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