I met up with my friend S on my last full day in Japan. We took the train out to the Koganei suburb and after a bit of hunting around the small station to locate the right bus stop, we decided to have brunch at a bakery there.
I arrived in Tokyo early in the morning on 9 March and was greeting by 6-degree weather. Going from about 30°C to 6°C is rather a shock to the system. I like cool weather, but below 10 is a bit too cold.
I found myself feeling rather ill, partly because I hadn’t managed to sleep well on the plane. (I begin to wonder how I slept as well as I did on the flight the very first time I went to Japan…) My hotel room wasn’t ready when I got there (understandably) so I tried to nap in the hotel lobby for a while because I simply didn’t feel up to walking around in a half-asleep and unwell state. Eventually got myself up and out… and napped again on the 20-minute train ride to Shibuya. I think I actually slept better on the train because I felt a bit too self-conscious in the hotel lobby, whereas people sleeping on the train is utterly normal.
Walked around Shibuya for a bit – mainly went there to check out the Shibuya Hikarie, which is a mall known for having washrooms with different themes on each floor. Those toilets really are quite pretty, but I couldn’t really take pics because there were just so many people in the washrooms and queuing up to use them. It was Sunday, after all, and Shibuya was busy, busy, busy. You can see some pics here though.
I shopped a bit in Uniqlo then went back to the hotel, where my room was finally ready and I proceeded to sleep for several hours.
Woke up at nearly 8pm and eventually decided to go check out Tokyo’s lindy hop scene at a new monthly social called Noches Lindigos, run by one of Tokyo’s two main swing dance groups. Made a wrong choice in my trains and it ended up taking me 40+ minutes to get there (but only 20 minutes to get back! grrrr).
Day 2 consisted mainly of the Ueno area. My sisters are collectors of Hard Rock Cafe pins and there is a branch in the Ueno station so there we went. Spent a looong time there over their pins and then had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe before going to Kappabashi, “a shopping street between Ueno and Asakusa, which is lined with several dozens of stores selling everything needed by restaurant operators, with the exception of fresh food” (to quote japan-guide.com).
This chef’s head atop the Niimi building is the icon of Kappabashi, and if you see it, you know you’re there. Yay for obvious landmarks!
It’s a good thing I decided to go round the corner from the Meiji Shrine entrance next to the Harajuku Station because otherwise we wouldn’t have found the rockabilly club.
We – Mum and I – arrived at the Kansai International Airport at midnight and spent just about 5-6 hours catching some shuteye at the airport hotel. In the morning it was off to Tokyo via bullet train… And, well, it was oddly nice to see Tokyo Station again.
Somehow managed to find our hotel in Shinjuku, left our bags there (since we couldn’t check in until 2pm and we arrived at… 12 noon?) and headed to Harajuku.
I was rather amused by this guy standing at the Yamanote line platform with a handkerchief on his head.
On my last day in Japan, I went to the Tokyo Sea Life Park.
Anyway, I arrived there at about 11.30am. By this day my feet hurt a great deal less than before but… I had a dreadful cough. I’d had it ever since that last night in Kyoto. It was bad that night, but improved somewhat the next day and was fairly low-key until this last day. It flared up again badly and I was reeeally having a bad time of it but stubbornly went out anyway.
Day 8 was the day I bid good-bye to my friend and moved to occupy a hotel for my last two nights in Japan. (This was because she was initially supposed to go off on a business trip, and I wasn’t too comfortable with occupying her place while she wasn’t there, especially since I was to leave before she returned from her trip. In the end, though, her trip got postponed but oh well.)
But before that, we headed to Harajuku.
Or, well, to be specific: mostly Mitaka (a suburb of Tokyo) with other random bits and pieces.
We were supposed to go to Tsukiji Market in the morning and to Harajuku for lunch, but upon waking up I decided that I was dead tired, feeling not-so-very-good and much preferred to stay put instead of going out. At that point I didn’t much care about seeing a fish market or Harajuku. I just wanted to rest my poor tired feet and head.
So we had lunch at the mall beside the Nagareyama Ootakanomori station.
Now that I have time to actually look at the text on those posters, I find that the words going vertically down on the left side of each poster are supposed to be descriptive of the characters, and they all begin with ありえないほど, which directly translates to “impossibly” or “unbelievably”. hahah Cap’s basically says “unbelievably righteous/just.” Iron Man’s described as “[an] unbelievable genius”. (I guess “unbelievably smart” could work too, as a less literal interpretation.) Thor is “unbelievably heroic/big-hearted”. Black Widow is “unbelievably fascinating/bewitching.”
Ok, enough Avengers for the moment. haha (As a side note, the movie just opened in Japan last week, I believe.)