Heading to Tokyo as a Travel Photographer was an awesome new experience for me! Our trip to Tokyo for my first ever Travel Photographer gig, began as a 4.5 hour car ride to NYC. Since our flight didn’t leave JFK until 2am, we had time to kill. If you don’t know this already, NY is my favorite city on the planet earth! I love absolutely everything about it. I love the people, the culture, the lights, the traffic, all of those locally owned shops that you will find literally no where else, and yes of course, street vendors hot dogs!
Being a fine art wedding photographer in State College, PA is awesome. It is a quaint town with an awesome atmosphere. When I get to travel the world as a travel photographer, that is what speaks to my heart most deeply. I am eternally grateful that I got to share this experience with the love of my life.
As we embarked on our journey from State College, Pennsylvania to Tokyo, Japan on a world-wide travel photography adventure, I couldn’t help but feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude. Am I really doing this? Am I really going to TOKYO?!?!
My husband is an amazing sport! While cities and crowds are not his thing, he sure does a great job of tumble weeding with me. This term is a verb derived from my husband, in order to describe my method of working. I loved it because I think of the movie the Big Lebowski, but I digress! Tumble weeding just means that when I go somewhere, I don’t like to have a plan. “I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal.” – Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman (again one of my all time favorite movies!)
We strolled through Times Square with my little car Lightning McQueen in tote to get some cute shots of him for my daughter, Avery. She can not always travel with me, but this little guy goes everywhere she can’t. So if you see him on my posts or my Instagram, that is why. I love showing him doing different things, she thinks it is AWESOME!
Before heading to the airport, we had one final treat at one of my favorite spots to stop in NYC, Serendipity 3. I had their frozen hot chocolate of course, and Sean had some outrageously chocolatey goodness. If you have never been there, I recommend a stop for sure!
Yes, I successfully travelled with all of my photography gear through TSS and customs without a hitch! It is all to do with the right luggage! When I travel at all, my gear goes into a Think Tank International suitcase. Do you know what that means? That means no more emptying my camera gear into bins!
The flight from JFK to Beijing, China was 14 hours. I got to eat some delicious Chinese food (twice!) on our flight over the North Pole! Beijing Airport was probably one of the coolest I’ve ever seen. It was floor to ceiling windows and marble. After standing in two more customs lines to board our flight to Tokyo, we were ready to go! Another 4 hours later, we landed in Tokyo! It was about a 1.5 hour train ride to city center. We stayed in the Sumida-ku District at an Air Bnb. I HIGHLY recommend Air Bnb!
I can not adequately describe how amazing Tokyo is. If I ever moved to a city, it would be there. Our apartment was on the 5th floor of the building, which means that we had an amazing view. The dining room table was about 14 inches off the floor with pillows instead of chairs. This was by far, a very memorable experience.
When we walked out of our apartment, it was so different than ANY place we had ever been to. The city was QUIET! There was no trash anywhere, not a speck of garbage. There are also no trash cans on any streets in Tokyo, so just be aware if you go there, if you get your Starbucks coffee, you will be carrying your empty cup until you return back to your apartment or hotel room! LOL!
Magical? Is that cliche? You betcha, but that is the only way I can describe Cherry Blossom Festival in Tokyo. Can you picture a city with millions of people, none of them walking around on their cell phones in public or on public transit because they consider it rude? It was like the days before technology took over our world. When you ride anywhere on the train, there is no conversation back and forth, it is silent. Cell phone use is prohibited. They even have separate train cars for women, children and expectant mothers so they don’t have to stand. During rush hour, you can expect to be smashed and physically pushed into the train by the local security at the train platform just to fit everyone in!
The highlight of our trip was seeing the cherry blossoms canopy over the Meguro River. I – LITERALLY – CAN’T – EVEN! One of the coolest experiences was when my husband and I sat down next to the river at a local park and watched the elder residents play croquet. It was the most peaceful, beautiful place I have ever been to. Everything about Tokyo is beautiful. When we were lost, there was always a helpful person there asking us if we needed guidance.
On my bucket list, one of the items was to eat sushi in Japan. When I wrote my bucket list 15 years ago, never in one million lifetimes did I think that one was ever going to happen. Then, right smack dab in the middle of Shinjuku Square, a local waiter smiles and says “we have the best sushi in town, would you like to come down and eat?” I mean how can I resist? This was amazing.
Eating on street level in Tokyo is considered “underclass or dirty.” So as we sat down in this tiny, dark place that was bustling with staff and patrons. I was just soaking in that moment. Where I could read nothing on the menu, but I ordered by pictures! When my food came out (by this time we are chopstick experts, as you have to be lol!) We documented the occasion with an awesome iPhone picture of me getting to eat sushi in Japan!
We visited ancient temples, bought a hand-made coffee cup in some tiny shop that I didn’t think we would find again, had the worlds best avocado toast and some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted. Oh wait, and the best part? I got to work with a world famous photographer! I made some amazing friends for life, and got to work with other talented photographers. It was at the moment I put Peppa Pig and Lightning up to the plane window on our departing flight that I burst into tears of joy to be going HOME!
Enjoy these shots, from our iPhones because well, sometimes you just gotta be a tourist 😉