We left our house at 10:15am yesterday. B went for a run before we left and also kindly went to buy some coffees for us. We went to meet some of B’s family in downtown Tokyo for brunch. They suggested meeting at the Imperial Hotel. We had a dispute with the younger members of our foursome about the quickest route there and so we agreed to separate. Of course experience always trumps age – if only they would learn.
D & M went off and found their own place and B & I met up with his family (who live in Manila and had come to watch the rugby for the weekend). There was a food market over the road from the hotel and so we went there and had steak and beer for brunch! We then walked to the Imperial Palace. While you cannot get in (because the Emperor lives there), you can walk around the East garden. We met back up with the other two in the garden. We had already goodbye to B’s family at that point as they were going to watch a game at the Yokohama stadium and it was the early afternoon game. B & I needed some more food and a coffee so we found a Starbucks.
We stumbled onto a Shinto Shrine (same road as the Starbucks). It was called Yasukuni Jinja and it drives away evil spirits. I could think of few that I would like gone (like the losing spirit of the Springboks!) but pretty sure these structures aren’t going to do it. Shinto’s believe humans are basically good (hard to believe that with everything going on in the world today) and that all you need to do is follow a ritual of purification, prayers and offerings to drive away evil spirits. I really wish it was that easy. It was interesting to see people perform the rituals though (including bowing every time you pass a gate).
We then decided to go and see the Tokyo Tower which is a replica (sort of) of the Eiffel Tower (they say ‘inspired by’). It is painted red & white apparently to meet safety standards for planes to see it. On route there we stumbled onto a Hindu temple. There was a lot of incense burning taking place and some interesting statues which are the patrons of children and spirits of still born children or children dying at a young age.
We finally headed to the old fish market in Tokyo to go to Sushizanmai which is apparently one of the top sushi places to eat at in Tokyo. They actually have a chain of restaurants but I was recommended to go to the one in Tsukiji which is where the old fish market was. The place is open 24 hours a day and there is usually a queue to get in. It is multiple floors. After a short while we got a table and then had to figure out how to order the sushi. The staff were friendly and helpful we managed to place an order. Wasabi comes built into the sushi as it is not correct to mix the wasabi into the soy sauce. I am not a big fan of anything hot but this was actually fine except the odd piece which cleared the sinuses. The sushi was very good and very different from what we experience at home (dare I say in a different league). We were also recommended to have Hakkaisan Sake with our sushi (which we also did). It was very good too.
It was actually only around 6pm at this point when we headed back to our AirBnB. We were pretty tired though we very sore legs and feet. 22500 steps for me by the time we got back (B was over 30000 with his run and trip to get coffee). We did make it back just before it started to rain much harder. There is actually a Typhoon off the coast of Japan at the moment (Typhoon Tapah) and it is pushing rain into the island. They are predicting more rain for today and strong winds and large waves. It seems though the Typhoon will miss Tokyo and rather hit land much further north around Sapporo (don’t worry we’re heading south after Tokyo so we should be perfectly safe).
Until tomorrow …
P, B (because the elders do know better), M & D