Traveling around-the-world on around-the-world tickets is a really affordable way to do an extended trip…but what you gain monetarily, you lose in convenience. The main restriction is that traveling overland counts as a leg, and since you’re only allowed 16 legs on your trip, it makes sense to try and fly out of the same city you flew into (for example, if we arrived in Japan via Tokyo, but we traveled via train to Osaka and wanted to leave from there, that trip would eat up one of our flights). This restriction only feels like a restriction when you aren’t too crazy about the city you flew into (ahem, Bangkok), but in the case of Tokyo, we were thrilled to get back to see Joy and Alex, eat more yummy food, and soak up some more Japanese culture before heading back to China.
Going back to Tokyo also gave us a chance to walk around the Imperial Palace Park, which we hadn’t done yet:
It also allowed us to squeeze in a few more tasty restaurants. Apparently, after our first stay in Tokyo (and after our hostess found out how much we like eating), Joy started researching reasonably-priced restaurants for us to visit on our return. We had a fabulous meal at a French restaurant that was no larger than a postage stamp but still managed to fit a WHOLE PIG inside their tiny little space:
At Vinpicoeur “French Barbecue and Wine” Restaurant (+81 3-6212-1011) in the Ginza district of Tokyo. Yes, that’s a whole pig hanging in the back left of the restaurant.
AND (perhaps most importantly), Joy took us out for karaoke night! WITH COSTUMES!!! Now, if you know my family, you know that the karaoke gene runs deep with the Mengs. My brother goes to karaoke night every week (sometimes twice) in SF, my Dad has owned a laser disc karaoke machine since the early 90’s (with a gold microphone), and J and I had karaoke at our wedding. But if there is anything J and I (ok, *I*) love more than karaoke, it’s costumes. So costumes plus karaoke in one night was like discovering peanut butter and chocolate for the first time. In other words, it was DESTINY.
Note to the budget-minded: karaoke in Tokyo is definitely not cheap. Those three hours in the karaoke room kinda blew the budget for the day, but it was worth it!
We love Tokyo and could actually imagine living here (if the apartment sizes doubled and the rents were cut by 50% OR if we won the lottery), and that is in no small part due to our amazing hosts. If you ever decide to quit your day jobs, Joy and Alex, you might want to consider teaching classes in hospitality, because you ROCK at it! Thanks for an incredibly tasty, boozy, and most of all, FUN time, Joy and Alex!