As I gaze out at the bright red dots forming an outline of a city skyline at night I am feeling a little melancholy. I love this little room, the amazing views and all those familiar little places around as well as all the unfamiliar nooks and crannies waiting to be discovered. It’s a form of reverse anticipatory homesickness, missing the home away from home.
It’s not that the holiday is going to end – there is still another week left – but tomorrow we will say goodbye to Tokyo and hello to the rest of our adventure.
We stayed in the hotel room a full twelve hours after arriving in last night from Disneyland. This blog is partly to blame as I was too tired to update it straight away. After a quick, but so much better than Maccas brunch of delicious hamburgers at Country Kitchen, B went off to shop at H&M while Alex slept opposite me at tiny downstairs Aaliya, which advertises itself as having the best French toast in Tokyo.
It could have the best French toast in the world as far as I am concerned. Soft,creamy melt-in-your-mouth toast with oh-so-nice fruit teas, served in delicate porcelain teacups and with a sand timer to countdown the three minutes of brewing. It felt utterly decadent.
I eventually carried a still sleeping Alex up the stairs and out by the busy central streets of Shinjuku to await B’s return. We waited an hour, worried that she was lost. Alex was crying by the end of it when she finally appeared across the road claiming apologetically she could have spent longer.
Most of the usable day was gone, so there was no point in riding the Toden Arakawa trams through local Tokyo. Maybe tomorrow. Instead we walked across to Shinjuku Gyoen, an ex-Imperial garden handed over to the people.
It was a sunny day, fairly warm, and perfect weather for cherry blossom viewing. But there were big queues at the gate as visitors opened their bags for inspection. No alcohol allowed!
Not until you see the cherry blossoms up close can you get a sense of why the Japanese adore them. Like pink and white snow teased into elegant shapes. We wandered through the park, then sat down on the dry yellow grass until the too early closing time of 4.30 pm.
Then as darkness fell we caught the Yamanote line to Okachimachi and Ameyoko street, home of possibly the last real street market in Tokyo. No luck finding shoes for Alex, but the colour and atmosphere was fun as we walked all the way to Ueno station.
Seeing some colourful lights we walked up to Ueno park
to discover that the cherry blossom viewing had begun. Though most of the lanterns had not yet been lit, down towards the Bentendo (which is nothing to do with a kids television series) there were food stalls and crowds.
We ate chicken yakiniku skewers, soy sauce grilled corn and mitarishi dango, skewers of grilled rice balls with a sweet soy sauce. Around us tipsy revellers drank more or stumbled around the beautiful trees.
But we had promised Alex more sushi, so we caught the train back to Shinjuku, stopping by a shop where the Toden Arakawa trams were displayed on their Sesame Street promotional material. A message that we should ride them tomorrow? The it was supper at the appropriately named Sakura (cherry tree) Sushi opposite the hotel. Alex even ate the nori (seaweed), which is so much thinner and tastier than that served up in the shopping centre sushi of home.
Outside my window I can still see the blue neon sign of a Toyoko Inn. That’s what awaits us tomorrow night in Toyohashi. From the Shinjuku Prince, goodnight!