There are a grand total of three possible sleeping positions on an airplane seat and I exhausted all three today.

I quite like the timing of the flights both to and from Tokyo.  On the way there, the flight departs in the mid-afternoon, giving you plenty of time to sleep in and do your last minute checks and cross-checks before jetting off. By the time you get in, you’re thoroughly exhausted so that, once you’ve touched down, completed the 90 minute ride from Narita airport, checked in, and had a late meal, you’ll be read for bed – at about 9:30 – 10:00 p.m. local time – which is about 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  If you keep to this schedule, you’ll be waking up at 6:00 in the morning every day, ready for a sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Market, followed by a nice full day and early night.

The return flight is not quite as great.  It leaves at about 7:00 p.m. local time and, after about nine hours of flying, gets in to Vancouver at approximately 11:00 a.m. The game plan is to sleep through the flight as much as possible and then stay up as late as possible on the longest day back to force your body back into a sleep rhythm. Taking a couple of melatonin pills before bedtime helps but, all the same, you’re going to come up against certain nights (actually early mornings) where you’ll find yourself, wide awake, at 4:00 a.m., wrestling with a powerful craving for sushi.

Speaking of which – for our last meal in Japan, I thought it would only be appropriate to go out for sushi.  We ended up at Dai San Harumi, a tiny, friendly little place in Shinbashi.  Some of the highlights –

Welcome to Dai San Harumi
The bonito (tuna) is seared over an open flame so that its exterior attains a certain smokiness while its interior maintains that mouth-melting high-grade tuna texture.
According to our chef, the restaurant only sources the best of these very best fresh, organic Japanese tiger prawn – about 1% of each catch.
Saba (chub mackerel), lightly cured with salt and vinegar.
Plump anago (conger eel).
And, for dessert, the tamago.
Thanks for coming!

An excellent final meal that made me kind of sad as a reminder of exactly what I’d be missing.

After lunch, we stopped by Akemi’s old workplace, the Pierre Marcolini Cafe, so that she could say goodbye to her old friends and co-workers – oh, and grab a dessert while we were there.

A role reversal for Akemi who finds herself being waited on instead of the other way around.

I had a marron (chestnut) parfait while Akemi had this terrific new addition to the menu –

It’s described as a dark chocolate drink.  It’s cold, bittersweet, and so thick and rich you have to eat it with a spoon.

Afterwards, we made one final trip to the Mitsukoshi department store and picked up some Christmas gifts, then walked back along one of Ginza’s main streets that is always closed to traffic on weekends.  On the way, we were stopped by a camera crew and asked to identify a couple of mysterious dollar store items.  We failed miserably as both of my guesses, cucumber zester and dog hammock proved incorrect.

It seems like there’s a camera crew parked every ten feet down Ginza dori.  Last time I was in town with Ivon, we were stopped and interviewed about the grand Japanese tradition of the Christmas sock.

The return trip was uneventful.  And this is what greeted us upon our return:

It’s funny but, by the end of our time in Tokyo, Akemi told me that she was actually happy to be leaving and returning to Vancouver.  Surprisingly, there was little wistfulness at our departure, just happy memories of our trip, the hope to return for an equally short visit some time next year, and an overwhelming desire to see Bubba again.

Soooo tired.

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Deni

Happy to hear you’re home safely! Love those dogs of yours. smile

Sparrow_hawk

おかえりなさい!

Sparrow_hawk

The sushi looks great! And i always save my tamago for dessert, too.

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

Akemi’s been assimilated? I’m glad you had a safe flight! Rest well and thanks for sharing your trip with smile .

Deborah Rose

Welcome home. Though it looks like the dogs want to interrogate you when you have rested up. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, and hope you get back into the proper time rhythm soon.

IggyMing
IggyMing

Welcome back, and thanks for taking us along for the ride!
The dogs look so adorable, by the way.

Also, it’s surprsing to hear that Akemi is happy to be back in Vancouver, rather than miss Japan. They often say that it takes about 10 years for immigrants to be truly integrated into their new country, and finally relinquish any desire to go back to their home country (which seems to be true from my personal observation of friends who are immigrants). Akemi seems to have adapted far quicker than most!

gforce

Welcome back! Great to have you guys back home, and it would seem the dogs agree. I (and they, apparently) assume you brought dog treats back!

The first thing I thought of when I read you guys were home was this song (it was actually filmed in my home town of Saint John):

Marsha_R
Marsha_R

Glad your trip was fun and safe! Clearly, the dogs are waiting for the presents you brought them. You did bring presents, didn’t you?

Alexis
Alexis

Welcome back. The dogs look happy? Thank to both of you for sharing your trip. grin

Ponytail
Ponytail

Your kids are sitting there asking, “What did you bring us?”
So, what did you bring them?
Welcome home. While you were gone, the U.S. elected a president and weathered a monster storm.

Airelle
Airelle

Welcome back, happy dogs, will probably sleep with you and then open presents,,like christmas.! Always nice to be home!

Janet
Janet

Gday Joe

Sleep well.

PBMom

Good God I’m behind once again. You’ve gone to Japan and back home again. I think it was my sister almost dying when I dropped off the map and then life got busy. I need to catch up and STAY caught up. Have missed you guys. Sister is fine now. Then Sandy happened. I was thinking of you guys in NJ and NY and kept saying I needed to get here to see how you all made out. My sis (the one not near death) was in Toms River. She had no damage and has power again. So things are settling down. Must get back into the habit of coming here daily. I’m going to work my way backwards from here.

PBMom

They do have the “what did you being me” look on their faces, don’t they?

Ponytail
Ponytail

Welcome back PBMom. Glad your sister is okay.

Duptiang
Duptiang

Now there is a “so did you bring us snacks” look if there ever was one. I really like that “final”meal. Fresh sea food is the best. Welcome back.

cherluvya

*smiles* It’s a wonderful life.

Randomness
Randomness

Lol your dog picture is kinda cute Joe, kinda like they’re saying Welcome home Daddy to you.

JeffW
JeffW

Welcome home Joe!

I’ve enjoyed the pictures and commentary even though I haven’t commented much…I’ve been too busy meeting customers and catching up with friends here in the UK. Right now, I’m sitting in the Gatwick departure lounge waiting for my flight to Naples (and then Milan on Wednesday and back to Chicago on Saturday).

In terms of meals here, I had a proper pub lunch on Saturday (fish & chips) and a couple of British breakfasts (including Black Pudding), but I missed out on a high tea this time (no elderflower presse for me sad ). Maybe next time.

@Line Noise, sorry we missed each other this time, but maybe sometime in 2013? My family wants to come next time, so I might stay longer (taking some vacation time), and spend a little more time in the West Country then.

JimFromJersey
JimFromJersey

Welcome home guys!

PBMom, glad to hear about your sister in Toms River. We made out well down here in Berlin as well.

Maggiemayday
Maggiemayday

Mmmm, tamago.

Funny, we had a Japanese film crew shooting at Burning Man. They’re everywhere.

tarayelland

Welcome home. I’ll expect presents in the mail shortly.

sylvia
sylvia

Welcome home – Joe and Akemi.

Puppies – PRICELESS look!
Hope you are able to return to the Van time zone routine quickly cause we need more blogs on time.

@PBMom – glad to hear your sister is okay.

kabra
kabra

Glad you guys are home and thanks for taking us along!