This is it! The last blog where I unpack my travel journal from my Tokyo 2019 trip. Just to recap, whilst I am away, I kept a journal of my activities, experiences, feelings whilst in Tokyo. I just kept notes each day on my iPhone at various points during each day. I have done this on past trips also and it just helps me to later remember the path I took each day and be able to convert that to a blog here on my site. It is a great way for me to keep the memories alive and for me to, years down the track, recall the experience. So please join me during my last few hours in Tokyo.
Thursday 30 May 2019 – Afternoon
After lunch, I walked back across the Sumida River and past the Asakusa Station and then into the grounds of Senso Ji. One last shot at street photography in Tokyo. I am glad that I did as I captured some fantastic shots. It was still blue skies and sunshine, and the light was perfect for photography. I decided to make my way slowly back to my hotel to collect my case but also to give my feet a rest. The hotel’s little restaurant has a nice outside courtyard space with tables and chairs. My feet were pretty sore by this point, and there is no public seating to be found on the streets of Tokyo. Anywhere. I must look into why Japan has no public seating in outdoor spaces. Even where there are several street food stalls, there is only a tiny designated standing area for people to eat their food. No tables. No bins. Yet surprisingly clean. I will get to the bottom of this! I took my time to have a cold drink here before I grabbed my suitcase.
Sitting there enjoying the scene, I reflected upon my week. I feel relatively content with the amount of photography I have achieved during the week. In the first day or so I was really demotivated. And then, you will know if you have been reading along, I started to focus more on the overall holiday experience and just aiming to relax rather than punish myself for not being creative. But I still took a lot of photos – nowhere near as many as on my previous trips to Japan. I think in 2017 on my journey to Tokyo I took over 7,000 photos. It seems like weeks ago that I was in Shibuya or even Nikko for that matter. I think staying in different places for short periods has made it feel like I have been to more places, seen more and taken longer than 7 days to do so. I think that getting out early in the day to locations and then returning to my hotel for a rest before I headed back out at night really helped. It made it feel like I had two days for every one actual day. It has been a great week. And sitting here feeling the slight haze of good beer, I feel really good about it.
And right now, I am also very footsore. I have seriously had enough of my feet. I only have a short walk to the station here in Asakusa. Then a short train ride to Shibuya. A short walk to the right platform and then a 50-minute ride to the airport. Lots of standing in queues but for the most part the walking is done. I got up from my table, and my feet throbbed in pain. I made an executive decision and got the hotel reception to call me a taxi to get me to Shibuya. I am just all out of legs (feet). Despite how much I try to convince myself that there is nothing I can do about it here, it is pretty disappointed really. Shibuya Station is such a giant complex, and it has grown in recent years with it being finished for the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Finally, I am on the NEX or Narita Express to Narita Airport. The sun is still shining as we pass through the endless outer suburbs of Tokyo. Shifting from a sea of two-story houses to more prominent rows of apartment buildings and then back to scattered dwellings. I love the shifting scene with roof tiles in every colour from blue to burgundy to teal and peach. Everyone has their washing out – making the most of the fantastic sunny weather. Bedding hanging from balcony rails. Parents with children in the parks. A temple here. A cemetery there. And yet hardly anyone in sight!
At the airport, I made the last 700-meter slog on foot from the train station to the terminal from which my flight departs. I made a detour for the food hall and enjoyed a light meal before my flight. Check-in and security were smooth processes, and before long, I found I was boarding my flight. No Business Class for me this time. No champagne on arrival. No fancy seat. It felt like a much longer trip on the way home that it was on the way there. I spent my time watching movie after movie. And this made the time pass by. But still a long flight. My flight landed in Gold Coast and then I had a short wait before boarding a second flight to Melbourne. It was only two hours, but I struggled to stay awake.
My dad picked me up from the airport and drove me back to my parent’s home, where my sister was also waiting with my youngest son. He had spent a great week with them and had lots to tell me. But he was also keen on his travel treats. I packed up my car with our combined luggage, and we said our farewells. I was pretty tired and wanted to get home. My older two had done a great job of looking after the house and were both really happy to have me back and hear about my travels. That officially marked the end of my Tokyo 2019 trip. Months in the planning and all of a sudden over. I guess all the holidays feel like that. I am not sure when I will return to Japan. It will not be for some time. I have some other financial obligations to take care of for now. But the memories of my trips will always be there.