On our last day, our flight took off in the late afternoon, so we had the entire morning to fill. We had already made arrangements with the hotel to check out an hour late; at 12noon. We'd had to ask two different people, and they didn't really want to let us, but allowed it anyway. We also made arrangements to take the Airport Limousine Bus (the same one we took getting to Dizunee Randuruu) back to the airport ($75 for the two of us). The bus made pickups just about every hour, so we chose the 13:45 pickup.
We were both up super early again. Perhaps because we knew we didn't have a full day, but wanted to do a full day's worth of visiting, perhaps because we weren't ever really on Japan time. Either way, we were ready to head out the door by 7am. All the bags were packed and we had even stowed our travel clothes in our carry-on bags. We even had a quick breakfast of goodies we'd picked up at OMO Kinokuniya inside the Omote-sando eki last night: onigiri for G and inarizushi for T.
|Looks almost like something from the States right? I wonder if we could use the Citibank branches to get money if we had Citibank accounts in the States?|
|Monks (? maybe they were just city workers?) sweeping the sidewalks with Harry Potter style stick brooms.|
|We started to see lots of people in traditional Japanese dress.|
|The many torii leading up to the shrine.|
Here's the video. Remember, I was trying to be kind of stealthy...
At 9:30am, we were inside the Akasaka-mitsuke eki, waiting for our train to Shibuya. By the time we walked to our destination in Shibuya, Loft, it was 9:45am. We had seen a one floor version of Loft in Asakusa, (where we bought our first batch of stationery stuff) and were intrigued by the multi-level one in Shibuya. They didn't open until 10:00am, so we walked across the street to get some more breakfast at a little convenience store. More onigiri for both of us:
|I really liked this panda salt shaker...|
Again, I passed. But I did find a sale section (shelf. half shelf.) of bento supplies and bought a panda onigiri box and two sectioned, leak proof bento box.
We ran through the rest of the store, trying to soak up all of the Japanese awesomeness, including this bank of bubble machines in the "party goods" area where we bought our MojiMoji Bear game (see yesterday's set on Flickr for photos).
Our main goal in Harajuku was Fancy Pocket. The store where I'd been interviewed a couple days ago was said to be packed with teenage girls on the weekends. Packed it was.
We passed this interesting person, not sure what his deal was, but many people were photographing him:
We arrived back at the hoteru with plenty of time to check in for the Airport Limousine bus. The trip to the airport was like a drive-by recap of our trip because we were driving back out past Dizunee Randuruu and got to see the hoterus there and the castle also. At Narita Airport, I recognized the GIANT Star Alliance check in area from my last trip, when we were escaping a typhoon.
Bags checked, we headed for security and were glad to see that the Japanese do not require you to remove your shoes (neither of us was wearing socks; they were in our carry on bags, but not donned yet). If you are randomly selected for a quite thorough pat down (including inside waist/bra bands!), they provide you leather slippers to wear during the experience. Too bad we weren't picked.
When we checked in, the lady told us we could use the ANA First Class Lounge, so that's where we were headed. Not having had lunch, we were hoping for some lunch-type options. We were overjoyed to find not only a selection of sushi (which we hadn't had any of on the whole trip!), tea sandwiches, snacks and drinks but also a NOODLE BAR! You could just walk up and order one of six types of noodle soup and presto! less than five minutes later, you were presented with a steaming bowl of deliciousness. We tried everything. They even had little bento style sauce containers of shoyu (soy sauce) for the sushi. Some may have come home with us. Also a couple special soup spoons may have stowed away. We can't be responsible for runaway food items.
|Food area in ANA Lounge, Narita Airport, gate 42.|
|Sushi selection, tea sandwiches and some dehydrated fruits dipped in chocolate!|
Onto the plane... yay Executive First Class!
|What?! It's actually comfortable to lie down?!|
Our meals in First Class were decidedly worse than the ones we'd had in Coach. We did have the option of eating whenever we liked and a variety at that. But for dinner, we both had the Japanese meal which was full of the weirdest things we'd seen the entire trip. Every item seemed to be made of a different, very fishy kind fish...
|Rice, green beans, carrots, a mushroom and unknown other items made of fish?|
|Cheese plate before ice cream for dessert (neither of us had room for ice cream).|
In Canada, we encountered our first returning taste of America/Americans at customs. The officer was a typical "come on, come on, I do this every day, why don't you know what is going on?" type. Ah, we were missing Japan already.
Until next time, Nihon, kiyo tsukete!