MAEKAN Travel Diary — Japan

Traveling is an integral part of defining MAEKAN. We’re often saving up
for the next big adventure in hopes of experiencing the wonder and intrigue that follows exploring new places. In our first installment of the MAEKAN Travel Diary, we visit Japan, more specifically Tokyo and Kamitonda where we highlight some of our favorite themes that emanate across Japanese culture.
Narration by Alex Maeland, Eugene Kan, and Nathan Kan
Audio by Elphick Wo
Photos by Alex Maeland, Chris Lim, and Eugene Kan

Traveling is an integral part of defining MAEKAN. We’re often saving up
for the next big adventure in hopes of experiencing the wonder and intrigue that follows exploring new places. In our first installment of the MAEKAN Travel Diary, we visit Japan, more specifically Tokyo and Kamitonda where we highlight some of our favorite themes that emanate across Japanese culture.
Narration by Alex Maeland, Eugene Kan, and Nathan Kan
Audio by Elphick Wo
Photos by Alex Maeland, Chris Lim, and Eugene Kan

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1. Arrival

Each time you step foot in Japan, you’re overcome with a sense of amazement. A country this dense and compact carries with it unparalleled structure and order. It’s not always perfect, but you come to deeply respect what Japan has to offer. There are many shortcomings tourists will never see, but the sheer level of surprise in the details ensure you’re always fascinated and always exploring.

The Arrival

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2. Combini

The convenience store in Japan has been subject to a lot of foreign interest. Nobody expects a local corner store to be immaculately stocked with things that could rival any fast casual restaurant around the world. In a fast-paced environment that stresses convenience, a piece of fried chicken, 20 kinds of canned coffee, or MUJI dress socks are never more than a stone’s throw away.

The Combini

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3. Taxis

Japanese taxis are a snapshot into the Japanese service industry. Everything is considered in the experience. The drivers are immaculately dressed and often ensure your ride is as pleasant as can be. A large GPS screen provides a fair bit of transparency, and you never come away feeling a sense of resentment in the ride. It’s unfortunate that taxis in Japan are cost-prohibitive and a luxury especially if you’re traveling on your own dime.

The Taxi

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4. Izakaya

Izakaya is arguably one of Japan’s most iconic dining experiences. It’s an accurate representation of all things Japanese from the food and drink to the service and energetic ambiance. We talk about the best things about izakaya and how it can dominate your food itinerary in Japan.

The Izakaya

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5. adidas Originals

The initial reason for coming out to Japan on this particular trip was to work together with adidas Originals on their latest collection, XBYO. It’s a collection of minimalist sportswear created in partnership with one of their longest-standing partners, Yamayo Textile Mill. There’s also a dose of old-school inspiration from the back heel of adidas’ Italian runner. Prior to working with adidas, we had some personal apprehension that was short-sighted on our part, but it turned out to be some of our favorite work to date.

adidas Originals XBYO & Yamayo Textile Mill

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6. Tsukemen

Japan’s interpretation of Chinese noodles under the form of ramen has existed for over a century. Ramen in itself is similar to its inspiration, Chinese pulled noodles, in the way it’s consumed. Tsukemen, on the other hand, was a relatively modern way of consuming the nation’s favorite noodle. The process of serving noodles in soup is removed. Instead, noodles are meant to be dipped in a thick, savory broth. We stopped by Goldengai’s Nagi on this particular trip for our fill of tsukemen, but it exists at many other shops across Japan.

Tsukemen
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