Skip to main content

Days 1 and 2: The Battle of the Jet Lag

Yesterday after a grueling 13 hour flight (and I mean it; that was probably the longest flight straight I've ever taken without a layover SOMEWHERE) I landed at Narita Airport and after collecting my belongings and safely making it out of the immigration/customs nightmare I was instantly cornered (yeah that's the right word) by three people who were doing TV interviews. So I, looking absolutely gorgeous after my flight, answered some questions (in Japanese, surprising them) about why I was coming to Japan and what I liked about it yadda yadda. So. Maybe I'll see myself on TV.

Eventually I was collected by Ryo and made the 1.5 hour trip from the airport to their second apartment, which they bought in downtown Tokyo instead of Sayama. It's a super convenient location: literally two minutes from the train station, restaurants, shops, library, and it's right next to a very extensive, historic park called Rikugien.

We went out for dinner at a Spanish restaurant. Authenticity aside, it was actually quite good. We had this dish of anchovy flavored french fries, and while it may sound weird it actually worked. The fish flavor was subtle, and the naturally salty anchovies were good seasoning. As we ate we watched Japan beat Cyprus 1-0 in soccer. Then as soon as we returned I promptly crashed on a futon and slept from 9p-4a.

My host mother, father, and brother had work and school respectively, so after eating breakfast (toast with jam, hardboiled egg) my host grandmother came over to spend the day with me. We actually went into Rikugien Garden, which goes back to 1702 (as my English pamphlet says).



Over the bridges there were eager turtles and koi. As soon as your shadow fell on the water they all swarmed for food.
But instead of feeding them we went and ate ramen (YES REAL RAMEN AT LAST) again. Feast your eyes:
Aaand then we took the train back to their first apartment where I promptly fell asleep on the floor for a while.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Final Touring Excursions

Tomorrow is my last day. It felt strange to write that sentence, knowing that I've been gone six weeks, which feels like both no time at all but also forever. Even though this is my fifth time coming to Japan (and the fourth for an protracted trip), the coming-and-going is something I don't get used to. Just as I start getting over my "ugh, I just want to go home" hump and settling in, well, it actually IS time to go home.

What have I done the past few days?

Well, on Sunday my host family and I took a drive to Yamanashi prefecture (re: near Mount Fuji) to visit the Oshino Hakkai, the Eight Sacred Ponds of Oshino. According to the signage, when people used to hike up Mount Fuji for pilgrimages, they would purify themselves in the ponds before starting their journey. And having stuck my hand in an (acceptable) corner of the main pond, Wakuike, it was FREEZING. Some other ponds have specific purposes, however. One was for people who wanted a good marriage, for instance.

Cat Cafe

Today I went with my host brother to a cat cafe for "research". Yes it is a cafe and yes it has (canned) coffee, but also I really really really wanted to go to a cat cafe. By doing a little research, I found one off a convenient train station that not only didn't require a reservation in advance, but had free drinks and was actually significantly less expensive for more time than other cafes. On to Nyankoto!

For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

This cat's name is Kinta and he's a mix--though most of the cats there were breeds I was unfamiliar with and had fur of various kinks and degrees of fluffiness. 
They were all very social, active cats as well.

Kinta greeted my host brother by literally jumping on his back. 
The other cats often ran around chasing each other (one was a very energetic kitten, so he was always pouncing on the others) or flopping down to be pet in co…

Shibuya and Ebisu

The past few days I've been in the Shibuya and Ebisu areas (think: south-west side of Tokyo) to check out some of the up-and-coming cafes, as well as wander around the neighborhood. I've decided that wherever I go, I'm going to find something to do in addition to spending 3-5 hours in coffee shops--while the research and the people I meet are incredible I do regret that I don't get to spend as much time exploring the other aspects of Tokyo. 
Yesterday in Shibuya I checked out The Local Coffee Stand, Coffeehouse Nishiya, and The Theater Coffee. The Local is a pretty unassuming space, even though it is on a main street. It's goal is to be the sort of jumping-off point for people just getting in to specialty coffee: they showcase beans from local roaster and run a website called "Good Coffee" in both Japanese and English to help people find "that local spot" in a neighborhood near to them. I'm including a link to the site, HERE. CLICK THIS.

Co…