Time certainly flies. And I believe that the older you get the faster is flies. My last trip to Tokyo was in the last week of May 2019. And life and events have filled in the space between now and then as it should. We had a couple of big dates already this month. 6 years since the death of my beloved Isobel. That’s a tough one. Her birthday a few days later. Bitter sweet. And then just life raising a family. School and catching up with friends and all of a sudden we are well into August and I am booking in events to the end of the year. But to some little degree my trip to Tokyo is still fresh. And the beauty of keeping a travel journal and all of my photos, allows me to revisit an accurate descritpion of my time. So let’s take a crack at the next chapter.
Wednesday 29 May 2019 – Morning
I woke early again. Before 8am and before my alarm. If only it was that easy on a school morning when trying to get my son there on time. The restaurant in the hotel is tiny seating around 15 people tops. They had two sets for breakfast. Either Japanese or Western. I really didn’t feel like grilled cold fish again – that fad faded really quickly. Nice to try but it would take some convincing to make it a daily choice. So I opted for the Western breakfast with a pair of fried eggs, some baked potatoes and salad. Green tea to finish. The little restaurant was run by an older couple who worked together with an admirable precision. The food was great, especially the salad. Salad is so not a Western breakfast item. But I like it. I will sometimes throw some lettuce and tomato on toast with an egg.
Made my way back up to my room. I packed both cameras as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to shoot with. Fortunately carrying both cameras is not too bad as they are pretty light. I decided top walk to the Tokyo Skytree. It was always looming tall over Asakusa and the Sumida River. Even though it is on the far side of the river from Asakusa. It is such a huge tower. It was built in 2011 and at the time was the tallest tower and the second tallest structure in the world. Japanese engineering at its finest. It is actually a television and radio broadcast tower for the whole Kanto region.
On the way to the tower, I stopped at the Asakusa visitor information building. This structure was relatively new as it was not here when I visited Asakusa in 2015. I arrived at around 9am – probably when it had just opened as it was fairly quiet. On the 8th floor there is an outdoor observation deck. I headed up there to get some views and shots of Senso Ji and the surrounding grounds. It was a really great view of the area. There was also a cafe on that floor but like most Cafe’s in Japan it would open for at least another hour. I returned to the ground floor to find that the queue for the lift had grown to dozens of people lined up out the door. Guess I had arrived at the right time and right place.
I hit the street and headed for the Skytree. Fortunately the Skytree is so bloody tall that it made it relatively easy to navigate to. It was a long walk though. But I enjoyed walking down back streets rather than main roads. And was amazed at how abandoned these streets felt. No cars nor pedestrian traffic to be seen. Made for some nice abandoned-Tokyo shots. Finally I arrived at the Skytree to be amazed at just how incredibly big the tower is. Not just its height but it’s foundation and the buildings built at its base. The size of the beams used to form the main structure of the tower was just gob-smacking. Underneath is a giant shopping district with many floors dedicated to fashion, food and tourists. Lots of tourist stuff at crazy expensive prices.
The only thing I bought were two new handkerchiefs. Call me old fashioned but I always have one in my bag. Eating with a big beard can be risky so having something on hand is an insurance policy. I was going to eat in the restaurant level but the prices were too high. So I grabbed a bowl or decent ramen from the food court. It was actually pretty good. The food court was really busy with lots of school kids in groups eating. I was amazed to see a man leave his mobile phone on a table as a means of claiming it while he went and looked for his food. He returned and his phone was still there. Japan is safe and culturally trustworthy.
With lunch done, I chose to train back to Asakusa and returned to my hotel grateful to find room service had finished my room. Time for a nap. That long walk had worn me out.