The view from the observatory at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is stunning, and free.

Tokyo A to Z

I love Tokyo.  Its unique paradoxical character which I have yet to experience anywhere else is a big reason for why it’s my favourite city in the world.

In one breath, Tokyo is a modern, futuristic city where millions of people work (hard) and play (harder).  From glistening glass and steel structures scraping the skyline, to a transportation system which is eerily efficient, to a digital culture which has nearly universal acceptance and literacy by old and young – Tokyo is the most evolved of any 21st-century city.

Yet, in the same breath, Tokyo is a place where formal, button-down, traditional culture permeates everyday life.  There are unspoken rules about how to do the most basic of tasks, a groupthink on what’s acceptable and unacceptable in public, and constant (and still functioning) elements of Japan’s history dotting the landscape.  Tokyo may be contemporary, but it remembers where it came from.

While there is a multitude of reasons to embrace it, I have chosen 26 for this post (A to Z) on why I love Tokyo.

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Episode 35 – Mouse Tale

There are two quotes from Walt Disney which are relevant to this week’s show.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

Walt definitely had a big dream of his own – putting everything he owned on the line to open Disneyland in Anaheim, California in under a year.  It was an ambitious task – one that some people even called impossible.  That’s where quote number two comes in.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

Seattle’s Christopher Wing also had a big dream that some people might say would be impossible.

A long-time fan of the film Around the World in 80 Days, Wing started thinking one day about what it’d be like to circumnavigate the globe himself.  80 days seemed excessive given how fast we can now travel – and a rather long time to be away from work.  But after doing some math, he figured it might be entirely possible to do the trip in 80 hours.

But Wing didn’t want to just stop in airports, he wanted to bring another passion of his along for the journey.  This was his love of Disney theme parks.  Aside from the original Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, three other countries are home to Disney parks – France, Hong Kong and Japan.

After crunching the numbers and figuring out the logistics, Christopher’s mind was set – he was going to visit all five Disney theme park resorts (and 11 theme parks in total), and attempt to do it in under 80 hours.

On this week’s show, Chris talks about his long-time connection to Disney theme parks, why he made the trip, and how he pulled it off!

For more on Christopher’s Disney adventures, visit his website – Mouse Around the World.  Also, be sure to check him out on Twitter (@MouseATW), Instagram and on YouTube.

One of my favourite videos from Chris’ YouTube channel is of the fireworks he saw from his plane as he was arriving back in California at the end of the trip.  They seem like a perfect way to cap off what was a marathon adventure!

If you want to connect with The Gone John Show, tweet me @GoneJohnLive, visit our Facebook page, or e-mail me at

Home for the Holidays

The trip from Shinjuku Station to Narita Airport is always an emotionally exhausting journey for me.  Even though I know I’m going to be back in Tokyo again eventually, saying goodbye to the people and places I’ve grown comfortable with is tough.  It’s an acknowledgement time has passed and something I was once “looking forward to” is now over.

This time, while I still had a lump in my throat as the train sped off from the platform, I was eager to get on the plane, because it wasn’t just going back to Canada – I was going back to Canada to see family for Christmas.

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