We rose early with the Sun, ready for a long walk.
Poor old Liesel was in a lot of discomfort pretty much from the start, but despite this, she pushed through and we ended up with 8 miles under our belts. Just don’t tell her physio.
The view from our hotel window, as you can see, isn’t very green, so we thought a walk to the park was in order. And my goodness, how busy the streets are at 8am. Everyone’s on a mission to get to work.
On the way to the park, we saw this triptych and we briefly thought how exciting it would be to watch Japan play the All Blacks while we’re here. Sadly, we have plans for that day and in any case, as the website says, ‘all packages are sold out’.
Among other adverts, and there are thousands, we saw this one. Someone, please tell Louis Vuitton that there are millions of gorgeous Japanese girls here, you wouldn’t have to look too far to find one for your billboards.
Then we turned a corner.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Park has a long history, and is very popular both with locals and with visitors.
We saw some interesting animals, 0-, 2-, 6- and 8-legged.
Finding our way around was easy. The map we picked up included coordinates where any two or more paths met. These coordinates matched the descriptions on the posts at the relevant junctions. So easy and such a contrast to the bright, colourful maps you get at UK attractions which are useless for actual navigation purposes!
I think because we’ve been through Autumn once already, the trees appeared, to us, to be ridiculously lush with leaves. The flowers were gorgeous too.
The roses in the rose garden were blooming lovely and some, such as the New Zealand rose, were strongly aromatic.
[click here to smell the roses]
Yes, the park was very photogenic. And when it was time to wander back to the real city, it felt slightly anticlimactic.
Time for a snack.
We visited the Tokyo Municipal Government Buildings where, from the 45th floor, you can see the whole city. Well, nearly all.
I was hoping to see our hotel, and in particular, Godzilla, but unfortunately, we couldn’t see anything in that direction without paying to eat or drink something in the (expensive) restaurant.
One of the sights we want to see here is, of course, Mount Fuji. And today presented the first opportunity.
There’ll be more chances later on, of course.
On the way out, we stumbled across an exhibition about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. We thought we might come and watch, but we’ll have to decide nearer the time: it’s quite expensive.
At the top of the tower, I used one of the ubiquitous vending machines for the first time. I tried the Boss Coffee in a can.
We walked back towards our accommodation and passed this rather moving appeal for peace.
We wanted to see the Hanazono Shrine. Without realising it, we’d walked right by it yesterday, but it’s really well hidden, which is a shame for such a beautiful building.
In total contrast with this elegant structure, here is something really unusual: graffiti.
Back at the hotel, we had a rest. Liesel had a bath and I went out for another walk, to buy some apples (XXL only) and to confirm where we’re supposed to be early tomorrow morning.
In the process, I noticed how fast sunset is. I went into a shop during daylight, came out and it was twilight.
For dinner, we went to Solah Spices Tokyo where I had 16 vegetable curry and Liesel had aloo gobi. Typical Japanese fare. But, it was located conveniently close to the hotel! And, it was very nice food: very nice, very tasty.
If you’re not interested in today’s toilet-based section, please scroll down to the picture of a little boy standing on a dolphin.
I was suprised and delighted by the number of toilets we saw in the park this morning. And I saw one of the legendary Japanese toilets, which are at floor level, so you squat, do what you need to do, then try to stand up afterwards. I imagine you need strong thigh muscles, but at least there’s a rail to help. I will give it a go, sometime, should the need arise.
Most of the public conveniences I’ve used have no hand towels nor hot air dryers, so I come out shaking my hands dry. It seems most people carry hankerchiefs with them to dry their hands.
The toilet seat in our hotel room is heated. The first couple of times, I just thought the plastic seat retained the warmth of the previous buttocks really efficiently. But no: it’s heated. The control panel on the wall is not as complicated as Asa and Gideon’s X-Box controllers, but very nearly so. The first night when I had my surprise bidet moment? I now realise it was because I’d pressed the wrong button by mistake: I totally missed the large ‘flush’ button.
Today’s general observation: we thought many more people would be smoking here in Tokyo. There are a few smokers, and we’ve smelt them inside a large games arcade but on the whole, we haven’t felt the need to wear surgical masks at all.