The Top Reasons I Returned to Tokyo
They say it’s always nice to rediscover your roots. Whether its revisiting your old high school, catching up with some old friends or returning to the neighborhood you lived in as a child. Recently I had the pleasure of once again re-treading the path I took a long time ago when I first arrived in Japan. Here are the reasons I chose to move back.
Disneyland is Nearby
Tokyo Disneyland isn’t actually in Tokyo, it’s in Chiba Prefecture, Urayasu City to be exact. For the first 2 years of my life in Japan, the Kanto region was my home. I lived in Chiba Prefecture, and divided my working time between Chiba and the neighboring metropolis of Tokyo. Because of this, I frequently traveled to the Disneyland nearby.
It’s fair to say that those first 2 years had plenty of ups and downs, but hanging out at Disneyland was always an escape for me. I met so many amazing people and had so many wonderful, unforgettable, life-changing experiences.
More Jobs Available
Times change and for English teachers in Japan so does the job, a little too frequently for my liking to be honest.
While in more rural areas I have taught, I usually worked for the local government, Tokyo is filled with many public and private schools always looking to recruit competent and motivated teachers. You can easily find an English school for all different age groups which will suit your needs and skill set.
But that's not all, there are other opportunities for jobs besides English teaching. Depending on your Japanese level, you could work for local stores, writing, editing, or translating. Perhaps write for websites like I do for this one.
Impressive Architecture Nearby
Probably my two favorite sight-seeing spots in Tokyo are the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku, with its south tower observation deck offering a magnificent sunset view of Mount Fuji, and the legendary Tokyo Tower, which contrary to all those Godzilla movies remains standing tall, its Eiffel Tower-esque structure keeping watch over the nearby Roppongi district.
Tokyo Tower in particular has a very special resonance for me. It was the first tourist attraction I visited upon my arrival in Japan for my first holiday back in August 2005. Just over a year later, in October 2006, it served as the backdrop to my first date with my first Japanese girlfriend. It’s a place from which I have always viewed Japan at its romantic and spectacular best.
But as I say this, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and Tokyo Tower have some new competition now: Tokyo Sky Tree, one of the world’s tallest structures and the tallest man-made structure in Japan.
Nearby, in Asakusa Ward, I am able to revisit another old favourite from my early days living in Kanto, the Asakusa Sensoji: the biggest temple complex in Tokyo and thankfully, it remains mercifully unchanged.
It's Constantly Updating
Especially with the Olympics coming, Tokyo seems to be constantly upgrading. I notice the greatest changes in Tokyo these days are in the central business districts. Shinjuku seems very different from my last visit. Whereas the skyline itself remains largely unaltered, many of the buildings seem to have had, at least at a purely cosmetic level, something of a facelift. The shopfronts look modern, the neon lights somehow seem brighter, and everything just feels a bit fresher, newer and updated.
I used to love sitting in the Starbucks across from the station in Shibuya station, indulging in my hobby of people watching. Looking at all those faces, each with their own story to tell and wondering where they came from and where they were going, the whole experience is like a drug to a writer, it fuels all the creative senses.
So what about the future? Was choosing to move back to Tokyo a great idea? Who knows?
I believe it was Sinatra who said: “Never say never again.”