Tuesday in Tokyo

[Note: wrote but never edited or published this while in Japan.  Figured there’s no reason for it to languish in the intarwebs.]

After crashing at 8:30ish last night, I woke up around 2 and couldn’t sleep — no surprise, really, given the time change.  Chatted with Esther for a bit, checked up on the intarwebs, and tried to sleep again.  Gave up, and read The Signature of Things until maybe 5, then slept until 7:30.

My first order of business after breakfast was to visit the local 7-11 in hopes of finding delectable Kit Kats.  No dice.  I’ve been told candies and such are also sold at stations like Shibuya, but I have no idea where.  In case you’re envisioning the likes of say, a BART station, think again.  Shibuya is bewildering.  It’s not even a single station; there are at least 2 separate rail companies, probably more.  I walked around it 3 times today and I still have the barest sense of geography.

I did find my way to the JR Yamamote line, which circles central Tokyo, and went one stop north to Harajuku, where I wandered around a colourful retail area for a bit before retreating to a Starbucks.  With the help of free wifi, I got my bearings and directions to Yoyogi Park and the Meiji Shrine, which were my destination.  The park and shrine were relaxing and beautiful, despite the rain.  I might have spent more time exploring the park, but I thought I’d try to get to Google for lunch.  However, after 1/2 an hour searching for the right bus and getting progressively wetter and hungrier, I gave up and went back to the hotel.  Thanks to recommendations from other Googlers, I found a nice Nepalese place for lunch and enjoyed curry, naan, and chai.

Thus fortified I set out once again and this time found the bus, paid the fare without too much fumbling with coins, and even managed to get off at the right stop.  The Google offices are on the 26th floor and up of an office tower, offering great views of the city (when there isn’t so much rain and clouds).  After a brief visit (everyone was working, after all), I hopped on my fourth transit system so far, the Tokyo Metro, to get to Akihabara. [meant to write more here, but never got around to it]

Back to Shibuya, where I spent another hour attempting to find a vegetarian restaurant recommended on TripAdvisor.  I think I ultimately ended up in the right area, but either it doesn’t exist, or I wasn’t clever enough to locate it.  Navigating is more challenging than I imagined it would be.  Felt like a failure when I resorted to eating pizza at a restaurant attached to my hotel.  Incidentally, it was a “vegetarian” pizza that turned out to be a cheese pizza with a salad on top.  Odd, but perfectly decent, and at least a more proper dinner than last night’s Kashi bar.

While I did get around to a few places, and never got particularly lost, today felt inefficient.  On the bright side, between eating two meals alone and riding around on transit all day, I’m nearly done with The Signature of All Things.  I’m also exhausted, so it’s off to another early bedtime for me.

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