Ed had to head back to Kagawa on Boxing Day, so while he dropped his bag in a locker at the train station, Mike and I moved our stuff to his friend Matt’s place, where we were lucky enough to be able to stay for a few nights.
Matt lives out in Saitama, so once we had dropped our stuff at his apartment we went for a walk around the area. It’s a nice little city, and still really convenient to Tokyo. We had some lunch, and Matt joined us as we headed back into Tokyo for some strolling around.
We met up with Lea, another teacher in Kagawa, and headed up the Governement Buildings which has an AMAZING view of Tokyo. We timed it well, and were able to watch the sun set from up there which was awesome.
Since the sun had set, it was definitely little-drink-o’clock, so we headed for the Park Hyatt where I desperately wanted to have a drink on the 52nd floor. This is the bar which appears in Lost in Translation and the view from up there was amazing!
We had managed to time it well; we were early enough that there was no table charge, and it was still quiet enough that there were very few people who noticed us squishing our faces up against the window to take in the view.
Ed had managed to catch up with us again by this point, and my friend Ayako joined us as well and I thoroughly enjoyed pretending to be a grown up in a fancy bar with friends.
None of us could afford more than one drink up there, so we enjoyed the view for as long as we could justify on one glass of wine. Then it was time for Ed to head to the train, and the rest of us met Stephen, and Alex and his friend for dinner.
We went to an izakaya which happened to be the one that I went to with some kiwis on my first ever night in Japan, and I had a moment of reflection on how much has happened since that night. There will be another post for that!
Mike and I stayed with Matt that night then went to Kamakura the next morning to see the famous daibutsu (Buddha). Kamakura is a sweet little town, and the Buddha was way more impressive and beautiful than I had imagined. We could even go inside the Buddha to see how it was constructed!
We had a late lunch then headed back to town with the intention of going to a Mario bar I had heard of, but for various reasons–including a train failure, buying my Osaka bus tickets taking a long time, and the bar actually being closed on Tuesdays–we ended up, tired and grumpy, returning to Saitama for a quiet dinner.
That was something I had forgotten about living in a big city; the huge amount of time it takes to get anywhere. Train time aside, the amount of time spent waiting for connections, walking through stations and trying to figure out which tickets to buy means that nothing happens quickly in Tokyo. I guess I’m spoilt by living in Takamatsu where I can be pretty much anywhere in the city in half an hour on bike.
In the morning, the guys headed into to the city–Matt to work and Mike to get his bus to Takamatsu–and I hid in a coffee shop and waited for the morning crush to die down. However, even by 9.30 when I got on a train with my backpack I was still getting evil looks from the commuters who were jammed in like jellybeans. Yeesh, it’s not like I was doing it for fun…
I dumped my bags in a locker, then headed to Odaiba. My favourite part was actually getting out there. I took the monorail which gives an amazing above-ground sightseeing tour of Tokyo, between all the buildings, above the streets and across Rainbow Bridge.
Odaiba is kind of like Canary Wharf–all new, shiny buildings and one main, wide avenue–but it was eerily quiet. The weather was great though, and I snapped a few photos of the Statue of Liberty with Tokyo in the background and cruised the malls for a while.
Stephen had meant to meet me in the morning but was running very late so made it in time for lunch in one of the funniest food courts I’ve ever seen. It was like Las Vagas, Japan and the Cambelltown RSL had a baby.
Stephen and I went back to Shinjuku for dinner with his friend Erico and another desperate attempt at the Mario bar. We managed dinner, but the Mario bar didn’t open til nine and I had a 10.40 bus to catch. Zannen desu.
Instead we had a beer at an Irish pub where we were served by an actual Irish girl and I stole electricity to charge my phone.
Then it was time for me to farewell Tokyo and jump a night bus to Osaka!