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Easing into Tokyo like Saturday Morning


Slow, lovely day today. After a very early wake up (hello, 2 am, I'm here again!), followed by some drifting, I gave up and went for a walk around 6:30 this morning. First morning here in Tokyo, and I have to say, wandering the streets with no one else around, on a hot, muggy morning is totally a great way to start a day. I walked over to the nearest (and flagship!) Muji, and then back to the hotel. The temperatures were still in the mid 20s (26˚, oof), so I was hot and sweating. I totally understand the light, flowy style of clothing here now.

I managed to cool off a bit in the 19˚ room, which I was unable to lower, as the thermostat is lower bounded to 19. B woke up surprisingly early, letting me know that he didn't really wake this early, and yes, we could head off to breakfast.

After breakfast, we both showered and dressed. I let B know that no, I wasn't in any hurry, I was happy to have this as a lazy day, so we didn't rush. Once we were both appropriately clean, we went outside, and were then not so clean, with the humidity and the heat. Such is the day, quite possibly the trip, and I am here for it.

Our main missiion for the day was to exchange our vouchers for rail passes. Our options were back to the airport or to the train station. Given the train station was about a 20 minute walk away, if we knew where we were going, which we did not, the train station won for destination. Along the way, we planned to see if a couple stores were open. Apple Maps said no, Google Maps said yes, let's see what reality said.

G.Itoya is indeed open on Saturdays. Score one for Google Maps.

We didn't take the most direct route to the train station, and went in the wrong gate for maximum efficiency for our rail passes, but were fine otherwise. We found the desk to exchange our vouchers, told each other stories about our recent weeks, became mildly annoyed at the people crowding us in line (especially the couple behind me who were so close they were touching me for a good 10 minutes while waiting in line, back the F up), sweated up a storm in the cramped room where only we and the staff were masked, and managed the exchange. We did walk back the most efficient route, however, to G.Itoya.

Along the way, so my delight, we realized that the city had closed the large street we were walking along to cars. We were able to stand in the middle of the street and take pictures. B was quite uncomfortable with this plan, and I was all over it. I mean, how often is one allowed to stand in the middle of a busy intersection and just be? Not often.

The stationery store ended up being mildly disappointing. Except for the most incredible selection of pens, including a $4000 USD pen, the store was full of things i had seen before, notebooks that I don't need more of (dotted notebooks to boot), supplies I don't want. They also stocked every color of colored pencil of the main brand they carried, which was amazing. I don't know if I just wasn't in the shopping mood, or just not needing retail therapy to self-soothe. My leaving a paper store without buying anything is nearly unheard of on my trips.

We were both hungry as we left the stationery store, and started walking back to the hotel. E had mentioned a ramen place close to the hotel, and I was interested in checking it out. Along the way, we passed a Starbucks Reserve. Mom had been asking to visit one, but she and B had been unable to find one. They aren't marked in any of the maps apps we have. B and I stepped into the Reserve, and he was enchanted. He was willing to try a ramen place I wanted to try, so we left.

About three minutes later, we realized the ramen place wasn't air-conditioned, and had a temperature close to 28˚ inside. Ramen in a hot muggy restaurant? No thanks.

We wandered back to Starbucks and to our surprise and delight had a most delicious lunch. The chicken and salad I had was wonderfully prepared. B's pizza was impressively delicious. We let Mom and E know where we were, and waited for them, but eventually missed them. We initially planned to go to a temple, but changed our minds and went back to the hotel for a rest. B has been go go going for weeks now, and could use the rest. I'm not not jet-lagged, and wanted to putter on my computer for a bit. I needed to focus on work for a bit, solve a problem or three, so as to short-circuit the circling thoughts that needed disrupting in a productive way.

So, we spent a couple hours in the afternoon in the hotel room, luxuriating in the AC. B slept for a while. When he woke, I commented that I was feeling a little guilty for wanting to hang out in the hotel room, and he laughed. He, too, was feeling guilty about wanting to hang out in the hotel room, have a down day. Recognzing we were both just fine hanging out this afternoon, we did just that. I made tea. I looked at a couple APIs. I read email. I finished reading a book. I started writing here again. I caught up on some journalling. I wrote a comment on a post, deleted it as I didn't need to say it, the words had already been said enough times. And, I picked up my travelling ukulele.

A month or so ago, Mom asked me to play Somewhere over the Rainbow, Iz style, for her on the uke for her, so that she could sing along. I looked up the tabs, and I have to say, the chords are not intimidating, I know them all. However, breaking the Island Strum (D.DU.UDU where . = skip that stroke on the up or down, keep the hand moving) in half and switching chords half way through the full pattern hurts my brain a little bit. Which is great! New brain pathways, engage! Play slowly, then build up.

Looks like sushi is the plan for dinner tonight. Here's hoping I can stay awake until 10pm tonight!

Update: I stayed awake.

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