My Asia Adventure: Second Day (Tokyo Station)

BEST WESTERN Yokohama_Breakfast RoomMy friend told me that breakfast was included in the room price. I did not remember this option when I booked the hotel, but agreed to meet at the dining hall anyway. I was up quite early and was still in a comatose state when I collected some items and started eating. It was not until that I saw people coming in and dropping off their meal tickets in the box that it dawned on me that I should go get one too. I thought they had forgotten to give me one yesterday when I checked in. The receptionist, the same man I talked to the night before about my “keycard” issue, fumbled when I spoke again to him in English and simply gave me the meal ticket. At 1800 yen, the fusion-style breakfast buffet included 和食 (washoku/traditional) style items such as 味噌汁 (misoshiru/miso soup) 梅干 (umeboshi/pickled plum) and 納豆 (natto) as well as Western-style items such as salad, chicken nuggets (@.@), omelet, and baked goods. There was also Japanese-style curry, which was warmed in a saucepan with the rice in the cooker on the side. The kitchen staff was very attentive and was quick to refill items that were finished. My friend found the squared dishes unique, and I explained that it was to compartmentalize the dishes as well as to control the ration. Despite the variety and the relatively good flavors, being students, my friend and I still had to grumble about the price. Lol, it was not until after I left the hotel that I realized they never charged me for the breakfast ticket and that when I prepaid the hotel, I did choose the non-breakfast option (the cheapest one) 😉 Oopsie~

This is taken from the hotel’s website, but does resemble the breakfast I had that day

We left for Tokyo station immediately after breakfast. On our way to the museum, I saw a sign for a five-star hotel and dragged my friend to a small detour to visit its washroom because, lol, I just had to wash my hands for sanitary purposes. What awaits us on the top of the floor was a grand view of the city. Oh, and we thoroughly enjoyed the exquisite washroom facilities. It was so luxurious that even the locals took pictures~20141217_130854On our way, we also stumbled upon the beautiful 皇居東御苑 (koukyo higashi gyoen/East Garden of the Imperial Palace). The wind was very strong outside the walls, but inside it was very peaceful and the scenery was breathtaking 🙂20141217_13514420141217_13531720141217_13551720141217_141243When we found a vending machine at one of the rest stops, I introduced my friend to the warm canned drinks~

20141217_142518On top of the 天守閣 (tenshukaku/main keep), I got my friend to take a picture of me standing right at the edge while holding my right arm straight out. I struck the pose thinking the Star Trek line, “to go where no man has gone before” but my friend just thought I looked like a Nazi leader… O.o Anyway, while we were coming down I met an endearing toothless おじじ (ojiji/old man) who struck up small talks with me about the Tokyo Tower he could see from our current place. (On a side note: Guess I do seem rather friendly to seniors, as I found that in all of my travels and even in a group, old people would gravitate towards me specifically. I wonder if it is because I look so non-threatening when I am in my student attire…@.@)

20141217_143120We arrived at the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art and opted for the Momat Collection. Outside in the forecourt was a statue of a woman in contorted form. Because of the sun, I could not see the woman’s outline clearly at first and had thought it was a grotesque monster. When I took off my visor, I got shy upon seeing her in all of her open glory //>.<//

20141217_143917Taking pictures of the art was prohibited, but thankfully some of the art could be found online. One of my favorites were the Kannon Bodhisattva Riding the Dragon. It was simply grand in every way~ Growing up, I was familiar with the stories of 觀音(Guan Yin/Kannon Bodhisattva) and was taught to worship her until I converted (somewhat) to Christianity. In East-Asian Buddhist cultures, especially in China and Taiwan, she is one of the most popular deities and is known as the goddess of mercy. Stories of her infinite compassion inspired kindness and touched me when I was a child. So, being the fan that I was/still am, I lingered to stare at admire this awesome piece for a long time.

騎龍観音sapphireI found a collection of moving art while looking for a water fountain. Apparently, they depict the eight majestic views of Japan (one of which was Hikone Castle, which I later visited inadvertently).

20141217_16140820141217_16162120141217_16160720141217_16155920141217_16155220141217_16154020141217_161615We also managed to fit in our schedule the Tokyo Crafts Gallery and visited the small collection of contemporary crafts before the night fell.

48416795The darkness of the night welcomed us after we stepped out of the gallery and headed toward Tokyo Tower. My friend and I saw small Buddha statues in the shrine in front of the tower and started taking pictures. It was very dark and rather creepy, but when the light from the flash hit the statues I realized to my horror that there were names on them, meaning that they were designated vehicles of worship! I stopped my friend from taking pictures immediately out of respect, but still >.<;

20141217_200802
Cone Babies~!

20141217_200046 20141217_20322220141217_20413420141217_20365020141217_203417After soaking in the views of the city, we went down to Club333 and were in time to see a local a cappella group perform. I wish I could upload the video…

We finished the night at a small restaurant that specializes in 豚カツ (tonkatsu/deep fried pork cutlets) in an underground food court. After seeing me explaining the menu item one by one to my friend, the owner/waitress offered an English menu. It was not as detailed as the Japanese menu, so I still had to explain the items. My friend ordered a 白子 (shirasu/baby anchovy) salad and a  (kiku/surf-and-turf) dinner set with sashimi and tonkatsu. I, of course, ordered the 黒豚 (kurobuta/black pork) dinner set that sources its meat from Kagoshima. Even my friend had to agree that it was the right choice, as it was much more succulent than the regular pork used in the Kiku dinner set Yum~ ^o^

20141217_18570520141217_190047We ended the night with a sore feet and legs but happy spirits and satisfied tummies~

P.S. Oh, I almost forgot that we bought Tokyo Bananas at the souvenirs/gift-shop area. Mmm, I can make them myself 😉

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