On the sixth day of our Japan trip, we started out early for our Sensei’s childhood high school, to practice judo with the current high school students. On the walk to the high school itself, in a wealthy part of town — I could tell just by looking at all the cars — he took us on a detour of a nearby park. The park looked more like a forest plopped into the middle of a city to me; as did all of the others parks we visited. This was our first park to visit in Japan though, so we were in awe of the peacefulness and the seclusion it offered. We saw koi in the ponds, Japanese trees and plants, even a few Japanese-style bridges and a waterfall. All the while, our ears being filled with the noise of the humming cicadas.

After our walk through the park, we were literally a minutes walk from the high school. We stopped at a nearby convenience store first, to stock up on plenty of water–and coffee, for me. Colt, the boyfriend, bought a Milk-Tea with Attack on Titan on it. He became ever so addicted to milk tea the rest of the trip; I didn’t care for it too much. My coffee was great; I kept trying to try new everything every opportunity I got, so I choose this Mt. Rainier espresso and milk. I was pretty shocked at the familiarity, being that it was a Seattle-based product sold in Japan.
Arriving at the high school, I couldn’t help but feel a bit odd at just walking onto the campus without notifying the office. Something that would certainly not be done here in America! It was a strange feeling indeed, but it made me wish things could be the same back home.
We passed by several classrooms on the way to the Judo facility. Being the summer, they did not have school currently, but there was still a lot of students running about outside, clubs most likely still in action despite the vacation.

Their Judo facility was by far the best I have ever been in. While the Kodokan was certainly nice, despite the lack of AC, this high school was very modernized. Our group was only a tad bit jealous. The tatami (mat) was so nice, especially compared to ours back in Louisiana. The whole place was amazing. They also put a lot more money into education than here in the U.S. Practicing with the high school team was certainly challenging; the majority were all black belts, and they fought with such intensity. They were possibly the best I have ever went up against. As you can tell, I was the only girl…

After the practice (from 10-12), we had lunch with the team and the coach’s. Some of us journeyed back to the nearby convenience store to snag some food for lunch. The matcha pastry I purchased was not something I enjoyed, not being a big fan of sugar on bread, which I could not tell just by looking at it! Towards the end of the lunch, we exchanged gifts with the team, also known as “omiyage”. This is very customary in Japan culture, where you exchange a gift from where you are from and they give you something from where they are from. They gave us sweat towels for Judo, a frozen sports drink, green tea KitKats, and Mt. Fuji shaped cookies. Gift giving is serious business in Japan!
We parted with the high school team after our lunch, and our whole group, minus our Sensei, hopped on a bus heading for the Tokyo Tower nearby. I enjoyed watching out the window of the bus as we moved closer to our destination, soaking in every bit of Tokyo that I could, people watching as well. Tokyo Tower is actually 3m taller than the Eiffel Tower, and obviously different in color. It was definitely well worth it, going up to the top for the awesome views of Tokyo. Sadly, it wasn’t the clearest of days, so we did not get a view of Mt. Fuji. We could, although, see Skytree in the distance, as well as the Imperial Palace.

Naturally, on our descent of Tokyo Tower, I had to grab some Matcha ice cream when we stopped for a rest, to figure out our next destination. Any time I saw matcha ice cream on the trip, I had to have some, so this won’t be the last picture!

Leaving Tokyo Tower, heading for Roppongi Hills.

Roppongi Hills is a pretty area, although we did not explore a lot of it. We stopped at the Mori Tower, thinking it was a huge shopping mall. It does in fact, have several shops, while also being an office building and an art museum. The group split up more so here, only a few of us staying in the tower in order to sit for a quick dinner at a cafe, where I bought the most delicious cappuccino I have ever had in my life. Surprisingly, Paris let me down.

When it was only the boyfriend and I, we decided to head to Shibuya to see the famous Crossing! We were far from tired and refused to retire just yet without a little more exploration. It was phenomenal, the amount of people that cross at once. We watched for a turn, then crossed ourselves at the next opportunity. We should have found a great vantage point to watch the crossing from higher up, but we choose a little souvenir shopping. We even caught a glimpse of a Hooters restaurant! Never did we think we would see that in Japan. I would have liked to eat there, just to experience the difference, but after our souvenir shopping, we were set on heading back to the hotel.

The sixth day was great, but not my favorite of all the days. That day is coming up!
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for the next day in our spectacular trip to Japan!

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