1. Seeing Godzilla’s head peeking over the Shinjuku Toho Building.

No Mothra sightings yet, though.

2. 24/7 Ramen

In a land of endless noodle options, ramen is still king. I don’t know how I’ll survive without a bowl to keep me company on cold days, hot days, with gyoza, without gyoza, at dinner, lunch, drunk breakfast, elevensies…

3. Konbini food

Who wouldn’t want a 4 am beer with a niku mon and onigiri chaser? And maybe a cream puff for your sweet tooth? While you’re here, why not pay your phone and electric bills or book tickets to see Wrecking Crew Orchestra?

4. Asakusa

The juxtaposition of Senso-ji and the Tokyo Skytree in the same panorama always lights up my eye sockets . When guidebooks say that Japan marries the modern and the traditional, they’re talking about Asakusa.

5. The fact that nothing is ever really lost

My students always tell me, “Tokyo is very safety. [sic]” I’ve had servers sprint 3 blocks just to give me a pair of forgotten sunglasses. Just this week, my friend recovered a lost iPod after A YEAR thanks to a good Samaritan`s clever use of facebook.

6. Shibuya

Weekend epicenter. People watcher’s Mecca. Drunkopolis. Handsome stranger. Lover. Confidant. Dear friend.

7. Public transportation that WORKS

The trains are crowded as hell on weekdays, but they are almost always ON TIME. If you can’t find a train to your destination, there’s usually a bus. And if there`s no bus, you can rent a bike. Plus, mastering Tokyo’s labyrinthine train and metro system essentially makes you a Time Lord.

8. Drinking in public

Without a single look of reproach, or negative consequence. Train beer, anyone?

9. Playing “Find the Skytree”

Ride a train in from Chiba, and boom! Catch a view from the Metropolitan Government Office in Shinjuku, blammo! Step out of Tawaramachi station en route to Asakusa, and GOTCHA, that gleaming torch of a building will lock you in it’s comforting tractor beam gaze. Tokyo’s very own guardian angel shining over the city.

10. Futuristic toilets

Heated seats, automatic flush, buttons to raise and lower the seat, and even REMOTE CONTROLS. Atop the nexus of luxury, hygiene, and booty comfort, you’ll find the Toto Washlet.

11. Customer service

The hot or cold oshibori that changes with the seasons. The formal Japanese and a complete 90-degree bow to thank you for buying a bag of chips. The enthusiastic “Irrashaimasse!” and “Arigato gozaimasu!” upon entering and exiting stores. Japan wins at customer service.

12. “Time Sales” (Discounts after 7pm)

After an hour-long train commute, nothing says “You’ve earned this.” like a half-price sushi platter.

13. Tsukemono (Japanese pickles)

Wander souvenir shops and gorge on free samples while you still can!

14. Baked sweet potatoes in the grocery store

Or straight off a bed of hot stones from the yaki imo vendor’s truck. “YAAAKKIIIIIIII-IIIIIMOOO!”

15. Matsuri (Festivals)

From April to September, you can basically plan for a festival a week. Yoyogi Park is even more beautiful when you’re double fisting Thai curry and a kebab.

16. Love Hotels

Everyone loves a “short rest,” especially in a castle-, Batcave- or Hello Kitty-themed room.

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