Sadness in Shinjuku

I’m so sad. This will not come as news to many seeing as my final full day in Japan was spent purchasing model railway components, perving at cool computers and buying a lunchbox. But that’s not what I meant. I am sad because we won’t be spending another night here in this hotel gazing out at the bright lights of Shinjuku, hearing the trains rattle below.

It’s always this way. There is so much left to do in Japan. I doubt that a year would be enough. Life back in Sydney seems so boring in comparison.

I will also miss spending my days with B and baby Alex. I spent even more time with Alex today than usual. B went off for a two hour haircut today, so it was just Alex and I for that time, doing boys stuff like shopping at Sakuraya’s model railway section and admiring panel PC’s and mini-notebooks at Yodobashi in West Shinjuku. For most of that time Alex was very happy, gurgling and chattering away.

When we met up with B again the three of us went to the expensive Takashimaya Times Square Department store to make use of the baby feeding room. The staff were very helpful, even finding a pack of nappies for us to purchase. Nappies are one thing you don’t seem to be able to purchase from the many convenience stores and pharmacies.

Very late lunch was above Takashimaya. I had a spaghetti with chicken and Japanese vegetables in a soy and mayonnaise based sauce. Quite nice.

At Tokyu Hands we purchased all sorts of decorations, widgets and gadgets that, in previous times, we had not been able to make a decision to buy. It’s that feeling that we may not be back for a few years.

I’m looking forward to using the mini-charcoal griller.

Also in the Takashimaya complex is the Kinokuniya book store. Their selection of locally published English language Japanese recipe books was surprisingly small, but we found one to add to the collection. We also bought Alex a book of Japanese folk tales, a book on Japanese culture and another about Hiroshima. B and I grew up during the latter stages of the cold war, with the threat of nuclear holocaust hanging over our heads and permeating the culture.

The threat is still there, but the consequences of nuclear weapons aren’t woven so closely into the culture any longer. I think it’s important that Alex understand the consequences of nuclear weapons. I know that the books I read as a young child influenced me greatly, for the better, so I want to give him the same opportunities.

Dinner was at the same stall where we first tried Japanese noodles back in 2003. Their tempura soba and udon is by far the best I have tasted on this trip. The stall is located in the centre of a narrow alleyway lined with lanterns and tiny bars, the remnants of an older Shinjuku. It’s on the South-West end of the station area.

It’s difficult to believe that two weeks have already passed since our journey began. I’m not looking forward to leaving, to the flight home. I just hope that it’s smooth, safe and quiet.

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