We learned something about Japan on Thursday morning. Something important, but something that no one happened to mention to us in preparation for our trip.
Sunrise is around 4:30am.
Since we’d crashed out at 7pm local time, and the sun beamed in through the shears at 4:30am, we ended up being wide awake at 5am after a long and healthy ten hours of sleep. Since the hotel restaurant downstairs didn’t open until 7am, we decided to take a walk around the block, to familiarize ourselves with the new neighborhood.
I got to compare the mental image of my Google Maps exploration of our new ‘hood with the reality of where everything was and how to get there. We walked past the Tokyo Tower, past the Tokyo Prince Park Tower Hotel, and past Shiba Koen, where a group of adults appeared to be doing some early-morning Tai Chi (or some similar Japanese internal martial art). It was peaceful and smelled like spring.
Then it started raining.
We hoofed it back to the hotel (which, luckily, wasn’t far), went up to our room and dried off, then went down to breakfast at one of the hotel restaurants.
The restaurant cashier didn’t speak as much English as the front desk staff had, and we had a little communication problem as we came in to breakfast. I got to use the first of many useful Japanese words and phrases: Wakarimasen, meaning (in this context) “I don’t understand.” Eventually he simply told us, in English, “two people,” and the price for each of us, which was roughly 2000 yen apiece (a little less than US$20). Yep, the hotel breakfast buffet was a little pricey. In retrospect, we figured out that he was asking us our room number, so we could charge the meal to our room.
Breakfast was good, if expensive, and we had a fantastic view of the private hotel gardens. There was rice, miso soup, tamago (sweet omelettes), some sort of roe, various fish, some sort of stew, and lots of other good food that we didn’t have the balls to ask what it was. 🙂
After breakfast, we paid the confused cashier, went back up to the room and gathered our things for the all-day bus tour…
…which I will blog about tomorrow. In the meantime, you can view the flickr photos of Day 2, if you want some spoilers.