In the morning, shortly after waking up from a long and much-needed sleep, Gabe and I headed off to see Tokyo Imperial Palace.
We had discussed it during the previous day and thought it would be a good idea.
We headed to Tokyo Station and got breakfast – waffles with berries.
Not counting a time when I had a small bite, it was the first time I’ve had waffles.
I liked how light and fluffy the ones I had were.
I also liked how low on sugar they tasted.
I also had a coffee with it and found myself satisfied with how it tasted.
After we had breakfast, we headed off to the palace.
There was a brief break during the short trip but I think we did well for time.
Once we were on the palace grounds, we saw two horse-drawn carriages, followed by a few cars. I had no idea as to who was in them, but I assumed they were important.
We started to head south around the perimeter of the grounds, taking in how large in appearance the area was and marveling at the walls and moats.
There were a few stops along the way to rest.
I was mostly fine. It was humid but I had no real problems.
The humidity was getting to Gabe more than it was me though, so he needed to rest a bit more.
Eventually we reached 千鳥ヶ淵 (Chidoriga-fuchi Park (my apologies if I’ve used the wrong characters there)). Gabe had another rest, so I walked ahead for a few minutes to explore.
I’m pretty sure that at this point I saw my first crow in Japan. It was a large bird with a very sharp, strong-looking beak.
I found it to be an impressive-looking bird.
A few days later I grew to find the crows really annoying due to their loud, fairly continuous cawing.
It was also at this point that mosquitoes took a liking to my legs and decided to get as much of them as possible.
Anyway, after about fifteen minutes, Gabe and I continued.
However, shortly after, Gabe decided that he wanted to head back to the hostel, so he headed off to the nearest station and I continued walking around the perimeter.
Eventually I reached the Imperial Palace East Gardens, so I decided to wander through them for a little while.
I was taken aback by how large most things were, as well as how relaxing it was.
A teenager spoke to me about where I was from for a few minutes whilst I was walking around. It was a short and pleasant enough conversation.
Whilst I do like the Royal Botannic Garden in Sydney, and consider it a beautiful, wonderful area, I did feel the Imperial Palace East Gardens were as good.
After I finished there, I headed back to the entrance I used and kept walking around.
Once I had completed my walk around the perimeter, I walked back to Tokyo Station.
Whilst walking, I saw a statue of 楠木 正成 (Kusunoki Masashige). It was an impressive statue, made well and showing a great passion and determination.
Anyway, instead of heading back to the hostel, I wandered around Ginza for a little while, checking out some of the shops there and enjoying how the area was designed.
Eventually I headed back to the hostel. When I saw Gabe, he told me he got back about twenty minutes before me.
He then told me about how he got lost for two-and-a-half hours.
I told him about what I saw, then told him I’d go out and get dinner soon.
We wanted to have something we thought would be typically seen as Japanese cuisine as we hadn’t had anything that matched that yet.
I also told him that I would get Hungry Jack’s if I couldn’t find anything. Gabe told me about a McDonald’s nearby, but as I hadn’t seen it, I said that Hungry Jacks would remain as Plan B.
After resting, I headed out and headed south, thinking that would be the best direction to go to find food.
I ended up walking through 山谷堀公園 (Sanyabori Park) which led to Kuritsu Sumida Park.
I walked along there for a while, enjoying the view of the river until I ended up in Asakusa.
I still hadn’t found food, so I walked through there, wondering what would be good to get but not making any choices.
It was a bit busy but it felt laid back.
I ended up walking into a market area, purchasing a small sheep and then began to make my way back to the hostel as it had been dark for a while and I didn’t know how long it would take me to get back.
As I didn’t want to go back through the parks, I began to walk down streets and after a while, seeing an Italian food place along the way, somehow made it back to the hostel.
As I didn’t have food, I went to Hungry Jack’s.
On the way there, I saw a place that looked interesting but decided not to go in. However, I did keep it in my mind as I thought it would be nice to go in with Gabe.
Anyway, I got to Hungry Jack’s and ordered something basic.
I probably should have ordered the ink burgers, but I wanted to get out of Hungry Jack’s as quickly as possible. being in there felt repulsive.
The place was nice and maintained but I don’t think highly of the food they provide.
Anyway, I got the order, headed out, saw the McDonald’s, went “oh well” and then headed back to the hostel.
I told Gabe about the journey, ate with him and then went to sleep a bit later.
In the morning of the next day, I canceled our appearance on T.V.
Gabe had been looking into the show and had found out that they apparently made fun of foreigners.
When he read that, he lost enthusiasm and didn’t want to be filmed anymore.
Whilst I was leaning towards being filmed, as Gabe did not want to do it anymore, I felt it better to cancel.
Then we headed to Akihabara.
For breakfast we had pancakes with berries.
Like the waffles, they didn’t taste sugary, and were light and fluffy.
I also had my first iced coffee.
It was literally coffee with ice in it.
The coffee was black.
It was intense.
I wasn’t able to finish it.
After having breakfast, I realised that Akihabara was one of many shopping districts in Tokyo.
Some of the gaming-related stuff there interested me (Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and some other things I can’t quite remember), and I thought some of the figurines I saw were cool, but much of it wasn’t my thing.
Still it was enjoyable.
After an hour or so of wandering around there, Gabe told me he was going to go to a store that sold Magic: The Gathering stuff. Whilst I wanted to go with him, I had to find a 7-Eleven to get more money out, so we agreed to meet up after I found one.
Then I became lost.
To be fair, I wasn’t very lost. It was more that I felt lost.
I felt more lost than I had during the hunt for food and I was certainly more lost then.
I wandered around, trying to get an internet connection to try and locate a 7-Eleven, but I couldn’t get a connection anywhere (when I was out, I would only use the internet if I could get a connection and only to help locate something; shortly after trying to find a 7-Eleven in Akihabara, I would ask for directions from people more often as well).
I remember at one point thinking that if I saw someone who spoke English as a first language, I was going to run up to them and probably start crying out of joy, as I didn’t think to just ask people around me for a 7-Eleven, as even if there was a language barrier, they still would be able to have told me where it was.
I didn’t think to do this because I don’t know.
I do know it was stupid of me to think that way.
Eventually I found the 7-Eleven in the area. It was about two-hundred metres away from Akihabara Station.
I took out money from my account and then headed back to the station to meet back up with Gabe.
I waited for about ten minutes when I got an internet connection and saw that he messaged me, telling me he was going to head back to the hostel.
I headed back and told him about my non-adventure.
I had decided I wanted to check out Shibuya (I’m pretty sure it was after getting back to the hostel), as I wanted to find a record store (I couldn’t see one in Akihabara) as well as check out some clothing in case I saw something I may like.
Normally I’m not interesting in clothing shopping, but I thought it would be worth giving a go.
Reading that Shibuya has a lot of youth culture, I thought it would be worth checking out.
I asked Gabe if he wanted to come along. He felt the commute was a bit too long for that point in the day (it was somewhere around 2:15 in the afternoon it it would take around thirty to forty-five minutes from where we were).
I headed off and after checking out the crossing there, wandered around.
I saw a Freshness Burger there and also a cat café.
One of my friends had told me that, when they had gone to Japan, they went to one and it was cool but they left as it became intense when they saw someone crying.
I wanted to go to one to see what the experience would be like for me and failed to get in as I gave up.
I went through the entrance and, as they were letting a couple in, I was asked to wait outside, as they do one group/person in at a time.
I sat on the bench outside the door and watched two people walk past me and through the door as they managed to arrived just as the couple inside were done with getting in.
I had already waited a little while, so I left and wandered around Shibuya some more.
I came across the Fab Café, a place I fell in love with, yet dared not enter.
I ended up coming across an music store and couldn’t see how to get in.
I went to a small club next to it and asked how to get in, but they weren’t sure as to what I was on about, so I left and then found the entrance which was, quite obviously, at the front of the store.
The range of instruments was really good.
Sadly, the instruments also sat comfortably outside of what my budget would allow, so I could only look.
After leaving and wandering some more, I ended up walking down a small street that didn’t feel like the rest of Shibuya as it was much more laid-back in comparison.
I ended up on another busy street and found myself surprised a few minutes after.
There was a guy walking along with a semi-serious look on his face.
His shirt had (verbatim) “So, do you have big hands?” written on it.
When I saw it, I laughed.
I didn’t ever expect to see that question written down anywhere.
I also didn’t ever expect to see it written so politely.
After spending more time wandering around and trying to find the crossing again but failing, I headed back to the hostel.
I rested for a short bit before Gabe and I headed out for dinner.
Then sleep afterwards.
In the morning (it was either the morning or just after getting back to the hostel), I messaged Fe about Gabe getting Pringles.
He told me I should try out Chip Star as he had heard they were the superior version of Pringles.
As we had to check out that day, I took pictures of some helpful information in the lift of our hostel before we left as it featured some words / phrases of the Japanese language. This ended up becoming one of the best things I did during the whole trip as it made communication much easier.
I also ran outside and bought a Boss coffee from a vending machine nearby.
I had seen a few vending machines with Boss coffee in them around.
Initially I was intrigued only by the advertising for Boss coffee on vending machines that had it in stock (Tommy Lee Jones was used for the advertising in emotive ways). I ended up taking the plunge and buying a can when I saw the slogan on it:
Boss is the boss of them all.
It wasn’t bad.
Anyway, we checked out and headed off to Ueno Station, where we had something average for breakfast (it was food at a Hard Rock Cafe and, as a first impression, I was not impressed, although the iced coffee I had with it was still intense (as it was still black coffee with ice in it)).
We then activated our JR passes and headed to Fujikawaguchiko.