It was a bright sunny Sunday morning as I knew it would be since I was carrying my umbrella. But that’s OK because it also doubles as a fine walking stick.
Being in Japan, I realized it was highly unlikely that I would be finding a church to attend, but Mat supplied an event to touch on my spiritual needs when we visited Meiji Shrine.
The place was pretty much the same as the last time we visited, but there was a bit of excitement as we got to witness not one, but two, weddings that were taking place at the shrine that Monday. It was a pair of moving ceremonies and I was glad to be part of it.
Then we went to Harajuku which I ranked as the blah moment of the trip. Harajuku is known for its underground culture and for shopping. I freely admit that shopping bores me to tears. When I do it, it is a surgical strike as I know exactly what I want and I get it. I don’t have much desire for knick-knacks or souvenirs and books are out in Japan since I can’t read the language. So I spent three hours staying in the shade while other members of the party went on a shopping spree.
On the other hand, Harajuku is also noted for its crepes and Dave paid his “fee” for my booking all the travel for us. Unfortunately, he accidentally ordered the wrong crepes as I wanted cinnamon apple and gelato and got bananas and cream. In his defense, he did order the number listed by my crepes, but it was a popularity list and not the number for the crepes I wanted. I also only ended up eating half of it as it slipped out of my hand while I was tearing the paper. Fiddlesticks.
From there we went to Mat’s favorite ramen restaurant, Tonkatsu Ramen, which I had eaten at during my last visit to Japan. The ramen was as good as ever, even though the restaurant goofed by giving me a mild broth instead of the hot and spicy one I wanted. Well, them are the perils of dealing with a language barrier when ordering food.
After filling our stomachs, Mat led us to his favorite shrine in Akasa. It was still as peaceful as the last time and we got to watch the monks build a shrine for a festival.
We enjoyed a brief stay before heading off to Akihibara where more shopping was done before we closed the evening at Lion Ginza, a bar and restaurant where we took time to get to know each other better over drinks and food.
Another exhausting day had ended, but the next day was to be filled with frustrations.
When it rains, it pours. Or did I say that once already?
Believe me, the rain that met us that Monday morning blew every other rainfall that we’d experienced out of the water (no pun intended). Rain fell in sheets and would let up only for a few minutes before intensifying again.
This was meant to be a day for us to rest and recuperate as we were set to tackle Mt Fuji on Tuesday. Then Mat hit us with the bad news. We would be forced to pull the plug on the climb up Mt Fuji.
The horrible rain we were suffering through was supposed to continue for the next two days which would have made a climb miserable and difficult (well, more difficult at any rate). Even worse, the winds were gusting so much that those who oversee the climbs were not allowing people to climb on Monday and Tuesday was set to be a repeat of Monday’s weather. Sigh.
The good news is that we will be going to Mt Fuji’s 5th station to look around, eat lunch, and view the mountain, but it’s disappointing to lose out on what was to be the centerpiece of the trip. On the other hand, I have gotten very fit training for the climb.
The rain finally let up enough around noon for us to leave the apartment and do something as we were going stir crazy. We attempted to try an escape room in Akasaka which claims to be open nearly every day. Monday was apparently not one of those days as the place was shut tight. I suspect they are only open when people actually arrange for the tickets as neither the business nor its Facebook page list operating hours.
We hiked another 15 minutes to the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in Europe and Asia. We stopped for a quick lunch at McDonald’s where I had a Sudden Victory Chicken sandwich and it was delish. We ended up going up to the observation desk even though the low clouds made it impossible to see very far. But I did have a small dish of ice cream for dessert and there were a few new exhibits to look at.
From the Skytree we returned to Shinjuku to catch Shin (New) Godzilla or Godzilla: Resurgence (as it will be known in America) at Toho Cinemas. I don’t normally watch movies on vacation, but watching a Godzilla film in Japan should be a requirement. And you don’t need to understand the language to enjoy a Godzilla flick. Godzilla shows up and chaos reigns. It’s a formula that’s worked for 31 films.
We hit the arcades for a brief spell after the movie before returning to the apartment to pack up our stuff for the next phase of our journey.