From the perfectly toasty toilet seat in our hotel room, to the note from the housekeeper asking you to help conserve the environment and think twice about having your towels washed everyday in aid of the environment (if you decide to skip a day’s cleaning, they reward you with a 1,000 yen voucher to be used in the hotel convenience store), to the way the space in the bathroom where your face is never ever fogs up, no matter how hot your shower.
This place makes you want to be a better person. D and I arrive at 7 am
Our hotel is right at the foot of
It’s Spring Equinox, and a public holiday in
D and I are inspired and go to a nearby combini to get some picnic food – I get sushi rolls and a giant waffle/sponge cake thing, D is lulled by superior packaging into buying what is essentially a white bread, chocolate spread sandwich. “But the bread looked so soft,” he lamented while watching me gorge ecstatically on my sushi and giant waffle.
The sun is out, the sky is clear blue, and everyone around is just doing their own thing and enjoying the day. Amazing. Despite embracing modernity, the Japanese just seem to me to be so in tune with nature. From the cycles of the seasons, to the elemental power of water and the deep resonance of stone. Every where I turn, I see, and feel, balance. It’s incredibly reassuring.
Anyway, eep, getting a tad philosophical there. So after our wander it was time for D and his work contingent to attend a function at the Australian Embassy. Left to my own devices and still slightly hampered by my darned cold, I go check out the nearby bright lights of Roppongi!
My mission is to find a fun place to dine alone. I find it by chance, when I veer off one of the many side alleys. The hole-in-the-wall restaurant doesn’t have an English name, nor a menu in English. I’m lured in by the cosy yellow lighting through small windows, and the fact that there is a grizzly old man in a spunky Adidas red windbreaker nursing a sake at the bar and watching the world go by. I go in, and point lamely at a random item on the menu whole time saying arigato, arigato. I hope that it’s something soupy, and I almost get my wish – I end up ordering a stew with pork and pickles. And by pork I mean all parts of the animal – yeesh! But it’s surprisingly yummy and I eat most of it. The three guys that run the bar all smile at me encouragingly; one is missing four front teeth. I wonder how and when that happened.
But the cold gets better of me, and as I stumble out into the cold after that hearty meal, the temperature has plunged back down to 4 degrees Celsius again. Thank god for my trusty leather jacket and boots. I navigate the trains, never once peeking at my Lonely Planet (yay! I leave my hapless backpacker persona behind) and walk back to the hotel.
There’s free wireless here. I have my laptop and I’m all cosy with a hot cup of roasted tea.
Tomorrow morning, I will wake early and go to the Tsukiji Central Fish Market. Over US$15.5 million of fish is sold here daily. And some of the merchants have been at the market for over 20 generations.
So who knows where the day will take me? I’m not fussed at all. I’m on the road and loving it.