Friday – April 14, 2017
Today was initially planned to be our first day in Tokyo. Dan and Pete however wanted to spend more time in Kyoto. Being that I had things I wanted to get done in Tokyo, once again, the group split up.
Shinkansen to Tokyo
I got up at 8:00, got showered, dressed, packed and left. I took the subway to the Shinkansen and walked to the back of the train and waited for my train to come. Then, realizing I was hungry and that I had 10 minutes to spare, I walked down the platform to the kiosk where I grabbed a few little things to eat and drink.
I then boarded the 9:32 Shinkansen bound for Tokyo station. Once we started going I got everything set up, plugged in my phone, ate and listened to music on shuffle. Interestingly enough they actually checked my JR Pass on the train, something they had yet to do thus far on the trip.
I had been keeping my eye out for a “certain something” that was supposed to appear out the left side of the train, the side I was sitting on. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure how far along the train ride it would appear. Additionally, though I had calculated that it should be about 10 miles away, I had no idea how far away 10 miles was or how big what I was looking for would look.
Then shortly after hitting one of the stations and going through a tunnel, there it was… Mt. Fuji. I could not have missed it if I tried. I took tons of pictures because I wanted to ensure that I got at least one good picture of it. I did not realize how big and how majestic it would be. My heart literally stopped when I saw it.
Tokyo/Shinjuku – Day
Eventually I arrived at Tokyo Station. Imagine Grand Central Station times ten. I then easily found my way to the Air BnB via the subway (12:38 train). The app I had downloaded with the Tokyo Subway map on it worked perfectly. I found the bicycle with our key card in it right away but had a little trouble finding the entrance. Eventually, with the help of an English speaking local, I found the entrance.
However, due to how our key was linked to our phones I was not yet able to check in. I then put the building key back and made my way to the Shinjuku Loft. I was in search of tickets to the 22.214.171.124’s show on the 22nd, our last night in Japan. It took me a while to find the place and when I did (a little after 13:00) I was told that the box office didn’t open until 15:00.
Thus I began to venture through Shinjuku. I ended up stumbling upon the Robot Restaurant that we plan on hitting up before we leave. I kept walking and found an arcade that I stopped in to use the restroom and put on sun-tan lotion.
I ventured on and again stumbled upon something from my list, Tiato Station Arcade. The place was at least 4 floors of games and in it I found an Initial D racing game. There was even free wifi which I took advantage of.
Then, in the distance, I saw the Cocoon Building. I was in sensory overload. I walked through a mall in order to try and get closer to it. I tried to walk to it but lost it in the shuffle of other buildings. However, I found a little pharmacy where I got more contact solution -mine was running low- and this special salt toothpaste that I’d heard about before I left for the trip.
By the time I was done with all that, I walked back to the Shinjuku Loft to grab tickets to the show. To my pleasant surprise there were still tickets left for the show. I was going to see The 126.96.36.199’s in Japan! After that, I took a second stab at reaching the Cocoon Building and this time was able to find it. I entered a side section of the building and grabbed food at Tully’s Coffee.
NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building
There I relaxed, mooched free WiFi, caught up with the boys via iMessage/email, sent an email to my Mom and wrote to this point in my notebook. After that I walked to the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building which is, apparently, the second tallest clock tower in the world. Who knew. As a side note, it looks like the Empire State Building.
I then walked back to our subway station to check that my locker was not charging me more than it was supposed to (I wasn’t sure if it was based on time). Luckily, it was all good. After exiting the subway I went into my backpack to grab my hat as it was getting chilly. Dolly zoom to an “Oh fuck” reaction on my face. My hat wasn’t there.
I suddenly tried to think back to the last place I remembered having it. A flash of the Kyoto Station came to mind. I had put my hat on the handle of my suitcase but I never put it in my backpack. It must have been lost somewhere on the platform. I started to formulate a plan involving emailing JR East about if they have a lost and found and how I would be able to get my hat mailed back to America. I knew though that realistically, all hope was lost, my hat was gone forever.
I had been having such a great day; I saw Mt. Fuji on the Shinkansen, I got tickets to The 188.8.131.52’s and now I was completely deflated. The hat had been a gift from a friend and was my favorite article of clothing. The hat itself had become a companion and now it was dead. I was genuinely devastated.
I took a stroll around the block and eventually made my way back to Tiato Station to mooch more WiFi. I reached Pete who told me I could now get in a 19:00, it was 18:34.
I slowly and sadly made my way back to the Air BnB. Shortly after, I met up with Dan outside the nearby subway station. We then met with Yuko who let us into the room and showed us around. After she left I went down to the subway locker to grab my suitcase.
I opened the door to my locker and to my disbelief, there it was! My purple beanie! I had no recollection of having thrown it in there. I was unbelievably happy. I wore it back to the Air BnB smiling the whole time. Dan let me in and shortly after Pete needed to be let up.
We then all swapped the stories of our days and then I wrote all of this.
Tokyo/Shinjuku – Night
Afterwards, Dan said he was hungry, so I led the boys into Shinjuku. We were in search of anywhere that did not close at 22:00. It was starting to look like hope was lost until we found a place that not only had food we all wanted to eat but also was open 24 hours a day; win, win.
As we were eating, Dan mentioned he wanted to go to a bar after we ate. I told him about the Golden Gai district that has a lot of tiny bars down an alleyway. He was down and so was Pete, so that’s where we went.
I was super excited to go, but when we got there, not only did we think it was pretty underwhelming but also, all of the bars had cover charges. However, we soon simply turned a corner and boom, we were on another alley filled with bars.
We eventually found a bar called Deathmatch In Hell. It was a horror themed bar that played heavy metal music and horror movies and charged no cover. The price of the drinks was 666 Yen.
We drank there for a bit and chatted with some of the other tourists before heading back to the apartment. We didn’t get back till around 1:00. Not bad for our first night in Tokyo.