I am well and truly back from my most recent trip to Tokyo. Unfortunately, that reality has sunk in. I had an incredible time and made the most of being immersed in what I consider such a beautiful country and culture. In this new blog series, I will share with you my travel journal. Several times a day, I would take the time to update my travel journal with notes and thoughts and experiences as they occurred throughout my day. The images I share in these blogs will relate directly to those experiences. When it came to taking photos, I just went with the flow and didn’t put too much pressure on myself. On to the travel journal.
Saturday 25 May 2019
The construction in Tokyo – especially what I have seen in Shibuya – is so intense. Enhancing Shibuya station – one of the busiest train stations in the world – is no mean feat. So many buildings, that were only beginning construction when I was last here 18 months ago, are now done and are magnificent skyscrapers. The area surrounding the station is a total construction zone. I noticed last night, around 11:30, that they started shutting roads and preparing for the night’s work. Hundreds of workers in uniforms and hard hats and vests that flashed lights came out of the dark to control traffic, pedestrians and construction vehicles alike. Sitting at my cafe window now, I can see them. They take such pride in the comings and goings of trucks. Pedestrians are held back with loud voices asking for their patience while a truck leaves. Everyone is safe. So much organisation and commitment to safety.
After a quick clean up of my room and a short power nap – thankful that I remembered to set the alarm – I am off to Ebisu. Or more importantly, the Yebisu Museum of Beer. I am taking a cab. It is not that far by train, but the brewery is not that close to a station. And my feet feel terrible. If the only choice was to walk to the station, take the train to Ebisu and then walk the distance to the brewery then at that moment I felt like I would rather not go at all. This time I packed super light with no bag. Just my X70 on its wrist strap and a spare battery in my pocket. It is how I work best. I had left later than I hoped, so I was not going to be able to go into the [photography museum in Ebisu. Next time.
The beer museum was terrific. It is quite a modern complex built in the original brewing grounds from what I could understand. It has an amazingly spacious interior with a deep, broad descending stairs. There are guided tours, but the accommodating lady at information said that they are not in English and I can take a self-tour all the same areas for free. I walked around the area designated form learning the history of the beer and the brewery. There was also a tasting area with a broad range of Yebisu beers available for taste. I decided to test some of the beers and purchased a taster set of three beers. There was a Premium Black, Komaku Premium and Yebisu Beer. The purest of them all. The taster set was accompanied by some pickled veggies.
On the same property is the Sapporo Beer Station. I believe that Sapporo owns Yebisu. Actually, Sapporo owns most beer companies the world over now. They are huge companies. The beer station is actually a German-style beer hall serving Sapporo and Yebisu beer along with a range of German-style beer hall food. Sausages and potatoes and the like. This place is packed with lots of large groups and families. Families are having big get together and events like birthdays. Turns out that German food is a favourite in Japan. Such a nice vibe. Such a nice beer!
That meal was awesome! I ordered what they called a meatloaf. It was, and it wasn’t. Closer to a ham steak than anything else. But incredibly tasty and not too fatty at all. It was served with a fried egg on top and a side of fries. I also ordered a side of potato salad as you can never have too much potato in a German beer hall. It was delicious along with a tall Sapporo. There is a grill set up in the middle of the room, and the guy cooking the sausages on it looks a lot like Bill Murray. The same disgruntled look he had during Lost in Translation!
What a meal. Filling and satisfying. Not entirely a traditional Japanese, but what choice did I have?. I took a taxi to get back to my Shibuya hotel. It was not far. The car was a brand new, state of the art, Japan Taxi designed and built by Toyota for the upcoming Olympics. They leave nothing to be desired. This is another example of the frantic energy in Tokyo with all the construction and rail works and changes taking place. They don’t muck around.
Back to my Shibuya hotel and a shower. Then down to the bar/pizza kitchen attached to the front of the hotel. Some beers first and then back to my room for rest time. Early night tonight watching some Japanese baseball and Sumo wrestling in my room. I have had an awesome day. Apart from my bloody feet. But with the odd taxi, I can manage most of what I wanted to achieve. Meeting Dean tomorrow arvo in Yokohama. Chilled morning I guess. We will see.