My Last First

Dear Friends,

Two hours ago, after our morning classes, LD, B and I went to the Maruzen next to our workplace for waffles and curry (LD‘s stomach has confirmed that his curry order was a misguided choice). As we enjoyed the sun, warming our backs through the glass windows, and the silence of the cafe, LD wondered aloud about the end of firsts. He commented that he hadn’t had any “firsts”  in many moons, and there were probably no more firsts coming. B chimed in that it was true that lately each day seemed like the one before and the weeks were melting into each other. We all concurred that we’d fallen into a monotonous routine: Get up, go to work, eat, drink, wait for days off, spend the days off in exactly the same way as the week before (eating and drinking),  then repeat. Our lives were pleasant, enjoyable enough, but alas, they’d become boring.

I disagreed that there no more firsts to be had, since I’d just recently gone to Daikanyama, a first. Additionally, I questioned if firsts were so important, since things always seemed to get better after the second, third and even forty-fifth time. Almost simultaneously, they began speaking of the excitement, good feeling, and high energy of waiting for a first time. (Anticipation often beats the experience, doesn’t it?).

As all drifters know, when the feeling of routine and tedium overtakes, the first thought is “It’s time to get out of here.” And thus, a desire to move on, leave Tokyo has gently washed over both LD and B, and I have spoken of wanting a vacation– a short getaway, to which the question then arose, have all the firsts in Tokyo been explored? To that, the answer was a resounding “No!” I whipped out a notepad and we started thinking of a list of firsts that we must do, one a week. (It’s a public declaration now, so they must get done). Though D has been here for a year and LD many more than that, there were numerous activities that had never been done. (I started to feel less guilty about my six-month bout of general inactivity).

Let’s start with the first 12:

1) Visit Tokyo Tower. Not visiting Tokyo Tower is like a tourist visiting New York and not seeing the Empire State Building up close or going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. Yet, two of the three of us haven’t been there. We’re not from here, so you’d think that visiting the second highest building in Tokyo and a national monument would’ve been high on the list of things to do… but nope. Though like the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower, it’s overpriced to go to the top (reportedly US$70), so we may just take a look from the outside, and not the top.

                                                                                                             (*Image taken from

2) Go to Tsukiji market. Tsukiji fish market is the largest seafood market in the world; it opens at 4am and it’s possible to go there and eat a delicious breakfast of soup, sashimi, and all manner of seafood delights. Since it’s an outrageous idea that any of us would actually wake up to go there, we came to the conclusion that the best plan of action would be to stay out all night, then go for breakfast. It would certainly beat the usual after the club McDonald’s.

3) Visit Senjoji in Asakusa. Built in 645 AD, Senjoji is Tokyo’s oldest temple. I went to Senjoji with my former housemate to pray a few days after New Years, so it won’t be a first for me, but we’ve agreed that our lists of firsts don’t have to be firsts for us all. By the way, I got a great fortune at the temple on New Year’s which promised great things in all areas of my life, just a reminder big Buddha– I’m waiting.

                                                                                                             (Wikipedia image) 

4) Take a trip to an onsen in Hakone. Only an hour and a half from Tokyo, we can go to Hakone, and immerse ourselves in steaming springs (onsens).  The hot springs are both mixed and separated by gender. I’m still not completely comfortable with being nude with a large group of people, so though I’m excited about the idea, not completely sure I’ll make it. (I would’ve been an unsuccessful hippie).

5) Attend a sumo practice. They were both excited about this, but the thought of watching two huge men roll around on a mat, half-naked, doesn’t excite me. Let’s change 300 pound Japanese men in loin cloths to two greased up hotties, and I’d be totally down. But, as aforementioned, it’d be a first and maybe the experience alone is worth it?

6) Tour the East Garden at the Imperial Palace. A picnic in the spring perhaps?

7) Watch a baseball game at Tokyo Dome. As boring as baseball is on television (and my god it is), it’s quite different in a stadium of fanatics, drinking beer, and absorbing the energy around us.

8) Go fishing near Ochanimizu. Rent a boat, head into the semi-deep, and catch something to eat. It sounds frontier-ish, and in Japanese fashion, expensive.

9) Kabuki Theater. How could we be in Japan and not see kabuki even once?

10) Go to Kamakura beach. LD asked me if I liked the beach, and now I have whiplash, my head spun around so fast. Do Japanese salarymen get drunk every night after work with their colleagues? Is Tokyo super expensive? Is a first kiss special and awkward? The answer to all those questions– Of course!

11) Go to Fujiku amusement park. For the record, I hate rides and I’m not sure if Japanese amusement parks have cotton candy or a Japanese version of Italian ices, so I’m not sure why I agreed to this one.

12) Visit the science museum in Odaiba. Once again, I’m not sure why I agreed to this, except the fact that Odaiba (island) has beautiful views, great shopping and cool restaurants. When they’re looking at “science,” I’ll be at the all you can eat buffet at Sizzler.

The list-making committee:

People can motivate other people. A book can motivate. Money can motivate. But the best motivator is an idea. – Brahma Kumaris

Take care,