Traveling to the Future
The team gathered at the SLC airport bright and early this morning to catch a 6:30am flight to Tokyo, but first we had to backtrack to Dallas and THEN catch an international flight to Narita International Airport aka Japan baby! Weird to think that when you’re traveling to anywhere in Asia, you’re literally traveling into the future. This Tokyo trip was going to put us 15 hours ahead of everyone back home, and we were stoked about it. The flights were long but American Airlines kept us fed, 3 meals later and we’re about to touch down - for breakfast they gave us the option of scrambled eggs (normal) or chicken and rice (supes Japanese)...we all went with chicken and rice...TIME FOR TOKYO!
Day 1: Kon’nichiwa Babes!
The day started at 4:30am ladies and gentleman, no that isn’t a typo, we were all up and at em’ before the sun was even up. It was our first official shooting day with our group of creators in Tokyo. Our original plan was to catch the sunrise at the Senso-Ji Temple but an unexpected rainfall forced us to switch gears and away to breakfast we went. Can you guess what we had for our first breakfast in Japan...it rhymes with mooshie. If you guessed SUSHI then you are 100% correct, we ate raw fish at 7:30 in the morning. It was...fan-tuna-tastic. Next stop, the famous Ueno Onshi Park, famous for its plethora of traditional Japanese temples. Fun fact - the park grounds were originally part of Kaneiji Temple, which used to be one of the city’s largest and wealthiest temples and a family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan during the Edo period...in other words they were owned by the Kardashians of their time.
The best part of working with our group of creators today was watching them work with one another to get the perfect shot. Our group is made up of 4 incredible travel bloggers and life enthusiasts - Jo Adach (@the_essentialist_), Diana Millos (@dianamiaus), Layla (@latravelgirl), and Sadie Sabin (@simplysadiejane). Their energy is infectious and their desire to capture the perfect shot is motivating to say the least. At one point Sadie was doing a pike (yoga pose for all you non-yogis out there) in front of an ancient shrine. We finished our day of shooting at the popular Akihabara district aka Anime Heaven. They were video arcades around every corner and photo potential galore. Although we don’t recommend standing in the middle of the road in between spurts of traffic to capture the perfect angle...sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do (safely of course). The adventure continues tomorrow, bright and early, at 4:30am...how do you say “where is the coffee” in Japanese? Asking for a friend.
Day 2: How Much of Tokyo can We Squeeze into One Day?
No one actually challenged us, but we took this mission head on - with an entire day at our leisure, how much content could we actually shoot? The answer...you’ll have to wait until the end of this recap to find out (but go ahead and guess)! Today was epic, in every sense of the word. Waking up to beat the crowds is no easy task, but oh so worth it when you get beautiful photos with no one in the background to photoshop out. This was our reality at 5am when visiting the Senso - ji Temple. The grounds were empty and the temple(s) stood proud, we were in awe! Our creators shot for over an hour, walking the grounds, posing in front of the various temples, the girls ended up color coordinating their outfits without even trying to...that’s when you know it’s going to be a great day of shooting.
When you think of various landmarks or places of interest in Japan, do orange gates lined up perfectly in a row come to mind? Well they should, and if you don’t know what we’re talking about, peep this pic on our Instagram so you know where we ventured to after the Senso - ji Temple! This photogenic pathway is called Hie Shrine and is super easy to locate but often overlooked, making it one of Tokyo’s best kept secrets.
By the time we finished at Hie Shrine it was nearly 9:30am and we still hadn’t had breakfast, that’s nearly 5 hours folks and the crew was FAMISHED. We decided to pass on a sushi breakfast today and headed straight for the Harajuku district, known for its rainbow array of goodies, we couldn’t wait for the treats (and photos) that lie ahead. After fueling up on the fluffiest pancakes to ever exist (you seriously have to check out Rainbow Pancakes if you’re ever in Tokyo, not sponsored, just loved immensely) we adventured around the streets of Harajuku, bought every rainbow food item we could find and of course took ALL THE PICS.
If you think our day ended their, you’re wrong - we shot for 16 hours, SIXTEEN HOURS. It just goes to show you the sincere dedication these creators have to their careers. After consuming enough sugar to fly us to the moon and back, we visited Shibuya Station aka Froggers worst nightmare because it’s literally a 6+ intersection that is historically known as the “busiest intersection in the world” - trying shooting photos in that chaos...we did! And the photos came out uh-mazing. The girls were fearless (and fast) running out amongst the sea of strangers to twirl and pose with grace and calmness, we had tourists from all over snapping pics along with us! To finish out the day we visited the Teamlab Borderless Museum located in the downtown Tokyo district. Aside from being borderless, the museum was also mind-blowing. Using a combination of mirrors, lights, sounds, projectors, magic, and who else knows, this museum takes an average room and turns it into infinity. Helpful hint - the photos we loved the best actually came from our iPhones while shooting at the museum! Don’t shoot in burst mode though, the rooms were a little too dark to handle burst mode and the photos all came out blurry.
Tomorrow we’re making the journey to Mount Fouji and guess what...we aren’t leaving until 9am *jumps for joy*. We can’t wait to bring you along with us! For those wondering about how many photos we shot today, the answer is: 4300 (I agree, not nearly enough).
Day 3: She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
All hail tour guide busses that have WiFi. The start of day 3 brought us all together on a 2 hour bus ride to the top of Mt. Fuji - and by top we mean the highest point tourists can access without actually climbing the mountain. We talked, we laughed, we all frantically checked Instagram and uploaded photos while we anticipated what meeting Mt.Fuji would be like. None of us, including the creators, had ever seen Ms. Fuji in person - and yes, the Japanese refer to this historic mountain as a woman, we’re assuming it’s because like mountains, women can withstand anything #GirlPower.
Closing in on our second hour, a cloudy but barely visible peak emerged in the distance...as did our cell phones as we frantically tried to document the moment. Within minutes we began our climb to the top and everyone was itching with anticipation - would we be able to see her? COULD WE GET ALL THE PICS!? Before we knew it we were there, but Ms.Fuji was nowhere to be found. Clouded by...well clouds, we decided to give her some time to warm up to us, maybe with enough patience and 11:11 wishes, we could coax her out to say hello.
After about an hour of hide and seek and several failed attempts at capturing the perfect shot, our tour guide Taka (bless her soul, we’ll never forget you Taka!) suggested we try a different view-point back down the mountain near a popular park / lake that the locals liked to hang at - game on. We hopped back on the bus with high hopes and our creators learned how to make origami Mt.Fuji’s, you know, just in case we needed a back up plan to pose in front of. The park was beautiful and Fuji started to come out of her shell, we shot for 30 minutes, and were able to snag a couple photos we all loved - but they still weren’t “the one”...
Our last attempt at capturing the perfect shot for the day required us to climb 400+ steps to an observation point with a famous pagoda at the top. Our creators were relentless in their efforts to capture Mt.Fuji in all of her glory, Layla making the climb in heels, winning the days MVP award. Low and behold, the second we reached our summit the clouds dissipated and BAM, there she stood! We were all in complete awe - and partially out of breathe. But there was work to be done!
Oh Tokyo, you have been entirely too kind to us. Final day of shooting is tomorrow, can you belive it?! How has a week nearly come and gone!?
Day 4: And That’s a WRAP
The last few days have been an absolute whirlwind - so much content, so little time! The days have been packed but our creators have been tenacious in their efforts to get the absolute most out of Tokyo, and we support their cause! Day 4 began on a much calmer note then the previous 3 days, we didn’t have to meet in the lobby until 10am although half of our team woke up early to go and shoot in the empty streets of Harajuku. That’s the secret to catching jaw dropping, city landscapes - just beat the crowds.
Once we were all united, it was off to the infamous Memory Lane, a popular spot for both locals and tourists who know a thing or two about Japan. Side note - Memory Lane is perfect for catching fun timelapse videos, all you need is a friend and an iPhone. We shot in the various little streets for about an hour and then waited for famous Soba noodles at this little hole in the wall spot that we’re told ALWAYS has a line. Another sidenote - if you’re ever not sure where to eat whilst traveling, keep an eye out for the locals and where they typically congregate, chances are you’re in for a treat!
After noodles we ventured to the Instagram perfect “cat shrine” temple, if you don’t know what we’re talking about then check this out!
It’s reported that moving any of these kitties or attempting to steal one will result in bad luck for the rest of your life - so don’t do that! The ending of day 4 brought our final podcast wrap-ups. We talked all things Instagram and content curation with Joanna from @the_essentialist_ and Diana from @dianiaus.
Before we knew it, we were watching our final sunset on the roof of our downtown hotel, reminiscing with the crew on our favorite moments/memories and data dumping everyone’s images. We learned that the true stunning aspect of the images we see on Instagram, is all of the hard and tedious work that goes into the back end of setting them up and perfecting the shot. Being a full time creator is no walk in the park (or rather, airport), but the incredible women we worked with this past week made it look easy - we can’t thank you all enough!
Until next time readers, where should we take our creator tour next!?