Travel with Dyl: Tokyo

Winter Break 2019/20 my parents took my brother Jared and I to Japan for what was easily one of the best trips of my life. We flew into Tokyo (Narita) and after spending a few days there we went to Hakone for a traditional ryokan experience, took a train to Kyoto, explored Osaka, and then back to Tokyo for a little to fly home. I’m approaching this amazing experience city by city. Tokyo was like something out of a movie. The city was so large that the views looked like a green screen and the streets were clean like nobody lived there. Tokyo was lively, welcoming, and a perfect mix of traditional and modern. Narrowing down what to share with you was almost impossible. All photos were taken by yours truly 😉

Favorite Meals

Ginza Seamon

Authentic sushi bar with some of the freshest fish. A perfect place for an omakase experience (the chef decides what he puts in front of you). Some of my favorites from this meal were the mackerel, fatty tuna, and sea-bass nigiri pieces.

Jomon Roppongi

We took our shoes off upon entry and sat on cute mats in this casual and intimate yakitori restaurant. Yakitori is simply grilled skewers covered in a delicious sweet tempura-like sauce. The chicken meatball and skirt steak skewers were my favorite. We kept ordering more kinds until we were stuffed.

Jiro Roppongi

Jiro Ono, known to be the greatest living sushi craftsman in the world, still works in his Ginza restaurant. Unfortunately, with age, his stubbornness, intolerance to tourists, and unreliable work hours creates an intimidating experience. However, his son Takashi Ono has his own exclusive six-seat omakase sushi bar where he mimics his father’s impeccable techniques with a more friendly attitude. The shrimp nigiri was no doubt my favorite here. Though, nothing beats the green tea, nutty and a real green color with amazing flavor.

Roppongi Robataya

This meal was an experience. We sat at a large table with all the veggies, fish, and meats laid out in front of us. Behind the food, two large men on their knees cooked what we pointed to on the small grill in front of them and then served it to us on paddles. It sounds incredibly chaotic but it was the most perfect way to have almost all Japanese cuisine in one place. We ate tempura, yakitori, sashimi, and so many more delicious items.

Favorite Snacks

Harajuku Crepes

There were too many treats to choose from in Harajuku but I am glad I went with Crepes. They are displayed unrolled in a window and you choose the number in which you want to order. I got one with whipped cream, brownie, chocolate sauce, strawberries, and bananas. So yummy!

Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki is a type of Japanese omelette that is sweet and hot. It looks like a stick of butter. I got one as a quick snack whenever we were at an outdoor market.

Kiseki Pancakes

I dream about these pancakes. They are souffle pancakes that can be served sweet or savory. Obviously, I got mine sweet with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Matcha Lattes

A matcha latte became an afternoon staple on our two-week trip. Bitter with the perfect sweet notes, hot to keep us warm, and so very yummy. Like sitting for a cappuccino in Europe.

Each Neighborhood

Odaiba

Over the rainbow bridge, sits Odaiba home to the rainbow ferris wheel and the teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum. This Instagram paradise was one of my favorite places I visited on the whole trip. The music mixed with the colors, lights and interactive fun was a sensory overload in the most perfect way!

Akihabara

Akihabara is filled with Manga, Anime, and video games. Jared and I played tons of Mario kart in arcades and took pictures in photo booths that make you look like an anime character. My most favorite part was the Micro Tea Cup Cafe. The tiniest puppies I’ve ever seen and they all wanted to play.

Harajuku

Takeshita Street the most lively part of Harajuku is youthful and bright. However, the back streets have incredible little shops as well. I did a lot of shopping in Harajuku.

Shibuya

The chaotic Shibuya crossing is the busiest crosswalk in the world. After walking through it, I was shocked at how orderly and unintimidating it was to be a part of. The view from above was a different story. Shibuya also has some of the best retail in the city. I love shopping!

Asakusa

Asakusa carries an older vibe. The Sensō-Ji Buddhist temple is the oldest in Tokyo. Whilst there, we purified ourself with smoke, our tour guide Oka prayed for our family, and I pulled a wooden stick with a number to get a fortune sheet. I hope mine comes true!

Ginza

Huge designer stores and department stores. I loved Dover Street Market which compiles some of the best pieces from each designer. Window shopping in Ginza is awesome!

More Fun

Karaoke

Jared held onto the mic for most of the night but this was so much fun. Before dinner, we went to one of the thousands of Karaoke chains and got our own little room with tons of songs to choose from.

Subway Riding

As a family, we make a point to check out public transportation as much as we can. Like the country, the subways were spotless and super easy to understand.

Onsen

The hotel we stayed in had an onsen in it. Basically, a hot tub meets hot spring. So nice to go in after a morning workout or after a long day.

Tokyo was better than I could have ever imagined. The customs and culture there made it feel so comfortable. I hope to experience Tokyo again someday.

10 Movies to Watch in Quarantine

Booksmart

Many of us go through high school for college. Honestly, I’m incredibly guilty of it myself. This movie reminds you that balance is key. Work hard and study but allow yourself to have tons of fun too!

The Karate Kid

The original 1984 one that is. As much I love little Jaden Smith, the original has so much more to offer. Not only is this movie powerful, but it also gives a glimpse into high school life in the ’80s which now seems like a whole different world. A must watch. Mr. Miyagi will become your dream best friend.

Beauty and the Beast

The 2017 live-action version of this movie is enchanting. Although this isn’t considered a movie for teenagers, I think the values this movie instils hold true throughout a lifetime. You will not be bored watching this.

La La Land

The first time I watched this movie I wasn’t so fond of it. After maturing and rewatching I now realize its genius. This movie is fun, makes you think, and leaves you with a boosted mood like no other. Additionally, the music is unparalleled. I have the soundtrack playing almost every time I’m doing homework.

Nerve

New York City. Truth or dare minus the dare. High school students. This one is biased, as my friends and I adore this movie. It is dramatic, full of action, romantic, and in some ways incredibly relatable. Leaving you to ask yourself, are you a watcher or a player?

Inside Out

I think about this movie an unhealthy amount. Pixar puts the craziness of our minds into a simplistic and fun world for us to understand. Another kid movie that still is relevant in our teenage years.

The Great Gatsby

Nothing encapsulates the roaring twenties like Gatsby. If you are hesitant to watch this, go straight to the trailer. You will be thinking about it for days after. Glamorous and lavish but, raw and sophisticated. This movie will leave you speechless.

The Intern

A young thriving website takes in senior citizen interns. A comical and adorable story that demonstrates wisdom is gained through age. This movie puts me in the best mood.

The Social Network

Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg in a movie about the creation of Facebook and the enemies made along the way. Facebook changed the internet and watching the idea unfold is fascinating with great acting as well.

Instant Family

Based on a true story, a couple fosters three siblings and tries to gain their love and trust. Have tissues handy. Instant Family will remind you of how lucky you are to have family even if this quarantine with them is driving you crazy.

Stuck at Home

Due to the coronavirus, my school (like many others) was just moved online until April 14th. A month in my house all day. In order to keep myself from going stir crazy, I have begun compiling activities to keep my life together. I plan on keeping a routine just so I’m not in bed all day but, teenagers and naps coexist quite well. Here are some things I plan on doing to keep my self busy in a fun but also effective way.

Pack for a Trip You Aren’t Going On

I know this sounds pointless but, it actually can be a lot of fun and have some great benefits. With most spring break plans cancelled, choose the destination of your dreams, the time of year, then come up with a fake little itinerary and begin pulling. Whether you are putting together looks for a winter trip to Paris or a summer in Southhampton you are guaranteed to rediscover old items, realize what is back in style, and find some awesome outfits in your closet to wear at home. Play music while shopping your closet and match your ensemble with appropriate accessories. Additionally, this is a subconscious closet clean-out. You will see things that you can’t believe you still own and realize what you need to calm down on whilst shopping or what you may need more of. Maybe once this all blows over you can book that vacation!

Get Crafty

I am so excited to sit down and reopen my watercolors and rainbow loom kits that I never got rid of! I have been making shrinky dinks for countless hours so far this week and am totally addicted to the elementary feeling of doing arts and crafts. Order some craft kits online or get a carton of crayons and begin playing around. It is so relaxing and will keep you occupied for hours like you are a little kid again.

Organize Your Instagram Saved

I can almost guarantee that you have so much junk as well as so much gold in your Instagram saved. Start from the bottom and work your way up removing things that you no longer understand or need. I’m sure you will find things you never want to lose again or multiple things under one category. I suggest making folders as you go through and placing each post where it belongs. The next time you need to find a recipe or that meme you liked, you’ll be happy you know just where to find it.

Netflix Party with Your Friends

Search up “Netflix Party” and add the chrome extension to your computer. Go on Netflix and pick a movie or episode, click on the NP icon and share the URL with your friends. This allows you to all watch the same thing synched from your own houses. Additionally, there is a chat bar on the side and if one person pauses the whole groups does in order to ensure that everyone stays synched. Movie night with your friends but following all CDC guidelines!

Get Lost on Pinterest

I rediscovered Pinterest about a week ago after hearing about the trend of searching (your name + core + aesthetic). Some images are usually a bit strange but quite a few you come across you will resonate with you instantly and leave you a little freaked out. After logging in again, I remembered that you could find everything under the sun on this website. I began searching my favorite actors, foods, photographers, and destinations and literally got chills looking at the photos and videos that came up. Pinterest is guaranteed to leave you inspired and with a smile. All you need to do is search one thing to get started and keep getting lost among it all.

Wash Your Makeup Brushes

Honestly, I can not tell you the last time I cleaned my makeup brushes. I know. Gross. I’m sure that many people, like me, need to get to work. Brushes are supposed to be cleaned twice a month. Oops. Do yourself a favor and wet the bristles with warm water, put cleanser of choice on a clean hand, wash the brush in your palm, rinse, and dry with a clean towel. While you’re at it throw your retainer in a cleaning solution and switch your toothbrush.

Browse Airbnb

Throw the number of people in your friend group or your family in along with your dream destination or ideal weekend getaway and look at all the places that come up. Browse in your price range or look at homes with crazy prices just for fun. Whether it’s an incredible view or a strange living situation like an igloo or tree house the gems you come across will you make you happy and keep you engaged forever.

Pretend You Have Your Dream Job

Maybe it’s just me but, I constantly wish I lived in a big city where I woke up each day inspired and went to work somewhere I loved. With school online, Set an early alarm, wake up and put on your cutest workout outfit, do some yoga or run on the treadmill, eat a healthy breakfast, take a shower, do your makeup, then put on an outfit that radiates classy, set yourself down at a table in your house with a cup of tea and get to work (school work that is) but, it’s the thought that counts. Seems like a lot but, will for sure be a day of progress and leave you motivated for your future.

Use this time to bond with your family and work on yourself. We have been out all of our lives and if we all vow to stay inside and do our part we will be able to live the rest of our lives outside. Everyone is in the same boat. Stay self-isolated and stay safe!

High School Feminist

Happy International Women’s Day! As a female with a group of strong and encouraging girlfriends surrounding me, activism and sharing of opinion would seem like a fairly easy thing to do. Once high school is added to the mix, this changes. High school allows for an energy where judgement is shared freely even about those most respected. This nature fosters insecurity in teens making the external share of opinions limited. Most of my peers are aware of my beliefs of women’s rights and equality and although I don’t take part in many stereotypical acts I would easily consider myself a feminist. When asking my female friends “Would you consider yourself a feminist?” their answers were all along the lines of “I support feminist but I am not one myself.” I am in no way trying to demonstrate that all women must be aligned with feminism or even believe in equality for women. Simply put, I don’t understand how a woman can not want what is best for themselves? In most cases, I would assume this is equal rights. I understand why many like to keep their opinions inside especially after hearing the jokes made about me or my beliefs. Nothing inappropriate or malicious but, usually morally incorrect. For example on many occasions someone will begin speaking about women’s rights with a negative tone and male peers will quickly intrude with “Dylans here, be careful” or “don’t start you’ll wake the bear.” Hearing this makes many keep quiet but for me, it is the reason I continue to share my beliefs and stay passionate about feminism as it is those who make these snobby remarks that need to be educated about female struggle. I will continue to advocate for women and share my ideals on here and through my voice. I am so thankful for all the strong women in my life. I encourage all females to stand up for themselves today. When one woman lifts themselves or another up we all rise together. International Women’s Day is every day!

Why Is Everyone Obsessed With TikTok?

The next time you walk into a public restroom, hotel pool, or anywhere heavily populated with 14-24-year-olds (TikToks core age demographic) you can assume the giggles and commonly explicit music has something to do with TikTok. TikTok, originally known as “Musically” which launched in 2014 and featured 15-second lipsync videos soared after the then-recent closing of Vine leading many young creators to shift platforms and begin posting their content on Musically. There is no saying the app was ever irrelevant or unused but after its calm down it went unnoticed until August 2018 when Musically magically turned to TikTok on everyone’s phones overnight. By September 2019, TikTok became the #1 free iOS app in the US. Now, it is a large part of everyday teen life. Learning new dances after school, recording with your friends in class, consuming the “for you page” at 1 AM. TikTok has integrated itself into the rotation of teenage phone use. My friends have even confessed they commonly check TikTok before Instagram or even Snapchat in the morning or right after school. If you ask most adults their opinion on this app they truly don’t get it, “Why do you want to watch other people doing stupid dances over and over?” “How is this so addicting?” they ask. Simple. TikTok is endless and requires limited attention. Rarely do I make it through a whole TikTok without swiping to the next. “The endless scroll” a mindless and incredibly entertaining activity. The many genres of TikTok compiled on one page just for me. Another reason for the app’s success is the community it builds. Teens can see relatable and creative teenage situations that make their world seem smaller. TikTok has been used to share heartwarming stories and quickly teach us about something current in our world today. The idea that what you post on your profile from your bedroom could be seen by millions of people draws in these kids to experience their 15 minutes of fame or in this case, 15 seconds of fame. Many, like me, have been waiting for the app to die down, although I’m now convinced it is not going anywhere. Keep scrolling, because like the world of teenagers, TikTok moves fast.

Introduction

Like our attention spans, the world of teenagers moves faster than ever. The young adult is something I’ve daydreamed about for years. Ready to make it a reality I got my site together and am so excited to begin posting. As an avid news and blog reader, I’ve always wanted to share my opinions and educate my peers on topics I am passionate about. Hopefully, this will be a place where teens can go to navigate the world around them from someone going through it at the same time. A true haven for young adults as well as those who, like me, sometimes just can’t keep up. Me? My name is Dylan Grossmann. A sleep-deprived, mature, stressed yet optimistic 15 year old. My enthusiasm for celebrating life and taking in all its glory will surely make this journey interesting. I hope you will follow along with me throughout. Stay young. Subscribe now and never miss a post!