03/29/2015 - 03/29/2015
Daily Obs: I'm going to miss Tokyo but I'm ready to be able to speak the language of the country. Also, the Japanese people have this traveling thing down to an exact science.
Last day in Tokyo! Michelle left this morning at 7a and I basically stayed awake catching up with things on the computer. Starting to regret not sleeping in longer right about now.
I did not have any real plans for today except that Janelle figured out that we were both in Tokyo at the same time and we were going to meet up for dinner. I did have quite a bit of anxiety worrying about what I was going to do with my luggage for a whole day, but I decided I would roll the dice and head to Shinjuku Station which is where the airport limo bus takes off from and which is a huge area with lots to do and eat. At Shinjuku Station, I was praying for a medium size (500Y) coin locker to be open somewhere. The ones that you see immediately were obviously all full but I somehow found this huge section of lockers under the West underground plaza exit near the basement of Odakyu. I had no problem fitting my luggage and my extra bag I've acquired from purchasing goods. I grabbed my pin and I was in my way, making sure I took pictures to help me identify my way back to my luggage.
About 40 lbs lighter, I decided I should probably try some actual ramen in Japan. I headed to Menya Musashi. It wasn't difficult to find knowing that there was a samurai on the curtain. I am extremely grateful that the udon shop we went to was a vending machine order and that Michelle had already taught me how to operate it because that was the ordering method here. The menu wasn't in English at all so I chose #1 which by the picture looked good. I really wish I had known which number was for the dipping ramen because it looked even more delicious. After getting my ticket, a worker asked me regular or large size noodles. I opted for the regular. I waited in line until a previous stool opened up for me and sat down. Almost immediately, I was served a steaming hot bowl of delicious ramen with a perfectly soft boiled egg and 2 huge pieces of pork belly. I quickly dug in (which seems to be the only way you are supposed to enjoy ramen). Because of the atmosphere and size of the place, I felt pressured to keep eating faster and faster. But wow that ramen was delicious. The broth was a lot lighter than normal and helped with the nausea sensation I usually get after eating ramen. The pork belly was super tender. After scarfing the ramen down, I left and headed for Hanazono Shrine.
This shrine is in the middle of Kabukicho, known for Yakuza and being the red light district. I think if I hadn't read about kabukicho being dangerous, I don't think I would have felt unsafe, but seeing as how I did, I walked a little faster especially because I got really lost. All things considered, the neighborhood just felt dirtier and lined with more "random" women. When I got to the shrine, I was surprised to see blossomed Sakura trees! The shrine itself was fairly small but impressively in the middle of all these buildings.
I left the shrine and decided to wander about Shinjuku. I went to department stores especially Bic Qlo, the famous mash up of BIC Camera (like fry's) and Uniqlo. It was an interesting store to say the least. I also made a stop at Sanrio Gate to pick up a specific souvenir while I was face timing and showing my nieces how crazy Tokyo. I love portable wifi. My mission after that was to try to find places to sit but most of the coffee shops were packed and overflowing with people. So I continued to wander and sat whenever I found random places until dinner time.
We decided on curry so we went to CoCo Ichibayan West Shinjuku Exit. It was delicious but I think Golden Curry is still a good substitute and the place in Honolulu is still the best hands down. The nice thing about CoCo is that they give you unlimited pickles for your curry. Mmmmmm. It was nice catching up with janelle and her hubby. They were off to an onsen and to Hong Kong tomorrow. And I headed off to the limo bus to go to Haneda knowing it would be filled with open seats.
Since writing this in Haneda, the shops here are very nice. This terminal was upgraded in 2010 and it has a very modern feel. The coolest part is the Edo Marketplace where a band happened to be playing live. There is also an observatory and souvenir shops to keep everyone entertained. I really wish I wasn't leaving and that this charging station was next to some real seats....until next time, Japan!