of time in the air? A cool town in Europe, Asia, or Australia? A place you've been dreaming about? What's stopping you? Are you thinking something like this? "I can't bear to do that flight... it's a long haul. It's too overwhelming. I'll stay home. I can't do it!" Well.... I say.... "YES you can! And here's how!"

1. Load up on the H2O... Take it easy on the alcohol. It's always fun when the food and beverage cart comes by on long flights... and you might be extra excited that you don't have to pay for beer and wine.... But I advise against drinking too many booze.  It's easy to get dehydrated on these epic journeys in the air. Alcohol adds to that likelihood. 

2. Keep your toiletry bag handy. It's nice to be able to brush your teeth, wipe your face down, etc... I like to put wet wipes or hand sanitizer in there too. The other must have for your magic sack? Moisturizer? Your skin will likely get very dry while you're up in the air. Lotion will keep you comfortable. I recommend bringing a moisturizer suitable for your face and body.

3. Invest in a pair of compression socksBut buy them before you get to the airport. I forgot mine this trip and ended up spending about three times what I would have if I'd planned better! Compression socks are often recommended by physicians because they keep the blood flowing on long flights. They prevent achey legs and feet that can be associated with cramped seating. 

4. Walk Around. Even if you don't need to use the restroom... Get up! Get moving every so often. I leave my seat every two hours or so. Just like using compression socks... walking around keeps the blood flowing and decreases chances of deep vein thrombosis.

5. Check the back of the plane for free fruit and snacks. I have found that on most long haul flights the airlines will keep apples or some sort of fruit in a couple areas accessible by passengers between meals. 

6. Bring a shaker cup and protein powder. I like to bring the individual packs... and pick a blend that also includes some vitamins and minerals. This won't take up much space in your carry-on... and will be great to have if you don't get enough to eat or you don't like the meal you were served. Drinking a protein shake along the way will also ensure you are getting proper nutrition. Again, it also encourages you to drink more H2O!

7. Bring healthy crunchy snacks. I like to bring split pea snacks, dried chickpeas, or edamame. These are great between airline meals. The salt and crunch often gives me a little pick-me-up if I'm feeling motion sick or lethargic. 

8. Pack a compressible, comfy, and cozy jacket or sweater. Sometimes these flights get cold. I mean COLD. The airlines will provide a light blanket, but sometimes that's not enough for me. This is a biggie... don't forget!

9. Fight jet lag by getting on your destination's time zone ahead of time... Here's what I mean... Even if it is mid-morning in your departure city... if it happens to be evening in your destination city... imagine the meal you are about to eat is your DINNER... not your breakfast or lunch... sometimes you can really fool yourself.

10. Consider eye masks and melatonin to help you sleep. A lot of folks like to take sleeping pills, whether over the counter or prescription. But I prefer to do things in more natural ways when possible. Eye masks (similar to headphones) can help tune out the foreign environment around you. Melatonin can help get your circadian rhythms on track for your new 'bedtime.' It is said to reduce the time needed to fall asleep.

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