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Published: November 14th 2019
Day 2 and 3 in Tokyo have started the same way: in our activewear (see title/link above) and running around the Imperial Palace. It’s one of the most popular running routes in Tokyo and it’s not hard to see why; the moat, complete with pelicans and swans, and the perfectly manicured palace gardens are on one side and the sprawling metropolis of the city on the other. The etiquette is that runners must travel anti-clockwise around the palace, keeping it on your left hand side and staying tucked into the left side of the path, to prevent collisions and allow other runners to overtake - yet another example of Japanese thoughtfulness and good manners. It’s a 5km route with markers with cherry blossom motifs set into the tree-lined pathway at ever 100m, and it’s just spectacular. I’m not really one for running, but this really does make it worth the effort. Apparently sometimes the Crown Prince can be seen running the route, but we didn’t see him (although to be fair I wouldn’t recognize him anyway).
The rest of our days we spent eating, wandering, and eating some more. The food is delicious, even just that from
the 7-11 supermarkets where we have discovered these amazing triangular seaweed-wrapped rice snacks, but it is all so salty that I have a constant raging thirst and must be consuming at least 6 liters of liquid per day (although this includes the broth in my bowls of soup and ramen - which is also super salty, so the vicious cycle continues).
Another highlight was our 2 hour kayaking trip at sunset to see the Skytower turn on its lights. We were in a tandem kayak and luckily Charlie was at the front so I could do a lot of resting without him being too aware. Kayaking (or drifting whilst holding the paddle) along the rivers and under the railway bridges was just incredible.
For dinner both nights we have been to a ramen restaurant called Ichiran in Shibuya which is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. On arriving and queueing in the restaurant you enter your order by pushing buttons on a machine which prints tickets for the items you select - you choose ramen, which is the basic broth and noodles, and then add egg, barbecued pork, wood mushrooms, spring onions, seaweed, vinegar... the list goes on. Then
Pelican, garden, water, tranquility, high rise building. Tokyo in a nutshell.
you tick off the characteristics of the broth you’d like on a piece of paper - richness, spice level, extra garlic, texture of noodles- and take it and your tickets to a free seat in a booth. Pressing a button summons a member of staff who appears on the other side of the cut out windows of the booth, which are big enough to be able to see from their shoulders to their waist so you never see their face. They take the paperwork and bring you your order as it becomes ready, and we sit there and hope that what they’re saying to us doesn’t require a reply other than the odd, poorly pronounced “arigatou”. The second night Charlie decided to go for extra garlic (somehow forgetting that it’s already pretty garlicky), which turned out to be at least 2 large cloves of grated raw garlic that added straight to his bowl. He was so stinky that no one would stand near us on the subway home.
Tokyo is mind-blowing and I feel that we have only just scratched the surface, but alas we must press on, and I’m excited to get onto the next step of our
adventure. Today we head off to Hakone, a more rural area in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and overlooking Mount Fuji. Charlie hopes that it’s busy enough on the train that no one can pinpoint that the intense second-hand garlic stink is coming from him. I hope that, if I have to suffer it, it at least gets us some good seats!
Tot: 1.131s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 6; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0325s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb