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Tokyo with Toshi

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I arrived in Tokyo at Shinjuku station. I was really nervous because of what everyone says about the difficulty of the Tokyo subway system. Actually, it wasn't that hard to navigate. I jumped on one train, but I had second thoughts at the last second, and I jumped off quickly before it left. At that point, I realized that I was in fact on the correct train. I just took the next one and then made it to my hostel finally.

It was not a very good hostel, dark and none of the other people staying there were happy to be there at all. Toshi met me at about 8 p.m. and we went out for izakaya (barbecue and beer). He ordered strange things like horse meat and intestines.
Jan. 20, 2020
I woke up and found some sort of dead bug in my bed. I decided to change hostels, obviously. I gave them the bug in a little baggie and went around the corner to another place, which cost a few dollars more, but was a huge improvement. They wouldn't check me in until 3 p.m., so I went to "Ramen Street" and stood in a random line that had formed. Ramen Street is under Tokyo railway station and apparently the most unique way to eat it is in two bowls. To prevent the chewy noodles from getting too mushy, you dip them into the soup instead of eating it all together. At first, I didn't understand the point, but after trying it, I realized that it really made a huge difference. I sat down beside a Canadian lady and we agreed this would probably sell well in Canada. The Singaporean women on my other side seemed to know exactly how to eat it and so I followed them.
I tried to see the Imperial Palace gardens but everything was closed on a Monday again.

I passed by a few architectural sighs such as the old Tokyo station
and the Tokyo International Forum.
There was also a neat bridge that used to be used as mile zero of every road in Japan.
Then I was tired and went to bed.

January 21, 2020
I had an interview in the middle of the day, so I used the wifi at the Museum of Modern Art. It was pretty OK, but I thought the craft gallery next door was just as good. In the MOMAT, there was this strange 10 part video series that tried to interpret a travel story from a few hundred years ago into modern times. They followed the trail of the characters in the book in a car and did little challenges that corresponded to the events in the novel. It didn't always make sense, but I guess it was an interesting idea. It would be cool to try something like that for the Odyssey or something, if it hasn't been done before.


I stayed at the craft gallery until it closed and then went to bed early again. I met a Vietnamese lady in the kitchen and we planned to go to the Imperial Palace the next day for the official tour. We also talked for a while to a guy who called himself a refugee from China. He wanted to create a political party in Japan in order to draw more attention to the problems in China. I asked him why he wasn't in Hong Kong and I didn't really understand his answer.

Jan. 22, 2020
Emily came to Tokyo. In the morning I went with my Vietnamese friend to the Imperial Palace. We joined the official tour and you could see the buildings where the Emperor gives his birthday speech. Everything is minimalistic because there was no money after the war.


After the tour I had to meet Emily so I said good-bye to my Vietnamese friend and then I walked to the restaurant where Emily and I were to have dinner later. I was really confused about the assignment as the instructions were not clear so I ran around trying to understand the menu before Emily arrived. When Emily arrived we went to see the Tokyo shopping area, Harajuku neighbourhood. Emily was hungry, so we had Mexican food before our wanderings. I was underwhelmed by the whole trendy area and so was she.

There was also a Shinto Temple nearby. We left at around closing time and I bought a used kimono at a craftsperson co-op that Emily had found.

By the time we got back downtown we headed we headed out for dinner. We had a really pretentious 6 course French meal. At the top of the hotel on the 17th floor.

Jan 23, 2020

I spent the morning writing up the report from yesterday’s meal and by the time I was done, I had to return to the same hotel. It was really busy and I got the last table and waited for Emily to arrive. They told me that they were very sorry, there was no pizza today. I did not care, I wanted risotto. There was a real Italian chef and everything was really good. However, the table behind us was doing something very interesting. I looked over and. they. had. pizza! What! The woman at the front desk lied to me! I made a faked shocked face and told Emily that I was jealous that they had pizza and we were not allowed to order anything. Someone came over right away and explained that they were very sorry and that this table was very special. They were allowed to have pizza and no one else was. Ohhhkay whatever. We laughed for a really long time about how many times they apologized in varying degrees of sincerity.
Then we had to go to the lounge area where they were doing molecular gastronomy. So that kind of messed up my report again because I couldn’t sit at the bar as needed. I was stressed out the whole time because I thought I would fail. The lounge was also really pretentious. If you want to sit in the corner window, you had to provide your hotel room key so we sat on the side windows as the corner window area stayed unoccupied. We had two drinks there and I had to order a snack, we weren’t really hungry so I just ordered some nuts for $7. We laughed when the server didn’t even charge us for the $7 nuts. Before we left the server also gave me a bag of rice crackers in a beautiful gift bag. I returned the gift bag but took the rice crackers.

That was the last time I saw Emily.

Jan 24, 2020

I finished up my report and celebrated with some convenience store sushi and a jar of sake.

Posted by baixing 11:39 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo

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Pretentious food looked amazing!

by Marian Brown

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