torrie's travels

WHERE WILL I GO NEXT?

First Day in Tokyo September 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 12:20 pm

So before coming here I heard horror stories about the jet lag. That you wake up at 3am and cant sleep more. IF you know me, you know that was not likely the case. I went to bed at 10pm and woke up at 8:45am. Yowzers. We got ready and went in search of Starbucks. We quickly realized that Tokyo is not easy to navigate, even with a pocket wifi giving us maps on our phones.   We could not tell directions or tell if we were going the right way. So frustrating.

Eventually we located the Starbucks and all was well. We ended up sitting next to an American couple and we chatted with them for a bit. They had some good tips and suggestions, as they were leaving today, so they had been here. We had planned to do several other things today, thinking that the baseball game was tonight, but thankfully I checked the email and the game was at 2pm. So instead of trying to navigate to the fish market, we decided to get ready for the game and go to the Tokyo Dome early. Loren had seen a cool park near it, so we decided to kill time that way.

The park is called Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens and we later learned that it was ranked #3 on the sights to see in Tokyo. It was a beautiful garden, you could hardly tell that you were right near roads and an urban environment—except for the loud music coming from the Dome. We walked around pretty much the whole garden and saw enormous fish (unsure what kind), cute turtles, a heron or crane, and lots of flora and fauna.

Then we made our way back to the Dome and had to walk around almost the entire thing to get to the kiosk to print our tickets. There were SO many people, it was crazy. Once inside we were struck by the enormity of the place. It just seemed so much larger than the Metrodome. And it was LOUD. The fans did not stop chanting/singing the entire time. Literally, the entire time. I noticed during one half-inning break that there was silence.

It was interesting to watch how they play the game and how they cheer. The fans for the away team appeared to be relegated to a specific section, which was interesting. They cheered the entire time their team was up!   There was one instance that has me befuddled. Top of the 1st, runner on first, batter hits a grounder foul. They ended up giving the batter first base and gave the home team an Error. The ump actually got on the microphone and made an announcement, but, unfortunately, I don’t speak Japanese. I have no idea why he was awarded first base!

We left after the bottom of the 7th because I was exhausted and it had been three hours—it was a slow moving game. There was an American couple sitting next to us (wearing their SF Giants gear…boo) and they left at the same time saying the jet lag was hitting them, too. We came back to the hotel and slept from 6-8. I felt like I could keep sleeping, but we got up and got ready to go out.

We went to Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection in the world. When the signals turn for pedestrians, it’s essentially a free-for-all. There are crosswalks, but everyone walks all over. It also has a Times Square kind of vibe. We took lots of pictures here (unfortunately, I hated most of mine, so I was less enthusiastic) and took in the atmosphere. Then we met my friend Helkei who lives here and went to a Tower hotel for a drink at their rooftop bar. Helkei had to leave almost right away because she learned that the last train home was soon. She missed it. Whoops. So she ended up getting to spend more time with us and spend the night!

So we went back to our neighborhood (Ginza) and tried to find an open bar/restaurant, but most things close quite early here. We met a Japanese man on the street, who walked us several blocks to a place that was open. He then went back the way we came to where he was going originally. Wow, what a nice guy! He wasn’t even going that direction, but he walked us there anyway!

I haven’t been very hungry, so I still haven’t had Japanese food yet. At Starbucks I had a scone with my Chai and I had had a tablespoon of peanut butter before we left in the morning. I had some almonds at 6pm before my nap and a little more peanut butter before we went out tonight. And I’m just not hungry. We’ll see how tomorrow goes! It’s supposed to be rainy for much of tomorrow. Not looking forward to that, but oh well. It’s super humid here, so it was really sticky today. Well, it’s almost 2:30am, so it’s time for bed!

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