I am loving Montréal. I fall for it more heavily every day. But on my way here I had a brief encounter with another city and I developed a full-blown crush on it. Tokyo, I think I love you!
I have been wanting to go to Japan for years. Flights from Cairns to Tokyo were always so tantalisingly cheap, but for reasons too boring to explain it was too difficult to go before I had a mortgage, and once I had a house to pay off on a single income, well, international travel was at first too much of a luxury, and then purely a necessity in order to see Charles.
When it came time to book a one way ticket to Canada, I discovered the horrible truth that one way tickets are most certainly not roughly half the price of a return ticket! So I put those cheap Jetstar Cairns/Japan flights to good use and booked my flight with a 44-hour stopover in Tokyo. Boy, oh, boy, am I glad I did!
|Harajuku Station at 9:20ish am. Where did 400,000 people just go?|
I had 'dinner and a show' at Hiroki in Shimokitazawa, which with its traditional wood fit out and two bickering chefs was everything I had hoped for from my lunch. The layered okonomiyaki was superb washed down with a beer after an already solid morning of tramping around the city looking at vintage shops and awesome stationery. It was so huge that when I collapsed from exhaustion on my hotel bed at only 8:30pm, I still did not feel the need to eat anything.
|Hydrangeas are native to Japan. I did not know that!|
The next day was my birthday, and while I had hoped to get to the Tsukiji markets at 4:30am to be let in to the tuna auctions, I had also realised my hotel supers (in the perfectly kitsch Hotel Hoshikaikan) did not have enough English to book me a cab when I wanted one. The Tokyo subway doesn't start running until around 5am, but the highly contested battle for entry to the market is done and dusted by then, and you know what? It all just got too hard after weeks of packing and cleaning and tidying up loose ends and all the rest. I now have an excellent reason to go back!
|On my next swing past, just over an hour later, this was completely butchered up into steaks and sashimi slabs.|
|Edamame. I heart you!|
Soon I was off, however. Whisked away by the Narita Express for my flight to Vancouver and my new life in Canada. I'll be back though, Tokyo. Mark my words! I love your food, I love your busyness, I love your hybrid aesthetic of tradition and cutting edge, I love your vibe, I love your ceramics. I LOVE your ceramics! Two nights were nowhere near enough!
|Walk all day. Plant face here.|