Yoyogi Park and the final day…


(Let me apologize for the huge gap in time between my last post and now.) 

Sunday morning was here (the final day of my trip) and I woke up finding it very difficult to get out of bed. The alarm went off at 9am, and I forced myself to stay awake by turning on the TV. After a half hour, I finally dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and did the last bit of packing.

Then it was time to eat some breakfast. I brewed some coffee, via the instant drip coffee provided in the room, and ate the last of the yogurt with Frosties.  And as I sat eating, I could see a ceremony (or performance involving drums) taking place on the street far below. I wish I had known about it, I would have tried to get up earlier to see it. Oh well.

With breakfast eaten, it was time to call home but it was now 10:50am and I had to checkout by 11am. So instead, I took a few last pictures of the room, bid it farewell and hurried to the elevators.

I checked out, left my luggage with the bellhop and found a quiet spot in the hotel lobby to call home. As we talked I decided that it was time to sample the Yamazaki brand Hot Cake Sand or ホットケーキサンド, that I had been carrying around since my visit to Koyasan six days earlier. Why I hadn’t eaten it yet I couldn’t really say.


I opened it up with great anticipation! What great deliciousness lay inside- butter and syrupy goodness perhaps? In fact…no, it was pretty terrible, no deliciousness at all. Maybe because it was three days a past it’s suggested freshness date? I doubt that, I think it would have been just as bad if I had eaten the day I bought it.

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Shinjuku: Kabukicho and Piss Alley


I arrived at Shinjuku Station tired, but in no way ready to go back to my hotel. I exited  the station and decided to head towards the Kabukicho area, just to the north of station, with the hope of finding something interesting.

Emerging from the station, I found myself on Shinjuku-dori (Shinjuku Street) facing the local landmark, Studio Alta. (Studio Alta is mostly know for the massive TV screen that adorns the front of the building. But it’s also a shopping center with a TV station located on the top floor. I’ve never actually gone inside Studio Alta in all the times I’ve been in Shinjuku, not sure why. Next time I suppose.)

After a short wait for the light to change at the crosswalk, I made my way further north, walking through the small streets and alleys packed with restaurants and arcades until I reached Yasukuni-dori where, on the opposite side of the street, resided the famed Kabukicho area.  And marking the entrance to it, was the familiar (to me) big, red illuminated gate.


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Morning had arrived and I was dragging a bit waking up. I was definitely missing the first few days after arriving in Japan, where I could easily wake up at 6am and go all day. I was officially on Japan time just as my trip was wrapping up- perfect.

I got up and did my normal routine- ate my yogurt with Frosties, had some coffee, showered, gathered my gear then called home. While I was Facetime’ing with home, I began to notice balloons floating up past my window on the 26th floor. It was amusing to watch them float higher and higher, up past the top of the Tokyo Government Building (and its’ 48 floors) and then off into the far distant blue. Curious as to where the balloons came from, I peered out my window down to the street far below and saw some sort of celebration coming to an end. To mark the end of it, they released the balloons. Definitely a fun sight the to start the day with.

Continue reading “Ameya-yokocho”