Weekend Trip to Tokyo: Part One

On Thanksgiving Day, Titus and I reached  Tokyo at the early hour of 6:30.  We took the night bus from Akita Station to Tokyo Station–a 9 hour trip.  We arrived to early morning light, tall buildings, and a crowd of salary men making their way to work.  After several confusing minutes of trying to decipher the train map, we got our bearings and headed for K. and k.’s place at Toyo University.  We got there about an hour earlier than planned, but luckily our friends were already awake.  So for the first time since last May, the four of us finally met again!

After a quick trip to a local bakery, we settled in to talk and nap while k. went to class.  It was

Salary men in Akihabara

great to have a chance to compare our experiences at very different schools in Japan and just to see each other.  When k. got back from class, we had a small lunch and then caught a train to Akihabara.  Akihabara is known as the electric town of Tokyo–it’s where you can buy the newest electronics and find the best deals.  It’s also famous for manga and anime and basically nerd-culture.  Like every other part of Tokyo, shops were piled on top of shops.  Our first stop was a little cafe on a second floor that K. and k. had found a couple weeks earlier.  It was relatively cheap and the food was good.  Then we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering in and out of shops searching for figurines and souvenirs.

That night for our Thanksgiving dinner, we to a small bar/restaurant near our friends’ apartment and ate yaki-tori and yaki-niku (grilled chicken and grilled meat that are the Japanese version of kabobs).  The man who runs the bar has a perpetually irritated expression, and he quickly directed us to a small table away from the bar.  Despite that, he was very helpful when we were trying to decipher the menu (he pulled out a selection of meats to show us what each one was).  We ate chicken and shared a couple  beers until it was obvious that we had over-stayed our welcome (and possibly ordered too many rounds of chicken and onion).

As one last Thanksgiving celebration, we ended up at one of K. and k.’s friends’ room, where the international students at Toyo University had gotten together to cook their favourite holiday foods.  They still had some dessert left, and we sat with them and ate apple and pumpkin pie while we played games.

The next day was much quieter because both our friends had morning classes and k. started feeling sick from her flu shot. We met K. at one of the university’s cafeteria for a small tour and food (curry!), and then spent most of the day talking, exchanging stories, and resting.  We made one short excursion for groceries so k. could cook adobo for us and some other friends.  Two of their Japanese friends, Ryohei and Aki, came to eat with us.  It was a lot of fun to sit around and talk with them.

Every time we met K. and k.’s friends, they were very welcoming and happy to hang out with us.  It made the weekend even more fun.

Japanese word of the day: ryokou / りょこう  (ryo-koh)  noun: travel

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