Impressions of Tokyo: Interview with Nomadic Backpacker Shane Reustle

Adriana Paradiso

We chat with Shane Reustle, a nomadic backpacker in Tokyo. He’s the first interviewee of our Impressions on Tokyo series where we explore the experiences and attraction of temporary visitors to the world’s biggest and most effervescent metropolis.

Tokyo night lights
Photo by Shane Reustle

A few sentences about yourself please.

I’m a backpacker who has been traveling around Asia since 2014. I’ve spent a good portion of the past year building a software consultancy, which I’m running remotely. My goal is to spend the next few years making my way around the world without flying.

First time or have you been to Tokyo before?

I was first in Tokyo a few months ago. Japan was definitely on my list of countries to visit, but I never really gave it much thought. Once I ended up here while traveling with my little sister a few months ago, I fell in love with it and knew I had to come back.

How long is your trip?

I’ve been on the road for just shy of a year now, and the past 3 months have been in Tokyo.

Where do you live normally?

Before this trip, I was based in New York City for a few years, which I miss dearly. Now I’m pretty deep into the nomad lifestyle.
Photo by Shane Reustle

Tell us about an interesting moment or experience on this trip.

During my first few weeks here, everyone was telling me about this magical store that sold everything I would ever need for dirt cheap. “Go to the Donkey Hotel”, they said, “they’re everywhere!” I kept my eye out, but didn’t have any luck spotting them. I also couldn’t find anything online about them, is this a joke? It all made sense when a local friend took me to a big store in Shinjuku and showed me around. I had finally found the Donkey Hotel (Don Quixote).

Did anything about Tokyo particularly surprise you?

I expected it to be this clean, this organized, this polite, and this friendly, but I did not expect it to be this cheap. Everyone talks about how expensive Tokyo and Japan in general is, but you can totally be a cheapo here if you have some self control.

Photo by Shane Reustle

What did you find most challenging during your trip?

I had to do the 1.5+ hour post-midnight walk of exhaustion from Shibuya back to my place in Nakano Sakaue more times than I had hoped. The insanely expensive taxis on top of the trains stopping at midnight made for a difficult time getting anywhere after midnight. I had a bicycle, but that took a bit of planning ahead if I wanted it to be there and ready for the trek home.

What three adjectives/words would you use to summarize your experience of Tokyo?

Delicious, clean, and kawaii.

Photo by Shane Reustle

Where can we learn more about you, your work and your travels?

You can follow my adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo by Shane Reustle
Written by:
Adriana's Tokyo favorites are: Mizumoto Park, Gokokuji Temple Tokyo
Filed under: Living
Tags: Backpacker, Interview, Travelers
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One Response to “Impressions of Tokyo: Interview with Nomadic Backpacker Shane Reustle”

  1. Avatar

    kawaii…GRRRRRR god damn it I hate the cult of ‘ka-waiiiii!’ I want some Tokugawa samurai to fall
    through a time warp and start decapitating every fooker with a hello kitty or kumamon accessory…

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