October 6, 2008: “Day #3: Tokyo”

Monday, October 6, 2008: “Day #3: Tokyo

Konnichiwa!

Yesterday I was still suffering from jet lag.  The long train ride into Tokyo (approximately 1-1/2 hours) made me fairly nauseous.  The trains into Tokyo are unbelievably crowded – it was mostly standing room only.  We went to Harajuku briefly yesterday (a district of Tokyo).  It’s a Japanese custom for teenagers to dress up in bizarre – and I mean completely bizarre- outfits on Sundays and parade around the city in that particular district.

We were in the train station waiting for a train for our last “leg” into Tokyo and an American couple came up to us and asked if we spoke English.  Ironically they were looking for the military hotel in Tokyo where Lisa and I were staying.  So we told them to follow us and Lisa gave them a list of places to visit while in Tokyo.  We just happened to be in the right place at the right time!

Most things in Japan are fairly expensive.  Lisa and I went to a towel store and some of the towels were over $100 US dollars!  Needless to say we decided to just “window shop” there.

We went to a very nice Japanese restaurant in Roppongi (another district of Tokyo) and ate shabu-shabu.  I have to say – it was AMAZING!  They have a small, smooth surface flat cook-top that they place a copper pan on.  They boil broth and when it’s simmering they bring a LARGE bowl of assorted vegetables – sprouts, lettuce, eggplant, carrots, daikon, and an assortment of mushrooms (take).  Their mushrooms are unbelievable and like nothing we have in the states.  Our waitress added certain ingredients to the broth and then told us to dip some of the more delicate ingredients in briefly.  We also had wagyu beef tenderloin on the side that we could dip ourselves and cook to our liking (rare).  It was incredible!  The food here is amazingly fresh, the restaurants take such pride in what they serve, and everything is delicious!

We’re going to visit an amazing Japanese bakery this morning for breakfast and then later we’re going to visit Ginza – the Beverly Hills shopping district of Japan.  We will obviously only be window-shopping there but we plan on visiting the Mikimoto pearl store just to browse their famous pearls.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to take pictures of the inside of the store, but I plan on taking a picture of the outside – since it’s very famous in Japan.

In Tokyo you don’t seem gyms … because you walk SO much!  I have never walked so much in my life!  It’s a great way to see the city and absorb the culture so it’s been wonderful … and I don’t even realize my feet are sore until the end of the day.

We’re leaving Tokyo around 2:30PM today and heading back to Lisa’s as she has a children’s English class she teaches.  I’m very excited to meet her students.  I didn’t dry my blond hair today so it’s naturally curly which Lisa said her students would be fascinated by (apparently blond and curly hair is rare as are blue eyes).  We’re spending another night in Tokyo on Thursday so we can visit the Imperial Palace.

I’ll write more when I can.  Sorry this is brief as we’re in a rush to check out of the hotel this morning.

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