Welcome to Day 4 of Janet and Randy's Japan Adventure 2017
Sunday, April 9th, 2017
After a long day of walking the previous day, I was asleep by 8:00pm (and snoring by 8.15). I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep for a couple hours, but then ended up sleeping until 6:00am. We took our time getting up and getting ready, and headed over to Starbucks at 8:00am.
It was raining pretty heavy on the way to Starbucks, but it was just a light drizzle by the time we headed back. We had plans to wander around Harajuku and Shibuya today, so we were hoping the rain would hold off.
Today we had to move to a different room. When we originally booked, they did not have any of the standard rooms available at the IBM rate for the weekend. The only availability was a superior room at double the rate of the standard room. Rather than staying at a different hotel, we decided to bite the bullet and pay extra for the first 2 nights and then move to the standard room for the rest of the stay. When we checked in, we were told that we could just pack up our things, leave our luggage in our room, and drop off our room keys at the front desk. Then they would move our luggage to our new room once it was available. So, after breakfast, we packed up our stuff and then just hung out until it was time to head to Harajuku (as the shops don't open until 11:00am).
Later in the morning we heard from our friends Charlene and Lionel. But by this time, it was quite windy and rainy, so we suggested that it might be too miserable to go to Harajuku in the morning. We decided to wait and see if the weather got better in the afternoon.
So, we packed up our stuff and left our luggage in the room before dropping our room keys off at reception. We were asked when we would be back to move to our other room, and we requested 2:00pm. Then we grabbed some hotel umbrellas and decided to head to Bic Camera to wander around somewhere warm and dry.
This time the umbrellas came in handy as it was windy and rainy and a little unpleasant out. So, it was definitely a good decision to not go to Harajuku. When we got to Bic Camera, Randy noticed a contraption at the entrance. You stick your umbrella into the top and then pull it out sideways. Your umbrella is then encased in a plastic bag. That way, you aren't dripping water all through the store. On your way out the door, you pull the bag off your umbrella and place it in the bin next to it. Ingenious!! We saw this at a number of places. If a place didn't have one of these, then they either had just the plastic bags for you to put on your umbrella manually (manually... oh man, such a hardship !), or an umbrella stand to leave your wet umbrella.
We wandered through all the floors of Bic Camera, checking out various gadgets. We ended up buying a bunch of pens (I like really fine point pens, and they have 0.4 and 0.3 pens here that you can't find at home). Bic Camera also sells booze, so we picked up a bottle of unfiltered sake as well. I love Bic Camera - booze, electronics, and gadgets !
It was time for lunch, so we headed to our newly re-found Sushi Zanmai restaurant. They had a special for 5 tuna nigiri (the top plate in the picture to the left), so we each had an order, and we also ordered a bowl of miso soup each as well. The tuna was really good, and we both could've easily had another plate each. But, the miso soup we ordered ended up being a large bowl (instead of just a cup), so that helped to fill us up.
After lunch, we walked over to the Tokyu Hands store to do some more shopping. We found a few household gadgets and then decided to walk around Ginza to kill time until our room was ready at 2:00pm.
We ended up stopping into the Pandora store, and Randy bought me a couple more Japanese-themed charms. One was a crane origami, and one was a heart with the Japanese flag design on it. As it was still raining out, when the gal was wrapping up the charms in the Pandora bag, she also put a plastic bag over top of the Pandora bag - so that it wouldn't get wet in the rain. So, in Japan, the shopping bags get their own raincoats! Yup, it's kinda crazy that way.
We stopped into the Mont Blanc store (but didn't buy anything) and then headed back to the hotel. We dropped off our umbrellas and went to the front desk to get the keys to our new room. The gal at the front desk didn't understand at first that we were transferring rooms, and that our bags were supposed to be moved from our old room to the new one. So, she had us take a seat while she sorted things out. Within about 5 minutes, she had the keys to our new room, and was going to send the bellboy to get our bags from the other room. She was apologizing for the delay, but it wasn't really that big of a deal. Just part of the service model here... they are so accommodating.
We convinced the gal that we didn't need the bellboy to take us to our room as we knew how to get there - so we headed to our room, and about 10 minutes later the bellboy arrived with our bags. We unpacked and then got a message from our friends. We decided to meet up with them at 4:00pm and go for an early supper.
We walked over to where they were staying (the Conrad). Luckily it had stopped raining, and was actually fairly nice out. On the way, we noticed another Sushi Zanmai restaurant close to their hotel. So, when we met up with Charlene, Lionel and their adorable baby Toby, we suggested going there. They were game, so we had our second meal of the day at Sushi Zanmai! This time we ordered some deep fried tuna (which was really good) and a bowl of tuna sushimi over rice (yum).
After the meal, we went for a nice long walk through Ginza. We stopped at a Belgian waffle place (called Manneken - named after pis) to grab some waffles for a quick dessert. We walked Charlene and Lionel most of the way back to their hotel (Toby fell asleep on the way). We made plans to get together the next day, and then we walked back to our hotel.
It had been a long day of walking, so I spent some time updating the journal, but then hopped into bed before 8:30pm.
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