We boarded the bullet train at Sendai station this morning, eagerly anticipating the upcoming views through the window. Getting the chance to see a city from afar is much different than the view from the middle. Sendai was one of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami in 2012, and there are placards at the airport showing where the water level reached during the flood. Since then, however, it appears the city has persevered. We were all very impressed with Sendai; both with the aesthetics and the friendliness of the citizens. I would definitely go back again on vacation if I had time.
Tokyo, from the little I've seen so far, is one of the most awe-inspiring cities I've ever visited. There are busy streets full of storefronts, and alleyways full of more storefronts intersecting those streets. It's like the compactness of New York, with the sprawl of Los Angeles, but bigger, fuller, and even more-populated. And you can't read anything, or recognize exactly what anything is. I think I could spend an entire year here and barely scratch the surface.
As if the busy streets full of shopping weren't enough, you've got train stations and subway stops bursting with more options. It seems all the best spots are located underground as part of the transit system. Hasegawa Liquors, one of Tokyo's most-revered whisky stores, is tucked away beneath the bustling city streets; part of a series of small, garage-style bodegas.
And don't forget the malls! Tokyo goes a lot further up than down. I'm still working on the subterranean selection. I can't even imagine what awaits over my head.