Friday, April 9, 2010

Japan Day 2

Since we didn't really sleep on the plane and had been awake for nearly 24 hours, we turned in pretty early. I'm not too sure exactly what time it was, but I estimate that I was in bed by 9:30. Passed out by 9:35. This was fortunate, though, since it gave us an early start to day two of our journey.

I must have been awake and up by 6am. I spent a good ten minutes taking in the morning view of the city beneath me. In every direction, as far as the eye could see, nothing but buildings. Simply amazing. Once Tim and Patrick were awake, we decided to strike out in search of breakfast. Amazingly enough, there was a Denny's just down the road from the hostel. Now, this wasn't like any regular Denny's. Yes, the decor was similar and there were probably a few of the same items on the menu, but it was very different. In some ways more delicious, in other ways not so much. The coffee was really good, but had an interesting taste.

Anyway, after having some breakfast we headed back to the hostel to chill out for a bit. I uploaded some photos and published my experiences of Day 1. Tim and Pat used the downtime to get caught up on Facebook and other networking sites. After some relaxing, we journeyed out into the city once again to get some rental phones. SoftBank Japan has a nice rental program for those staying in the country who need the convenience of a mobile phone, but don't need the frustration of a contract. We located a SoftBank near by only to discover that we had to go to a different location to obtain a rental phone. Only three in our area did rentals, one of which was in Shibuya. Since it wasn't too far from us in Shinjuku, we decided to go there. The only problem was that we needed our passports to get the phones and I, like the idiot I can be, left mine in the locker in our room. This wouldn't have been an issue if the hostel weren't closed between 10am and 3pm for cleaning.

So, with little else to do we decided to take a walk and grab some lunch. We walked along the river from Iibayashi station and took some great pics of the cherry blossoms lining the river bank. We then began looking for a good and cheap place to eat. After a good amount of walking we were rewarded with a nice and inexpensive noodle place. I had an small order of curried rice with a helping of soba noodles. It was delicious. Patrick, unfortunately, made a mistake in his choice and ended up with an udon dish he didn't much care for.

After lunch we began a long walk around the area with no particular destination in mind. We must have walked for a couple of hours seeing all sorts of interesting buildings and sights. Of course, there were also just normal things like high school students enjoying the lunch break, construction workers guiding traffic, and all sorts of people enjoying the nice weather. We also made a stop at Book Off where I picked up 'Little Busters' and 'Happy Bivouac' by The Pillows, a couple of albums that I can't get in Canada. There were some other albums I was looking for, but they unfortunately weren't in stock.

Once we were able to get back into our room, we grabbed my passport and headed off towards Shibuya. After going to the wrong SoftBank location near the central exit of Shibuya station, we were told to go to one near the 109 building. Unfortunately, after the incredibly long wait at SoftBank, we didn't have time to go into 109 today. Honestly, all said and done, we were in SoftBank for 2 hours waiting and purchasing our phones. Apparently, we were under the wrong impression about the rentals. It was cheaper to buy a phone and a pre-paid card, so that's what we did. It took some time, but we now have phones for when we get split up or need to contact anyone else in Japan.

We had planned to go to Shinjuku-gyouen (Shinjuku central park) to take in some more cherry blossoms, but it was already dark by the time we left SoftBank. So, we went back for Denny's to grab some dinner. It was an interesting mix of American and Japanese food on the dinner menu. We ended up sitting in the smoking section which wasn't great, but it reminded me of when I was a kid and places in Canada still had smoking sections.

And that about concludes day two. There are probably minor details I'm forgetting or those things I've intentionally neglected to mention, but today seems like it went on forever. Tomorrow we're off to Nagano where we'll hopefully get to see more cherry blossoms and stay at a place that has 9am icre cream making parties. I kid you not.

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