A Weekend in Tokyo
This trip was entirely meant to be about Thailand, but when I started looking at airfare to Bangkok, I couldn't overlook the fact that I would likely end up with a connecting flight in Tokyo. I figured...what the heck, why not stay a couple nights in one of my favorite cities? Maybe my favorite city in the world overall, actually. I fell in love with Tokyo last year and couldn't miss a chance to get some delicious food and practice my terrible Japanese at the same time.
With only one full day to explore, I figured I would just head over to one of my favorite areas from last time - Akihabara, the electronics district. I walked around observing the usual craziness: flashing lights everywhere, girls with high pitched voices trying to sell you things, highly sexualized anime cartoons, etc. Unfortunately, it rained pretty badly all afternoon, but I didn't let that get me down.
For lunch, I stopped into Yoshinoya, which is a Japanese chain restaurant. I actually ate at one of these in Hong Kong but never tried one in Japan. It was maybe 1/10 of the size of the Hong Kong Yoshinoya...it only sat about 8 people. Everyone in there stared at me the whole time but the food was worth it. I ordered a beef curry with an egg - it was dynamite:
The jet lag started to hit me pretty hard late in the afternoon, which I was totally expecting. It always hits me on the day following my arrival, even if I get a lot of sleep. In case you have never had it, you basically just get super tired out of nowhere and feel an irresistible urge to sleep. Apparently this has something to do with your body clock that expects day and night to happen on its usual pattern. When you travel really far it messes up everything.
For dinner, I ate at a sushi place near my hotel called Sushizanmai. It was super packed, so that made my decision easy. The guy in the front kept walking up to me saying "please wait, please wait" and getting uncomfortably close to me, even as I slowly backed away. I'm glad I put up with this guy though...the food was excellent. I had a random assortment of things, but the best dish by far was the fried fatty tuna steak:
After dinner I headed back to the hotel because I had an early flight the next morning. No crazy bar hopping in Roppongi this time (cut me some slack I'm 30 now). I woke up at around 6:00 am to make my 10:30 flight, which was a 7 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur followed by a 2 hour flight to Bangkok. When I got to my gate and prepared to enter the queue, an entire class of Japanese high school kids showed up at my gate (easily over 100 kids). We were instructed to wait and let them board the plane first. I was surprised that Japanese high schools organized such expensive trips...we definitely were never flown to another country for a field trip when I was in high school. They all cheered loudly when the plane took off...maybe because they were just kids having fun, or maybe because we were flying Malaysia Airlines and they were glad we didn't die during takeoff.
Despite what you've heard about Malaysia Airlines, it was a nice flying experience. The seats were comfortable, the food was good, and the on-screen entertainment menu was enormous. American Airlines (which I flew to Tokyo) only had about 5 movies, but Malaysia Airlines had hundreds of shows and movies to choose from. And we didn't die, so that was nice.
Ok time for me to head out. Next blog entry will be about Bangkok.