Top 10 Things to do for Tokyo First-Timers

It’s been a very long time since my last post. I am sorry! I have been busy working but also enjoying the city during the weekends. Still have some stuff to sort, but I’m getting there. Since it would have been impossible to blog every day, and also a little bit boring, I decided to write a Top 10 post about visiting Tokyo for the first time. Some of them are touristy, some maybe not so much. And here they are:

 

1) Eat ALL the Ramen!

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Ramen at Ippudo, Ginza

You have never tried real Ramen if it wasn’t in Japan! After eating Ramen in Japan, you will understand the purpose of everything. You will feel accomplished. You will understand why you exist: We all exist, so we can enjoy the beautiful taste of Ramen <3

Enough said! Convince yourself!

 

2) Play!

Whether it’s  UFO Catchers or Gatcha Pon Machines (the surprise egg machines where you put in a few 100 yen, turn the knob and wait for a kind of surprise egg coming out which has a figure inside. You can see me play them here and here), your visit in Japan is not complete if you skip playing these colourful machines.

3) Shibuya Crossing

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Actually, when I was standing in front of the Shibuya crossing, I didn’t immediately recognise it. Then I asked myself if this was really the crossing and I looked around: There was the Hachiko statue behind me, the Tsutaya Starbucks in front of me and the Shibuya 109 on my left side, and only then did I realise that this was the crossing indeed. Crossing it was an exciting experience. It felt like I now really belonged to Tokyo. Crossing it without bumping into someone is a real skill that I can now proudly claim to have managed. After crossing it, you have to go up the Starbucks to take a time-lapse and several zoomed-in photos. I could never get bored of this view.

4) The Konbini Experience

7/11, Family Mart, Lawson, just to name a few of the most important life-savers in Japan, a.k.a. Konbinis (Konbini <– Convenient Store). You WILL go there, and you WON’T regret it. They will be your go-to places as soon as you start living here. But even for tourists they have everything you want at any hour. Be it tissues, water, hot drinks, warm foods, alcohol, masks, toiletries, ATMs, anything! And who knows, you might catch yourself in front of one of the shelves, deciding what to get because they all seem so intriguing, and ending up buying nothing because the struggle was just too hard :’D You can have a little review of a 7/11 here. 

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The bread section at 7/11
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One of many Bento Box options
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Sakura snacks you can get at 7/11

5) Harajuku Bucket List

From the Rainbow Cotton Candy, to Purikura to Harajuku Crepes to aaaalll the shopping (Daiso, Wego,…), you can spend all your money and all your time in just this little street called Takeshita Dori. It’s probably the only street in the world that will get your Yens out of your pocket before you even reach the end of the street.

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Totti Candy Factory
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Line Friends Store
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Harajuku Crepes
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Sailor Moon Store at La Forget Omotesando

 

6) Get lost in random alleyways

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Shibuya
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Harajuku
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Nakano
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Asakusa
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Asakusa
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Asakusa

No matter where in Tokyo you go, you will most definitely stumble upon some picturesque alleyways, that look like straight out of a movie or even an anime. Some of these alleyways I found were so beautiful to me, they almost made me cry. Most of them were in Asakusa.

7) Go to an onsen

Since you can’t take photos at an onsen, this point is going to be without visuals. Still, it’s one of the most impressive and interesting experiences you will have in Japan: being naked and relaxing in some hot springs with random, equally naked strangers (don’t worry, everything is gender-separated). The first onsen I went to was an indoor one in Asakusa. It was quite nice. But the outdoor onsen by the Fuji mountain was an unforgettable experience.

8) Visit a temple/shrine

Tokyo is bursting to the brim with temples and shrines. You will have a big choice of all the different types of temples and shrines. Still, there are some especially beautiful ones that you wouldn’t want to miss. One of them is the Senso-ji temple in Asakusa which I also like to call little Kyoto of Tokyo.

 

9) See Tokyo from Above

There are many different ways to see Tokyo from above. You can either pay a lot of money and go up one of the iconic towers that are The Tokyo Tower or the Skytree. If you do this, you won’t be able to see the tower, you are standing on, itself. Or you can visit the Mori Art Museum and finish it off with the observation deck on the top. But if you don’t want to wait in a long line, nor pay a lot of money, then the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is the best option. It didn’t even take me half an hour from the entrance of the building to the top.

 

10) Go to a Themed Cafe

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Hedgehog Cafe Harry in Harajuku

 

And this was the end of the post. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave a comment and like.

What about you guys? Have you ever been to Tokyo? What are the must-do things in your opinion? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading!

Merveile.

 

 

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The happiest place in China!

It’s finally here! My video about the first time I have been to a Disneyland! Ironically, I had my first Disneyland experience in Shanghai with 25 years old :’D

I still love Disney so much, and half a day was not enough for Disneyland. I will definitely visit more in the future!

 

I hope you enjoyed this video!

Thanks for watching and reading!

Merveille.

The oldest city I’ve seen! | The Ruins of Ephesus

I’m sorry that I was not active for so long, but I had some minor problems with my laptop and Wifi.

I’m back with the last part (for now) about Turkey. It’s about one of the most popular sites which is also a World Heritage Site.

I hope you’ll enjoy the video!

 

Thank you for reading and watching!

Merveille.

The Caribbean of Europe!

Just because my Cappadocia videos are over now, doesn’t mean that it was the last series about Turkey.

Next, you can look forward for videos full of beaches, ocean, and colourful sunsets.

First part is right here!

When I finally saw the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’An

It’s been quite a while now, I know. But here it is, my last video from Xi’An 2016. It started with the Warriors and ended with some delicious food.

 

 

Thank you for reading and watching!

Merveille

Amazing Street Food in Xi’An

Xi’An is not only famous for its Terracotta Warriors, but also for its muslim street food. If you wanna have a look at how it looks like there, here you go.

 

Also, I forgot to post my video about my last day in China, so here it is also:

 

Thank you all so much for reading and watching!

See you next time!

Merveille.

7 Myths about Turkey that are not true

Since I have made two posts about common myths in Germany and China, it’s now time to continue this with Myths about Turkey.
Some of you might know that I am of turkish heritage. My parents were both born in Turkey, but moved to Germany to work. Of course, they have built their life here, so there was no reason for them to go back to Turkey. Me and my siblings, we were all born and grew up here in Germany. Still, we always had to be confronted with misconceptions people had about Turkey and turkish people, according to what they were hearing and reading in media, which mostly is not true. I have chosen the most common misconceptions about Turkey and turkish people and its culture to debunk it once and for all.

  1. Everyone wears a headscarve

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    tagesanzeiger.ch

    The headscarve or the hijab are, of course, a part of the turkish culture. Some wear it, most people do not. Nowadays, many people get the feeling that more and more women are being forced to wear the hijab, because they wrongly assume that the turkish president is forcing women to cover up. This is not true at all! The only difference he has done for hijabi women is giving them more rights. Before he was president, girls and women wearing a hijab were by law excluded from education and work life. This was sexism at its best, and Erdogan has changed it. He had given girls wearing a hijab the right to educate themselves. It is also a fact that many girls were forced by their parents to cover up. Giving them the right of education has prevented them from being forced to get married at a young age, and given them the independence of getting a job and deciding whether to wear the hijab or not.
    So please, do not discriminate a turkish or another muslim woman who wears the hijab out of belief. This does not mean that they are uneducated. Most of the time, hijabi women are even more educated than non-hijabi women, since education was not always a privilege for them.

  2. Vegetarians and Vegans have to stay hungry

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    To all my vegetarian and vegan friends who plan to travel to Turkey: Do not worry at all! The most amazing dishes in Turkey are actually the vegan ones! So get ready to indulge in some of the most amazing food your palate will ever taste!
    Of course, Turkey has a lot of meaty, milky dishes and they use a lot of dairy products to accompany their non-dairy dishes (Yoghurt is life!), but the turkish cuisine is richer than you think. There are as many veg dishes as there are meaty dishes. Some of them are the most exquisite dishes ever! Including filled wine leaves (with rice and herbs), lentil balls, various, meat-free aubergine dishes, filled bell peppers (also with rice, herbs and tomatoes), various other lentil dishes, dishes including beans of all sorts, chickpeas and peas, vegetarian dumplings and turkish pizza, and many many more that I don’t even know about.

  3. The president will arrest every tourist

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    The turkish president has probably been one of the most spoken about politicians in the last year, especially with the coup d’etat last July, the political environment in Turkey has taken yet another course in history. This was a reason for the president to arrest a lot of people who had high positions in the sections of military, law, police, media etc. Especially the amount of journalists that are sitting in turkish prisons has made foreign tourists spectical about travelling to Turkey. Also in Germany, the media kept on telling german people not to travel to Turkey, which is utter bullshit! So let me tell you this: You do not have to be afraid of travelling around Turkey. As long as you have not published a criticizing article about Erdogan or his party, you can roam around the country as you please. No one will hurt or arrest you if you respect the law.

  4. Turkey has a problem with Kurds

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    This is a very sensitive topic, and I am a little bit worried about writing this. But I do know some things about this issue. There is quite a high percentage of Kurds in Turkey who speak the language and also identify themselves as turkish citizens. Then there is the PKK, the Kurdish worker party, at least that’s how they are officially named. However, this party has caused a lot of tumult in Turkey over the last few decades. They are more commonly known as a terrorist group by now, who are fighting against Turkey and for a free Kurdistan (which does not exist on the map). So they basically want to split the eastern part of Turkey and make it their own country. And the PKK wants to reach this with violence. There have been hundreds of thousands people killed over the last 2 or 3 decades and still there does not seem to be a solution to this problem. What makes it worse is that a lot of western media outlets display the PKK as a righteous party that is being oppressed by the turkish government. All I can tell you is not to believe everything you hear on media and inform yourselves about any topic. Here is a link to a great article about this topic and other myths in Turkey.

  5. It’s dangerous to go out at night

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    Source: famoushostels.com

    Many people who have never been to Turkey think that it is dangerous to go out at night in Turkey. They argue that the islamic mindset makes people very disapproving of clubs and parties. But this mindset might only be true in the eastern part of Turkey. In the major big cities and beach resort towns, nightlife is bustling and the streets usually start to fill up after 10pm. Public transport is efficient, taxis are cheap and locals are usually very nice and polite, so there is nothing to scared of. Still, in big cities like Istanbul, you should do your research about the neighbourhoods to avoid, because just like in any other major big city, there are shady, dangerous side streets as well. But as long as you do your research and take care, you do not have to worry.

  6. Turkish girls are not allowed to have a boyfriend

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    Source: pinterest.com

    This is a prejudice that I am confronted with quite often when I date. Guys usually assume that they can’t approach me because I am turkish. And if they found out about my turkish background later on, they will always ask the typical question: “Are you allowed to have a boyfriend?” This pisses me off extremely, and the reason why I have never had a serious relationship is not because of my parents, but because of the misconceptions of german/western guys.
    Especially nowadays, turkish people are more open to relationships which is also influenced a lot by turkish drama series where love is always the main topic (as you can see on the picture which is from a popular turkish TV show). PDA and sexual topics are still a taboo, but if you ever go to Turkey, you can see loads of young couples on dates.

  7. Marriages are arranged

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    In the past, the bride and groom saw each other for the first time when he lifted her veil at the wedding ceremony. Nowadays, arranged marriages are slowly disappearing, but it’s still happening, in cities, villages, towns and valleys, but in a more liberal way. Young people are usually being arranged at other people’s weddings where the cousin of the aunt of the mother knows some other far relative of a young, single woman and arranges them to meet and go on dates and so on. Still, a high percentage of young turks is meeting at school or at work, some even online or during parties. And as you could read unter the first point of this post, another big group of forced marriage is dwindling. Including child marriage, which is now against the law and can be punished with a prison penalty.

  8. Alcohol is prohibited

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    Source: youtube.com

    There are some new restrictions about buying and consuming alcohol in public, but Turkey is still a country that has its own national alcoholic beverage which is Raki. It is a spirit made out of Anis and grapes. It is one of the alcoholic beverages with the highest percentage of alcohol. That’s why it is typically mixed with water. People love to drink this while eating dish or a various selection of meze platters. If you ever happen to be in Turkey, do not miss out on this activity, ideally with some locals that you know and some live music.

  9. Turkish people are arabic

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    Source: quora.com

    Many western people assume that turkish people are part of the arabic heritage which is not exactly true. Most arab countries like Egypt, UAE, Iran, Iraq etc are homogeneous which means that they didn’t have many influences from different cultures. Turkey, on the other hand is a country with a mixture of different ethnological backgrounds, from greeks, jews, arabs, mongols, uzbeks, various balkan countries, and even jews. Not all turks have dark hair and dark skin. There are many blond, blue-eyed turkish people living in Turkey, and the majority of turkish people are brunette with a wheat-coloured skin tone. The religion, and some dishes are the only things that arabs and turks have in common.

As you can see, this post has gotten rather long. Of course, the reason for this is that as a turkish person living in a western country, I haven been personally confronted with most of these misconceptions directly. Most of the time it is annoying, and I realize more and more how ignorant people are about foreign cultures. It also made me stronger and gave me a stronger identity of my turkish heritage that I am proud of.

What I can say to everyone reading this is: Do not believe in myths and misconceptions about any culture. Do your own research, read more articles, blog posts, talk to locals, and travel to these places, not as tourists but as adventurers. This is the best thing to prevent racism, intolerance and ignorance!

I hope you enjoyed this!

Thanks for reading! And see you next time!

Merveille.

The Great Wall of China is pretty great!

I was looking forward to editing these videos from my Beijing trip. I feel like I got steadier at holding the camera, plus you can see me talking thoroughly in this one, right at the beginning, so it has more of a vlog-feeling.

You can read my blog posts about the first two days in Beijing here and here.

 

Thank you for reading and watching!

Merveille.

The Great Buddha of Leshan

I have uploaded yet another video, but this one is quite short this time, since we spent most of our day waiting in line to see the Buddha :’D

Still, I did take some awesome shots of the Buddha. Here you can watch it:

 

Thanks for reading and watching!

Merveille.

Clumsy Baby Pandas at Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base

Finally, I managed to edit all my Panda videos into one! It’s still 20 minutes long, but I could watch Pandas the whole day.

Actually, these Panda videos were the first reason for me to start editing all my videos. And I was really looking for a programm where I could make one Panda video and share it for my friends and family to watch and drool over the cuteness of these animals <3

And I don’t wanna withhold this video from you guys either, so here it is:

 

What about you guys? How much do you love Pandas? Have you ever seen a Panda?

Thanks for reading and watching!