I’m big in Japan: Strolling about Shinjuku (2005 May 9)

2 minute read

To return to Tokyo, we had decided on the Shinkansen option rather than having the bus haul us back. Turned out to be a brilliant idea overall; we were scheduled for a 7:10PM train back and arrived at the station at 5:35PM. Our guide told us though that we could switch our reserved seating tickets for unreserved seats on the 5:47PM train. Sweet! We’d be back to Tokyo around 6:30 if we could manage the switch. We did and boarded the Kodama line, the slowest of the bullet trains, back to Tokyo.

The train ride was interesting and relaxing; for the speed the train was doing, it was almost whisper quiet. The person sitting next to me was playing golf on their PSP, and a refreshment cart went up the aisle at least twice. We arrived back at Tokyo and decided to stroll about Shinjuku and soak in the night life there. Tokyo is definitely a city for walking and not gawking; pause in the wrong spot, and you will likely be trampled. There was no particular direction we were headed, and we ambled through the streets until our feet were tired. I did drag us through a pachinko parlor briefly to show Jm Japan’s equivalent of slot jockeys.

Arriving back at our hotel, we decided we were not that hungry and just wanted a snack. Drinks from a vending machine would quench our thirst (120¥). There was a little pastry shop in the hotel called Poppins that featured a number of tasty looking cakes. I managed to eke out enough Japanese to order two slices (945¥) and must have sounded somewhat fluent. The lady behind the counter rattled off “Would you like it to go?” quickly in Japanese; I had to sheepishly grin and tell her I didn’t understand enough Japanese. She smiled back and repeated the question in English. I admit it was a bit of an ego boost to know that I could at least fake a decent grasp of the language if even for only a minute.

With no tours scheduled for the rest of our Tokyo stay, we briefly looked over the weather forecast and our guide books. Settling on a walking tour of Ueno for tomorrow, Jm turned in while I stayed up a bit to catch some of the late night anime. Sleep soon clubbed me over the head though, and it was time to obey and get some rest for the day ahead.