Today marked our last day in Japan. We both were sad about ending this fun trip, but at the same time relieved to end this continuous pain from walking too much.
After checking out of the hotel, we locked our luggage up in a convenient coin-operated locker at Shinjuku Station. This was the third time we used this service to avoid dragging heavy suitcases around – every train station we went through in Japan provided this service, although it wasn’t very cheap. Seriously, though, NYC should learn to do this. Many times in the past five years I had wished Penn Station or Grand Central or a large subway station in NYC would have lockers for short-term use. I wonder how many people insisted on driving into New York just because they needed some place to leave a backpack while going into a party.
We wandered around Shinjuku all day looking for green tea Kit Kat, something both our sisters loved. In the process, we also did a third set of photo booth pictures, and ate a bunch of yummy stuff.
Finding breakfast in Shinjuku was pretty difficult, provided that we didn’t want to end the trip on a low note with fast food or a convenience store. We ended up finding, as you might have guessed, a 24-7 establishment mostly suitable for 2am drinking and 5am sobering attempts. We had so much cash Yen left (ha, rich kids!) that I decided to get the biggest thing on the menu… a chicken hot pot in a clay pot! Hong ordered some tempura and chicken skewers, which was another big thing in Japanese cuisine that we hadn’t gotten to try. We sat in a cute wooden “booth” that had barely enough seating area to fit two butts and a bag. The food was fantastic. In fact, it was among the best meals we had in Japan. This fish-eating ethnic group could really cook chicken, too!
Lunch was conveyor-belt sushi, for the third time. We had decided that anything disguised as sushi in the US was no longer edible, so it was quite reasonable to have our last sushi in a really long time. We found this place on the business district side of the train station, and felt cheated after walking in because they had nothing running on the conveyor belt. Perhaps it was too early and they didn’t want to have raw fish running around the room without enough customers? For a second there, I was upset having to order directly from the chef. However, it turned out to be quite an experience even without the conveyor belt fun: for example, watching the chef “grill” the unagi with a hand-held high-power gas torch. Impressive stuff! I got my typical squid and a plate of three-colored tuna (from regular to fatty).
Then, the curious side of me kicked in. I braved up and asked for a plate of raw Japanese beef. Seeing me being foreign, the chef offered to have the beef grilled. Heck, I didn’t want to pay big bucks for raw beef and end up getting a steak! But I still requested one of each so I could make a scientific comparison. Holy cow this beef gave new meaning to “holy cow”! The smooth fatty beef combined with the mysterious bbq sauce (they must have added cocaine in it to taste so good) just melted in my mouth and coated my tongue with a heavenly blend of flavors. There was not a hint of funky smell like supermarket meats. The grilled one had a nice toasty surface but the raw version went down even more joyfully. This plate turned out to be the single most delicious item I had had in Japan! In comparison the o-toro was just so-so and the squid wasn’t even tasty any more. Arg!
After the last crepe, we left the city on Narita Express, toward the airport. The last train ride in Japan was quite fancy!
Lastly, here are some interesting pictures from the trip:
“Going to sleep in front of the store is strictly prohibited.”
No idea what this was but it made me laugh every time I saw it.
If I was remotely willing to drink Pepsi, I’d be very curious about this Mont Blanc flavor.
Trust me. It’s a great view. I’m not certain how far it is though. And I don’t know how to spell “m”.
Fresh produce is now available at your local subway station.
The white Fedex guy is so hot, every kid wants an action figure of him.
Funny ad for what I assumed was acid reflex remedy.