Saturday, September 25, 2010

Curry and Mazes

The Tokyo train system is like a magical labyrinth that sucks in foreigners, forcing them to be lost forever.

After crashing from the night before, we woke up around 10 and began planning out our next excursion. Initially I had wanted to go to Asakusa and then Akihabara, but after some thought, and leg pain from the plane ride, I figured Akihabara would suffice for now. When we made it outside around noon, we strolled down the street looking for places to eat. We found a little place with a menu out front and it had different types of udon, tempura, and curry dishes. Naturally I gravitated towards the curry with korokke that was only 500 yen (approx. $5), which both Mia and I ate.

I ate all my food in almost 5 minutes. It was a huge portion, but it was so delicious that I couldn’t stop myself. Mia was having a harder time finishing hers because she was already full, but we knew we’d have to finish our dishes otherwise it would seem rude. Mia did her best :D

After lunch we went to the hotel to ask for directions to the train station. After we got there, I couldn’t figure out where we were supposed to go from there. I remembered the kanji (Shinagawa: 品川) for the first train station that we would need to go to, but after that I was lost. Mia, being more confident in conversation than I, asked the man at the train station how to get to Akihabara. He gave us directions and we were able to buy the correct tickets. We almost got on the wrong train right off the bat, but luckily they stopped us and told us to go on the other side.

So we rode the first train until we saw a sign that said to Shinagawa and got off, but then realized we were not at Shinagawa yet. So we hoped on another train going to Shinagawa and got all the way to Kitashinagawa and got off again. We were a little confused, but luckily we found a map that showed us that the next station after Kitashinagawa would be Shinagawa
(よし!). So then we finally Shinagawa!

After Mia asked for more directions, we got on the Yamanote line, which luckily had bilingual trains. We then traveled all the way to Akihabara and finally got into Electric Town.

We stopped to take a ton of pictures and then looked into the duty-free shops. They had a ton of electronics, and while I wanted to buy a lot of things, I restricted myself to buying a plug converter and set of headphones. My old headphones would always fall out and were extremely uncomfortable, so these new ones (which I got for practically the same low price as my other headphones) were extremely comfortable and I could imagine walking with these in.

After more pictures and such, we decided to head back on the trains and get back to the hotel before rush hour. This time I bought the tickets, and luckily I remembered how much our tickets from before had cost. The Yamanote line was fairly straightforward again, but after we got off at Shinagawa, we couldn’t figure out which train to take. We finally found a train that would be stopping at Kitashinagawa because I knew if we got that train we would head in the right direction. However, I soon realized after studying the map that we would have to transfer to another train a station that I can’t even remember. We stayed on our train however to see if it would take us to Koyiji (sp?) which was the correct station or Zoushiki which was wrong. Low and behold, it took us to Zoushiki, so we got on another train to take us back to the other station and then spent about 20 minutes trying to find the right train. We were both tired by then and just wanted to get to the hotel.

Luckily we got on the right train and then got off at the right station and walked home in victory for conquering the train system. Our reward was the discovery of a Convenient Store (コンビニ) on our way home, and we bought dinner and snacks. I got an onigiri with fresh salmon in the middle, some sembei, some diet mitsuya cider, and the little puff balls with chocolate in the middle. I was kind of indulgent, but after such a long day I didn’t mind.

Then we got to the hotel, watched Japanese tv, uploaded photos to facebook, and just hung out. Mia fell asleep early and I decided to take a soaking bath, which I feel asleep in as well LOL. I woke up maybe 30 minutes or an hour later, I don’t know, but it was still pretty warm, and I was very relaxed. And now I’m here at 7:00 finishing nearly 2000 words that I’ve written. Not looking forward to another airplane today to Aomori, and then a bus to Hirosaki, but that’s life. Hopefully the charge for excessive baggage won’t be as bad as I think it’s going to be, but we’ll see. Hopefully I’ll let everyone how today goes soon.

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