Tokyo – Day 2, March 26

I finally got ready and walked to a little cafe for an egg/toast/coffee combo. Then I walked all around my hotel looking at the little shops like 7-Eleven, Lawson, and a discount shop with cheap clothes, food, and housewares. Shinjuku is an area best at night. It has bars and restaurants and a red-light district and looks a little rough during the day. Maybe I should have stayed in another area, but it doesn’t bother me as I’m on the 18th floor and street noises are far away.

It started raining harder so I bought a clear umbrella like everyone else is carrying because I ended up back at the hotel pretty wet despite my OR hat (Seattle Sombrero) and raincoat. I wasn’t sure I could handle my phone for directions and an umbrella too, but I didn’t have a choice. I regrouped and headed out to Ginza and a museum or two. The weather for gardens seems a lot more promising tomorrow.

The Ginza shopping area was amazing. There were so many shops and so many large and small malls. There was an entire multi-floor mall of candy and dessert shops. There was a mall with a floor that was a museum, another of an aquarium, two floors of restaurants, two floors of a recycling exhibit by Mitsubishi, and one floor of just paper goods and notebooks. There was a mall of just toy stores. All the top brands like Gucci, Fendi, YSL, and UNIQLO have flagship stores there. UNIQLO was jammed with people from all over but I don’t really get their style.

The weather today is not amazing. I had hoped to cover a bit more ground today and tried as best as I could to get to a museum, but after a good lunch of noodles and dumplings, I wandered around in the pouring rain trying to find the right train station. I gave up and went back to my hotel for some R&R. I have jetlag but didn’t nap. Just trying to get on this side of the world.

For dinner, I jumped onto Instagram to look at all the recommended places from my saved posts. I found one called Ramen Nabi in the Golden Gai area near my hotel. Golden Gai is an old area with small, grubby alleys filled with bars and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I waited about 10 minutes for a seat in this sort-a famous place for ramen. I walked up these steep stairs and immediately had to pay for my ramen and beer from an ordering machine that spits out your order after you pay with cash, I was seated at the tiny bar to see the action and was served a bowl of whatever it was I had ordered. The noodles were delicious, but I did not care for the taste of the broth. I’m sure I ordered the wrong thing, but how could I know? Oh, well. Lots more ramen places to try. Hopefully, someone will serve a vegetable because, with the exception of some coriander (cilantro) on my dumplings, I haven’t seen any evidence of healthy food. There are little boxes of cut fruit at Lawson, so I got a pouch of apples and a small plastic bowl of strawberries.

After dinner, I wandered to a big temple complex behind Golden Gai and took some pictures of it and the surrounding cherry blossoms. I think someone was selling fortunes but I’ll again mention the rain and small activities like that seem like they would be more fun in sunny weather.

The wine selection here is poor even in a more upscale liquor store near my hotel. Sake and beer might be better choices while I’m here. After dark, large trucks with brightly lit signs drive up and down the streets with the blaring music of the lover boys depicted on the sides of the trucks. It reminds me of Mexico with the noisy trucks of politicians and evangelists parading up and down the main streets. There’s also this little music that plays when the doors to the trains open as if you have won a prize or an award. I was curious about a place behind my hotel called Gran Costoma. You have to pay to go in. I saw on Youtube that it’s  like a capsule hotel, possibly used as a love hotel too,

Once again, back in my room trying to watch the only channel on the TV in English – the BBC – which would be great but they speak over the English commentators in Japanese. Still better than nothing because I can still get the gist of the news stories. Crazy enough, they had a long piece on about the peace women in Greenham Common in England that I dealt with as the once wife of a nuclear missile launch officer.