Woke up at 6am the next day and caught the first train over to Washinomiya shrine in Saitama prefecture, this was probably the best part of my day, walking around in the small town area with only commuting high schooler and middle schoolers moving around in the otherwise sleepy neighborhood (It was around 8am with no stores open). The shrine was empty besides the groundskeeper and 3 other residents that visited, and it seemed like I just missed the new years festivals with the food stalls still there. The town is definitely aware of it's popularity amongst anime watchers though with Lucky Star banners on the street poles and in the displays of shops. The scenery of the town gave me vibes similar to Aku no Hana's town, slowly rusting away. Definitely a nice break from the chaos of the city.
I have some understanding of Japanese culture from anime, japanese tv shows, google, etc, so most of everything was to what I had expected (Like people taking 6am commutes to work/school or ticket vendor restaurants). The one things that surprised me though were that people walked on the left side of the path. I had known that Japan drives on the left side, but it did not come to mind that they would also walk that way as well. My first experience with a large crowd was at Shinagawa station, and I was always going against traffic because it was so ingrained in my head to walk on the right side. I later noted that some stairs and areas had arrows pointing which side to walk on. Also interesting was that 3 out of 4 people who weren't middle/old aged business wore a scarf, no one also wore hats. In all, it was in interesting experience and I definitely need to get at least 2 weeks the next time I visit the country to really explore the country beyond the international.