|Bad-ass photo of Tokyo Tower|
|Tiffany and Melissa: Purikura|
In lieu of the closed city garden, we headed toward another garden that Melissa knew about so that I could get my garden fix, and we passed through some city areas and another garden on the way. It's hard to go anywhere in Japan without seeing beautiful things and scenes, and I am a very lucky girl to have a friend like Melissa that is so knowledgeable and resourceful. We made our way to the Bunkyoku area, home to the luxury Four Seasons Hotel and it's garden. We strolled through the garden which had it's own shrines and sculptures, a famous well that kept people alive after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, streams, and a waterfall that has a path underneath for entrance to the hotel. Nice! The garden was setting for good conversation, which in my opinion, Melissa and I always have.
|Asakusa Shopping after the people had gone|
After Bunkyoku we took the train to Asakusa to check out a famous shopping area and to see Senso-ji, a huge temple. We met up with another friend, Mike, who lives in Oita prefecture with me. It hadn't occurred to me to ask, but that area was bustling as though a festival was in full swing, but I think it's just like that every day. I wonder. I had some yummy sake with mochi inside while I was there, as well as some other Japanese sweets. YUM. From the temple area I caught views of the Asahi Beer factory (a jet black building with a big gold (sperm-esque) flame on top, famous also for its architecture), and the new Tokyo Sky Tree, which has the coolest matte silver finish, and is now the tallest structure in Japan. After the temple we went milling the streets looking for eats. I wasn't in shopping mode, for once, but Melissa hit upon what appeared to be a shoe-shoppers mecca. We ended up having a delicious meal of... udon? I think it was udon.
|Tokyo Sky Tree|
On my second day, I woke up in Tsukuba without the assistance of an alarm OR a child!! It was divine. We did some serious vegging this day. Melissa fixed me up on the trip with healthier food than I have been eating lately: We started the day with blueberry and maple syrup infused oatmeal and made a lunch of tuna/carrot salad scooped up with nori, accompanied by boiled eggs and mustard. We ate lunch in front of a duck pond on the lawn of the Tsukuba planetarium. It was really pretty. I say lunch, but we didn't actually get out of the apartment until the sun was on the way down. That kind of day feels so right to me. The rest of our day consisted of browsing and a little buying, especially at Loft, a pretty cool store that has lots of cute/fun/uniquely-Japanese stuff. This is the day I got Roland. He's my new friend. We finished up the day with a trip to the purikura!! Purikura is what we call the Japanese photo booths. You choose layouts and backgrounds, take your 6 or 8 pictures, and then go to a screen outside the booth where there is screen. You use a digital pen to decorate your pics with tab after tab of pictures and symbols. It's really fun! We stopped in the park on the way home to look at the stars while we talked.
|Cool Harajuku Wall|
|Crazy Harajuku Dude|
|Me and Melissa in Harajuku|
|Mike and Melissa in |
|The New Year's Party|
we went to
So, obviously, that's when things start to get blurry. It was a great, fun lovin time. The atmosphere in the club was jubilent. The strippers were sexy. The pole dance was really, truly impressive; like, inspiring; and the music was freaking awesome... song after song got me movin' and groovin'. Finally, the DJ lead the countdown -in Japanese- and we screamed in the year of 2012. These two guys had been running around all night pouring champagne in our mouths. They did that some more. We danced and laughed...
On the way out, sometime before 3am, we ran into my friends from Oita University, who I had told about this Club Axxcis. They were like, "Oh, you're leavin' already?" Were you looking at me? It was three in the morning and I could never have gotten myself home without Melissa. Yeah. I'm leavin' already. Melissa ran me to catch the train, so when we got there I collapsed on the floor of the train, and luckily I was laughing my ass off instead of crying. I'm generally a happy drunk. There was a konbini stop and bed. Good, good New Year's Eve in Tokyo.
|Post Club Konbini Stop|
On the fourth day, only about five hours later, I woke up and was feelin' fine. My bounce back powers are healthy. We checked out, dropped our stuff off in a locker in Shinjuku, where I would catch my bus that night, and headed to Odaiba Island where I caught lots of city sights including Tokyo Big Sight, Palette Town Mall (where I picked up some Tokyo Starbucks Mugs for my collection), the Toyota Design Center, Aqua City, and the Fuji TV Building. I also experienced an earthquake right before we bought our tickets for the water bus back to Hinode Pier. I love being on the water. The views were gorgeous and I got great pictures of Rainbow Bridge and the skyline. From Hinode Pier we walked to Shibakoen area to see Zojo-ji (ji means temple) and Tokyo Tower.
|At Tokyo Big Sight|
|Ferris Wheel at Palette Town|
After that, it was just getting back to Kyushu and Oita. It is of note that the 2 hour bus ride from Fukuoka to Oita took, on this day, 5 hours. My bus went under 15 km/hr for almost 4 hours. And my phone was dead. And I had no book to read. And I couldn't really sleep. Torture.
But, I don't remember my trip that way and I don't want to end this post that way. I had a great time with Melissa. I'm blessed to have such a generous friend who happens to be fluent . I feel like I have seen Tokyo now, for though I had spent as many nights in Tokyo before, I had only seen the inside of the Keio Plaza Hotel. ...Now, you know me, I always end up reflecting on something, and what comes to mind now is my lack of appreciation for where I am. I have come to a point where I am taking Japan for granted. I know this because although I just spent a really awesome four days in Tokyo, I'm still jealous of my friends who went to Thailand -a place I have already been to, and I'm moaning in my head about when I might get to go to Bali or Guam or even Okinawa. I'm such a brat. :-)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!