Today’s my last full day in Tokyo.
On arrival, I found out about the Studio Ghibli museum which naturally I wanted to pay a visit. Alas, time seemed to have escaped me as I awoke to the natural light pouring in through the ceiling window of their guest annex.
I don’t really have a tendency to plan my daily excursions like some do in their color coded, Excel spreadsheets. Wondering what to take in on my last day in the capital of the land of the rising sun, Yoko suggested a visit to Odaiba and Tokyo Bay. It turns out Odaiba is Tokyo’s shopping mall district on the water front, giving me the perfect opportunity to pick up a few gifts for friends and family back home.
To get to Odaiba itself you have to transfer off of the JR lines and onto the privately run Shimbashi line. Before I’d headed out that morning, Yoko had said to sit at the front of the monorail.
Suffice to say I wasn’t disappointed.
The fact that the monorail service was autonomous, meant that the views usually reserved for the driver were there for all to see. It was like going on an extremely tame theme park ride, but the views from Rainbow Bridge were simply stunning.
Tokyo’s waterfront was a welcomed change to the spouting concrete colossus. Even though I didn’t dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean, I did, as per usual, tuck into my 7/11 Bento box which was made even more spectacular by the view:
One of the highlights of the area is the Venus Fort Shopping Mall….
A medieval European themed shopping mall…
I find myself increasingly using the phrase ‘Sure, why the hell not!’ in Japan.
My pottering around also led to the purchase of a couple of teapots for my parents and grandparents in the ‘wabi-sabi’ style- the art of imperfection:
That evening Yoko cooked sea urchins, miso soup among a whole plethora of other seafood delights. Eating with Matthew, Yoko’s semi-permanent resident, he mentioned that he was currently learning Japanese and had started to look for a good Japanese to English dictionary. Even though I’d be learning myself prior to touchdown in Japan, I decided to gift him my Oxford English to Japanese dictionary- I had a lonely planet phrase book which would more than suffice for my means.
To my surprise an hour or so later, Matthew popped down to my room and presented me with a Japanese football shirt of the local team he’d recently signed for.
I was sincerely, really touched by this parting gift; I still can’t quite get over the fact he’s merely 17 and has taken the chance of pursuing his football career so far from his Australian abode.
As someone who hadn’t done a home stay before, or even traveled alone for that matter, some members of my family were certainly a ‘little’ concerned to the say the least with my choice of lodgings. Yet this turned out to be a wonderful, wonderful decision on my part- I couldn’t recommend it enough. I was truly blessed to have such kind and fun-loving hosts.
It opened my eyes to the day to day lives of those living in the world’s largest city.