1 June 2010

Day 15: One Last Day

Posted by Roland under: Travel .

Time for my last full day in Japan. These were always the hardest. Some of it being that I’m leaving Japan again, some of it being that my vacation is over, probably a lot of it is that I have to return to real life and all the problems that lie within it. I would wake up earlier than my alarm, of course a common occurence but a good one since I had to leave Tokyo and head south for Kamakura today to meet with Maiko. I would push out from the hotel a bit ahead of a schedule so I would kill some time by gift shopping in Tokyo before officially moving south. I would sleep most of the train ride although I would hear an announcement that the train was stopped for some reason, but I didn’t care enough to wake up since I was already ahead of schedule so I figured Japan was efficient enough to get me to Kamakura on time.

Once in Kamakura I did my best to look through the crowd for Maiko but gave up and just called her for which she quickly got a hold of me. We had decided on a plan to meet up and visit Kamakura quite awhile ago and while we didn’t finalize the plan until just today, I was very glad that she did take the time to make a walking route for us. The weather was a bit cloudy and cold but I decided to go with a polo and stand out as a tourist. Mainly because our route called for lots of walking so I decided I wanted to stay cool. We set out from the station very quickly upon meeting, walking down a busy shopping street to head out for one of the popular shrines in Kamakura. They had their shrine complexes down in Kamakura and of course there would be a Japanese wedding going on while we visited.

Afterwards we sat down for a quick snack of ice cream and Japanese sweets before pushing off for our next sight, the shrine to Benraiten, where one could wash their money in the water of the shrine in the hopes of blessing it so it would multiply rapidly. I threw my coins in a basket and did my best as I wouldn’t mind getting a bit more blessing in regards to my money situation. We left the caves and grabbed some lunch back at the shopping street. We went for a famous local dish, shirashi (I would call them baby fish) which luckily happened to be in situation during our time in Kamakura.

Once lunch was taken care of we got on a local train and headed a bit to the west to another part of Kamakura to first visit Hasedera, home to many impressive images of the Buddha. But the best was yet to come when we headed out a bit farther to the big outdoor image of the Buddha, quite an impressive sight. It was a freestanding outdoor Buddha, apparently not harmed too much by the elements. In fact there used to be a temple that surrounded it but apparently it disappeared over the years due to weather.

With impressive images of the Buddha in my mind, me and Maiko decided to head out from Kamakura (the cloudy weather limited a lot of our options, such as a hike) and go back to Tokyo to visit Harajuku. I had a gift in mind I wanted to get and while I decided to try and get it on Monday, it actually fit in better to visit today. Grabbing my gift, me and Maiko decided to slowly make our way to Ebisu by foot since we had a lot of time before meeting up for dinner, although our visit to Tower Records in Shibuya caused us to be late for our appointed time for meeting with Yuko and Taki-chan at Ebisu station.

Once all together we quickly regrouped however for a visit to a nearby izakaya that Maiko frequented for lunch when she worked. We decided on a few small dishes, but the place was famous for its pork, so pork made its way in every dish, such as raw pork (tastes like sashimi), ground pork and a pork shabu shabu with tonkotsu broth (which we then added ramen to later to make it into a semi tonkotsu ramen…that counts for the streak right?)

While I spent a good part of dinner lamenting the fact my dinner was over, Maiko also got to know Yuko and Taki-chan pretty well too, so I was happy that the meeting between two new parties went well. I was definitely sad about the fact my trip was almost over but very glad I had the chance to meet some really great people along the way and catch up with Yuko and Taki-chan.

After dinner we started to break away from each other, Yuko took the JR train back home, Maiko said goodbye to me and Taki at the entrance to the Tokyo Subway and Taki-chan eventually transferred off my train midway back to Asakusa. Now all alone I slowly made my way back to Asakusa, where I took a quick check of trains tomorrow to see when I need to head out for Narita. I had enough time to squeeze in a quick visit to Akihabara for last minute gift shopping…

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