View of the sun set from Miyajima island.
The morning in Nagano was a cold and rainy one. Not to be discouraged by the bad weather, I packed up my things and checked out of the hotel. I had spotted a Mister Donut the night before right near the station and even though I was sick of donuts, I was only 50 points away from getting myself a souvenir mug. Making my way to the donut shop, I made a quick stop by the Gust building. It was open this morning and I was tempted to go inside and see if I might be able to check out the studio. However, I had to be back in Tokyo and my gut feeling was that they would likely kick me out if I could even get access to their floor.
After getting some coffee and donuts to go I was back at the train station. This time I would be taking the bullet train back to Tokyo, so it was only 1.5 hours. It was still a nice view heading back to Tokyo, but the bullet train took a more direct route. On the train, I was texting TIm to find out what was going on today. Since it was also raining in Tokyo, he was headed to Ikebukuro's Sunshine City to do some shopping. After I got to the central Tokyo station, transferred to a local JR train, and stashed my luggage in a locker at the Ikebukuro station, I set off for Sunshine City to meet up with Tim and Pat. Ikebukuro is a really busy area of Tokyo. It's mostly all shops and arcades, but there are a couple of universities in the area, too. Sunshine City was okay. Most of the shops there are for women's fashion, but we found a couple of cool stores and ended up buying some clothes.
Once we had seen all there was to see at Sunshine City we ventured back into the rain to check out a couple of anime shops, including an Animate location that had 8 floors. An interesting thing about Ikebukuro is that there is a street that houses shops devoted entirely to anime and comics for a female audience. So, the Animate store I went into was full of young women. It was kind of scary to see so many fangirls all gathering in once place. Exploring the 8 floors of the Animate tired me out, so we decided to head back to the hostel in which we stayed when we first arrived in Tokyo. Patrick wanted to check out some other shops, so he said he'd meet us there. TIm and I went back to the station and ended up getting seperated. Once I was on a train, I got off at Shinjuku and realized it was the wrong stop. After trying to find my way to the right train in Shinjuku I found a map, but it was entirely in Japanese. Asking the information booth which train took me to Iidabashi only gave me directions to the local Tokyo metro, not the JR line. Finally, I found a JR worker who gave me directions to the right train. This must have taken about an hour, but I finally got back to the hostel and then Tim took us to this awesome ramen place for dinner.
All in all, it was an exhausting day. I was planning on turning in pretty early, but I didn't get to sleep until after 11pm since I ended up talking with a gentleman from Holland about Hiroshima and Japan in general. We were heading off to the Ghibli Museum the next morning. It's going to be an exciting day!