No blog yesterday because we really didn’t do anything. We got up in Kyoto (slept in), got on the train to Tokyo, checked into the hotel, did some souvenir shopping, and had dinner. Then Loren went out with friends and I stayed in with some Smirnoff, M&Ms, and a good book!
Got up today and got ready to go to the Imperial Palace. I may have been more jazzed for this place if we had been able to hit it on our first go-round in Tokyo, but it was closed on Mondays (much like museums in Europe), so it had to wait until today. I was feeling both a lack of interest in any more sightseeing and in desperate need of alone time. So after an underwhelming tour of the gardens (a short tour, to be sure), Loren and I split up. I gave her the wifi and I went offline for the day. It was refreshing.
I stopped at Starbucks for a “Fruit Crush” (no idea if they have those at home, but it was delicious), then made my way to Maruzen, a bookstore Liz had said had stationery. I have heard all about the beautiful Japanese stationery, but besides postcards, I hadn’t really seen any. I found some I liked, so that was good!
Then I went to Ginza to Tiffany. I had waited to go to the store in Shinjuku, but the one I found had about 3 display cases. They said the big store was in Ginza. Bummer. I had known there was a Tiffany in the Mitsukoshi mall across the street from our hotel in Ginza when we first got to Tokyo, but I wanted to make my purchase in Shinjuku. So I went to Mitsukoshi and again was met with 3 display cases. I tried to asking someone who spoke almost no English if there was more to the store and someone who did speak English heard me. She said the bigger store was around the corner and down the block. Perfect! The people at Tiffany were awesome. They all noticed I was wearing Tiffany earrings and as I was having difficulty selecting something, a gentleman asked if he could clean my earrings as I browsed. YES PLEASE! I hadn’t cleaned these earrings since I bought them a year ago in Paris because the Galleria location charges an arm and a leg for cleaning. As I was taking them out, he noticed my ring and asked me to include it. I eventually decided on a pair of earrnings (the necklaces were all 16 inches, which is too short for me). The people were just wonderful and as I asked whether the cleaning should be added to my bill, they were all, noooooo. Like it was stupid to ask.
I then went to Shibuya to see the crossing during the day. It’s way different and much less crowded. I went into the Starbucks to see the view from up top. That’s when I remembered that I needed to purchase my Starbucks mug. They’re a different style and don’t have one that just says “Japan”, so I settled for “Tokyo.” I then went around several blocks looking for some tempura. No luck, so I ended up at McDonald’s. It was 2:30 and I hadn’t eaten, so I thought I should have something!
Made it back to my hotel and relaxed a little before Loren returned and Liz and Tove were ready to meet up. (They returned to Tokyo today.) We went to the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, which was where Lost in Translation was filmed. The bar at the top, the New York Bar, was amazing. The view was incredible. Way better than the Skytree (and even though the drinks are expensive, if you had one drink it was still cheaper!). It was a great start to the night and we even got to see Mt. Fuji from there. It was our first sighting.
After that we went to dinner at a good tempura place in Shinjuku. It was known as being one of the best in Tokyo. I had two prawns and rice. I tried some sake, but again, not a fan. Unless it’s mixed with something I don’t really like it. But I had about half. I also tried a scallop sashimi. No thanks. Liz had to finish it! It was a great dinner experience and our table was full and colorful!
Then we decided that none of us had yet done karaoke, which is a must in Japan. So we moved on to a karaoke place. The ones in Japan are great because you’re in your own room, so you don’t have to get on stage in front of a bunch of randos. We said we were going to stay for an hour. We started with a round of Zimas (because to paraphrase the saying, when in Japan…) and some Prince. Because why wouldn’t you start with Prince? As we got going we started having so. Much. Fun. We ended up staying for 3 hours! (And yes, three rounds of Zimas!) We did mostly a tour of the 80’s, but we threw in some 90’s and others for good measure. They kept calling us when our “half hour extension” was up and we kept saying, we’d like more time, thanks! Seriously, couldn’t have had a better last day/night in Japan!!