One of the things I’m reminded about Tokyo every time I catch the shuttle bus from Narita airport into the city are the highways and how truly high they are. So high, in fact, that one will occasionally find oneself eye-level with the top floor of some extremely tall buildings. Not a great ride for someone who suffers from acrophobia. “Imagine if there was an earthquake?”says Akemi. I need no prompting for I have, in fact, already imagined – the roadway shaking, buckling, and collapsing beneath us…the long plunge down to the ground – long enough for me to scream my lungs out, take a nice deep breath, and loosen one more lustful cry before we land.
Fortunately, no earthquakes on this trip. Close though. It’s kind of ironic that we left rainy Vancouver for earthquake-prone Japan yesterday, only to touch down to a rainy Tokyo and hear word that we missed an earthquake back home in Vancouver. Well, according to reports (my dog-sitter, Christine) it really wasn’t felt much in the lower mainland.
Our flight left on time, we actually got in early, while immigration and baggage pick-up was a breeze. I actually thought we’d make excellent time – until we discovered a 40 minute wait for the shuttle bus to the hotel. Fortunately, our driver was a bit of a (much-appreciated) maniac and we got in at about 7:45 p.m local time 3:45 a.m. west coast time. And, of course, you know what that meant…dinner time!
We met up with John and Nancy, two of our Toronto friends, who happened to be in town for a conference. They’re leaving today but were kind enough to come down to the hotel and join us for a late-night meal.
We went to the hotel restaurant, Applause, and ordered – oh, two of everything on the menu. Highlights included the aforementioned bonjiri (grilled chicken butts – what my father used to refer to as “The Pope’s nose”) and –
We unpacked, showered, and I was in bed by 11:oo p.m. Then up again at 1:30 a.m. to make line-up changes for my fantasy football team (The Snow Monkeys), then back to sleep again, then up again at 4:30 a.m. where I followed the late game action (Don’t judge me. It was 12:30 p.m. Vancouver time.). Doug Martin got us off to a fantastic start on Thursday night and my Snow Monkeys have ridden that momentum to a week 8 win, evening our record to 4-4 and the #4 rank in our 14 team league.
Akemi and I took an early morning stroll through Ginza, making a point to check out the amazing conveniences stores with their wide and wild array of offerings:
Today, I was approached by a homeless man who offered me a handful of cash AND his false teeth! Who says the Japanese aren’t friendly?
For lunch, today, we went to Akatsukian on the 12th floor of the Mitsukoshi building. There we enjoyed an excellent lunch set highlighted by some silky soba noodles in a rich and immensely flavorful duck broth.
We then headed downstairs to the Mitsukoshi basement for a dessert run. Akemi limited me to a mere five choices. We picked them up, then headed back to the hotel for an early afternoon wind-down. My favorites:
It was tough to limit myself, but I’m trying to pace myself. Even at 5 different desserts a day from now until my departure, I won’t get anywhere near sampling a wide enough cross-section of the available dessert.
Oof, what a day. I’m ready for bed.
Except that it’s only 1:30 p.m.!