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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 174: Back to Tokyo

JAPAN | Sunday, 27 April 2008 | Views [535]

Me with Pete and Kumi's parents outside their house in Shigu

Me with Pete and Kumi's parents outside their house in Shigu

Sunday 27th April

I got up feeling slightly better than I did when I went to bed the night before, but still woke up with the thought of Chelsea overtaking United at the top of the league.... my worst nightmare (at least in terms of footballing matters)! I had had a good sleep on a very comfortable futon, and tried to put the disappointment of the game out of my mind.

We had a fantastic breakfast of homemade minestrone soup and toast, and then went out for a morning stroll to the last of the shrines in Shigu. Once we got back to the house, we packed up our stuff and all of us headed off to see Hikone Castle and the beautiful gardens that surround it. Kumi's parents were really nice and very welcoming, and were keen that I should see some of the local sights before I got the train back to Tokyo. 

After lunch of some soba noodles and duck, we were dropped off at the train station in Maibara, from where I was to get the shinkansen back to Tokyo, and Kumi and Pete were to get the train back to Osaka. I was very sorry to say goodbye to both of them as we had spent a very enjoyable time together, and they had been really good to me, going out of their way to make sure that I got the best out of my time in Japan. We left each other hoping that it wouldn't be long before we get to meet again.

The shinkansen left at 16.55 on the dot (as usual) and I felt very sleepy as the train set off towards the capital. We arrived in Tokyo at 19.10 and my plan was to find a 24-hour internet place where I could hang out until the early morning, when I would visit the Tsukiji Fish Market. It took me a while to find somewhere, and I walked about the Shibuya area like a spare part with my rucksack on my back and looking like the original lost tourist.

At 23.00, 'The Gran Cafe' opened its doors to anyone who wanted to spend the night sitting on the internet, watching DVDs, reading comics, or, in my case, relaxing for a few hours before a new day started. For about $13, I got my own little booth with a soft mattress and a computer, which I was entitled to stay in until 05.30 the following morning. It suited me perfectly as it was cheaper than a hostel, it was in a convenient and central location, and was sufficiently comfortable for me to get a few hours rest. It was a bit of a novelty, and not the sort of place that I would want to spend much more time, but it was an interesting glimpse at one of the quirkier sides of Japanese culture.


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