(This post comes from Croatia’s own Željka Rajić Aralica. After 10 years of working as an engineer, Željka decided to call it quits and start traveling and writing. Check out her stories on https://travellove.blog/ and see pics on https://www.instagram.com/travellove.blog/.)
Let me just start by saying that everything you see in movies about New York is true. It’s not an exaggeration: it’s actually reduced… I won’t go into all of the details. However, everything I saw about Tokyo didn’t prepare me for the actual city.
All of the movies and documentary films gave me the impression that Tokyo is chaotic, extremely expensive, and contains zero English inscriptions. A few of my friends went to Tokyo some years ago and said they didn’t know how to withdraw money from an ATM. Also, they said they had to count down the number of metro stations in order to get off because it was all in Japanese. Nonsense!
Let me start by talking about order, yes. There’s no order whatsoever in New York. People walk everywhere in all directions. There are always cars honking and tourists breathing behind your back. When we arrived in Tokyo, I wondered why we were among so few people. I realized that everything has order in Tokyo: even walking in the streets. Here, people walk in one direction on one side of the road (not on one side of the pavement), and the other side is for walking in the opposite direction.
People. I thought there would be soooo many emo kids in Tokyo, but I saw none. Let me explain this. A few years ago, one of our influencers lived in Tokyo. She used to dress up like a doll, use fake contact lenses (like Lady Gaga), and hang out with other doll look-a-likes and emo kids. However, Tokyo had none of this. In New York, I expected to see only dressed up people, like I saw in movies or in Sex and the City. Instead, I saw so many “I don’t care how I look” people. In fact, I saw so many people looking like they just popped out from the Cartoon Network Channel.
Prices. Yes, New York is expensive, but everyone and every guide book filled my head with ideas about Tokyo being so expensive, especially for Balcanian tourists (such as myself). The truth is, Tokyo has so many restaurants, food chains and types of food that you can have a proper meal for 10€. Ooooh, and they have the best ramen ever. But the winning prize goes to the non-bagel burger in Wendy’s Kitchen. While in New York, you can only have a burger at McDonald’s for that price, so I refilled my Coke a few times just to fill my stomach.
Nature and Parks. Tokyo has so many great parks, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch the cherry and plum blossoms. New York has only one, Central Park, unless you venture out of the center.
But despite all of these differences, Tokyo and New York have one thing in common: The Statue of Liberty. Can you spot the difference?