Tokyo, Japan
Nozomi, 35
Graphic Designer
see her Tokyo city guide

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What are the Tokyo spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

The Shibuya Crossing as it is CRAZY! It's located just in front of JR Shibuya Station. You can see how MANY people live in Tokyo.

Do’s and don’ts in Tokyo: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):

Tipping: No. Public transport: Trains in Tokyo are the easiest and most cost-effective way to travel. Midnight buses are also useful if you missed your last train. Safety tips: If you lose your phone in Japan, you'll probably get it back. Clothing tips: It depends on the area! Tattoos: I'm pretty sure that tattoos are unfamiliar for Japanese, as I always cover up my tattoo on my back when I go to the beach or swimming pool or hot springs around Tokyo because they give me the advice to cover it up. When you go to the beach or hot springs, it might be better to cover up your tattoo if you have one.

What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a Graphic Designer: because I love design and creative things such as drawings, singing, etc. I'm a Cool Cousin in Japan: because I love Tokyo and it's my hometown. I would love to share my favorite places with you if you have a chance to visit here!

How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?

Drinks and Karaoke: 10000-12000 yen / Drinks and clubbing: 15000 yen / Drinks 5000-10000yen.

Which Tokyo shops do you hit up when you’re itching for something new?

Spiral on the 2nd floor or MoMA Store in Omotesando.

Your all-time favorite musicians:

Blondie, the XX, Tame Impala, My Bloody Valentine, Warpaint, Alpine, The Breeders, Pulp, First Aid Kit, Phoenix, Slove and 70-80s disco/funk music are always in my fav playlist on my phone.

Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?

Day: Zinbocho, Tokyo midtown, etc. Night: Yoyogiuehara, Yoyogihachiman, Hatagaya, Sangenzyaya, etc. Because those places have less people/tourists.

What’s the area in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

My home town 'Takashimadaira', because there's nothing there even though it's a part of Tokyo.

What’s the one place in Tokyo you think is underrated?

Akabane, Ekoda, Hatagaya. Akabane/Ekoda: It's not a chic area like Omotesando but you can grab some cheap drinks and food around there. We rarely see foreign people around there. / Hatagaya: is becoming trendy bit by bit in Western Tokyo.

Where would you take a date for a romantic night out?

I'm not the right person to ask for the question as I'm not a romantic person at all. But I would say - Billboard Live Tokyo or Blue Note Tokyo.

Drunk and hungry - where do you go in Tokyo?

Ramen restaurants which are open until morning! That is the typical way after you get wasted.

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

Buy a 'Hokkairo' at convenience stores or pharmacies (it's a Chemical Heating Pad). Alternatively, buy a hot can of soup.

Where do you take your guest when you want to impress?

Outside of major places such as Shibuya-crossing, Tokyo Sky Tree... Hmm Takao.

Your go-to brunch spots:

Eat a Dry curry (a dish of rice fried with meat, vegetables, and curry powder ) at Jicca in Hatagaya which is run by my friend.

Your perfect night out in Tokyo includes:

Karaoke with my buddies after getting drunk!

Which local creators do you admire?

Mitsuo Shindo! He is a Japanese art director, photographer, film director and producer, music video director and calligraphist. Shindō has designed over 1,000 album and single cover art for artists including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Yumi Matsutoya, Pizzicato Five, Mr. Children, Misia, Hikaru Utada and Glay. Also, he is my first boss as a Designer.

Special views that mainstream tourists don't know about:

My apartment roof (11 stories high) in Itabashi-ward as even local people never go there. You can see the skyscrapers such as Shinjuku, Ikebukuro alongside my hometown.

Best place for a cheap bite on-the-go:

Ameyoko in Ueno and Tsukiji Fish Market. But you need to know before you go - it's very crowed with many tourists!

Tomorrow’s your last day in Tokyo. How do you spend it?

Go to Karaoke (at Karaoke-Kan, with Joy Sounds) by myself and sing a last song 'I will always love you' remembering all people who I have met in my life and should be grateful for.

You’re meeting the mayor of Tokyo - what constructive criticism would you give them?

Accept a Tattoo as fashion. Japan is a quite conservative country, mentally and legally . I always cover up my tattoo on my back when I go to the beach or swimming pool or hot springs(Onsen) around Tokyo, because they give me advice to cover up. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is only two years away. We need to be more flexible and liberal. The same is true for the LGBT community.

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Yurie Hama