Kami Watch Over Me Series - Table of Contents
|Entry||Notable Places/Events||Start of Day||End of Day|
|Day 0 – Thursday, Oct 20 2022 to Friday, Oct 21 2022||Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo||Edmonton||Tokyo|
|Day 1 – Saturday, Oct 22 2022||Saitama, Ikebukuro||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 2 – Sunday, Oct 23 2022||Autumn Reitaisai 9, Shinjuku||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 3 – Monday, Oct 24 2022||Akihabara||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 4 – Tuesday, Oct 25 2022||Hakone||Tokyo||Hakone|
|Day 5 – Wednesday, Oct 26 2022||Kamakura, Enoshima Shrine||Hakone||Kamakura|
|Day 6 – Thursday, Oct 27 2022||Hanno||Kamakura||Hanno|
|Day 7 – Friday, Oct 28 2022||Shinkoiwa||Hanno||Tokyo|
|Day 8 – Saturday, Oct 29 2022||Akihabara, Matsudo City||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 9 – Sunday, Oct 30 2022||M3-50, Moto-Yawata||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 10 – Monday, Oct 31 2022||Akasaka, Shimo-Kitazawa, Shibuya Halloween||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 11 – Tuesday, Nov 01 2022||Shinjuku, Sophia University||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 12 – Wednesday, Nov 02 2022||Sophia University, Kabukicho||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 13 – Thursday, Nov 03 2022||Shinjuku Loft||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 14 – Friday, Nov 04 2022||Shinjuku, Hanazono/Asakusa Tori no Ichi, Sensoji||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 15 – Saturday, Nov 05 2022||Nagano, Zenkoji||Tokyo||Nagano|
|Day 16 – Sunday, Nov 06 2022||Ueda Sanada Festival, Ueda City, Sanada Shrine||Nagano||Nagano|
|Day 17 – Monday, Nov 07 2022||Zenkoji, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward||Nagano||Kyoto|
|Day 18 – Tuesday, Nov 08 2022||Otsu, Omi Jingu||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 19 – Wednesday, Nov 09 2022||Fushimi Inari, Kashoji, Tofukuji, Shorinji||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 20 – Thursday, Nov 10 2022||Ohara, Sanzenin, Arashiyama||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 21 – Friday, Nov 11 2022||Kiyomizu, Ryozen Kannon, Yasaka Shrine||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 22 – Saturday, Nov 12 2022||Heian Raku Ichi Market, Osaka, Juso||Kyoto||Osaka|
|Day 23 – Sunday, Nov 13 2022||Sukunahikona Shrine, Namba||Osaka||Osaka|
|Day 24 – Monday, Nov 14 2022||Kobe (with Ran)||Osaka||Osaka|
|Day 25 – Tuesday, Nov 15 2022||Maibara, Toyosato, Nagoya||Osaka||Nagoya|
|Day 26 – Wednesday, Nov 16 2022||Osu, Banshoji, Naka||Nagoya||Nagoya|
|Day 27 – Thursday, Nov 17 2022||Obara Shikizakura Festival, Rurikozanyakushi||Nagoya||Nagoya|
|Day 28 – Friday, Nov 18 2022||Okayama, Kurashiki||Nagoya||Kurashiki|
|Day 29 – Saturday, Nov 19 2022||Kyoto (with Xuanjie), Autumn Okayama Momotaro Festival||Kurashiki||Kurashiki|
|Day 30 – Sunday, Nov 20 2022||Okayama, Sunrise Izumo||Kurashiki||Sunrise Izumo|
|Day 31 – Monday, Nov 21 2022||Minowa, Enoshima Shrine, Ameyoko Market||Sunrise Izumo||Tokyo|
|Day 32 – Tuesday, Nov 22 2022||Shibuya, Taito City||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 33 – Wednesday, Nov 23 2022||Akihabara||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 34 – Thursday, Nov 24 2022||Shinjuku (with Yaoxiang), Harajuku||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 35 – Friday, Nov 25 2022||Sensoji, Narita Airport, Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton||Tokyo||Edmonton|
|Final Thoughts||Final Thoughts|
Tuesday, Nov 22 2022 (Day 32)
I had the option to visit somewhere else in Japan for days 31 to 33 of my trip, but ultimately decided to stay in Tokyo for the remainder of it. I was hurting all over my body at this time from just the exhaustion of always being on the move (checking out early and checking in late to various hotels, lugging my bags about, etc), the fatigue from the Sunrise Izumo was a factor even though no further issue arose from it in the end, and I also had a few things I wanted to shop for before I left on Day 35.
These things included several stationary items for my family who had requested that I look for a certain pen refill from a stationary shop, specifically the flagship shop for Loft, located in Shibuya. The only time I had been to Shibuya on my trip so far was at night during Halloween, which obviously did not leave much time for shopping, so this seemed like a good reason to finally, properly head down there.
Before I did so though, I needed lunch. I headed out the door just before 1pm, and wandered into a restaurant named Katsuo near the train station. They seemed to have a mix of Chinese and Japanese food, and a lot of set meals (the keyword I look for, teishoku 定食) for under 1000 yen, so I picked that store to eat at.
The proprietress was seeing someone else as I came in, they were speaking Chinese to each other instead of Japanese. Nonetheless, I spoke Japanese to her when I ordered my food, and she took the order before idly asking in Chinese if I knew how to speak Chinese, as she brought a few pre-meal side dishes for free to me, one of three or four restaurants that I ate at in Japan that did this (though usually it was just one dish).
I replied in Chinese that yes, I did, except I had not used it in quite a while, and she peppered me with a few questions like where I was born, where I was staying, what I was doing in Japan, and so on, in a completely friendly manner. After taking my order to the cook in the kitchen, she came out again and said that if I were from Singapore, I should try her other shop — it specialized in Hainan food, including Hainanese Chicken Rice, which she knew was a staple and beloved dish in Singapore. Mmm! I even took a picture of her shirt that she happened to be wearing, which was the name of that dish from the other store, though it wasn’t a dish offered at this one.
She wrote down the name of the restaurant on a piece of paper for me — 南国の味 勝生, and said it wasn’t too far away from here. She went back and forth between the two depending on the day, apparently. She said in no uncertain terms that I should not go there THIS trip though — she said that I was only here for a few more days, and should go around eating Japanese food instead. When I finally came here to study abroad, as I had mentioned to her earlier was a hope of mine, then I could go there to eat. She had actually guessed that I was a current student studying abroad early on in the conversation, since she pointed out that I could speak Japanese. Anyway, she was the one that affirmed what I kind of suspected, that the Minowa area and surrounding neighbourhoods had a high Chinese population, and she said something to the effect of if I came here when studying abroad, they’d take good care of me.
She was super nice to talk to, but soon my food arrived, and she left me alone to sup on my Cantonese Seafood Hor Fun Set Dish.
It was good. It obviously wasn’t Japanese cuisine per se, but it was good. After the meal, when I went up to the cashier to pay, I gave the proprietress one of my remaining postcards as well — the 9th one out of 10 that I had brought along on my trip, and my last Edmonton one. She thanked me for it and after doing some translations, she said that she actually had a good friend staying in Edmonton as well. Interesting coincidence! She said she was going to tell him all about how a customer/guest gave her a postcard for where he lived. Teehee.
After that, I took a train over to Shibuya Station. Shibuya Station was on the other end of the central Yamanote Line from where I was, and there were at least five distinct routes I could have taken there that were all roughly around the same duration (40-43 minutes or so), so I opted for the one that took me along a JR route for at least part of the way, since that would make that portion of the route free. I took the Hibiya Line from Minowa Station to Akihabara Station for 170 yen, then the JR Chuo/Sobu Line from Akihabara Station to Yoyogi Station, and finally the JR Yamanote Line from Yoyogi Station to Shibuya Station.
Here’s Yoyogi Station:
And here’s Shibuya Station:
I walked around the Shibuya Station area after that — it was very crowded, but very vibrant in a way that I liked.
My first stop was Loft’s flagship store:
And as my little sister predicted, I found the pen refills that we were looking for there. I had searched for these in close to a dozen other stores, including smaller Lofts, to no avail.
She was also looking for a certain correction tape refill, but I was unable to find it there, even after asking the store clerk, who looked it up in a catalog and said that it was now out of stock and replaced with a different model of correction tape altogether.
After paying and on my way out of the store, I also saw this little machine:
That looked kind of interesting, and cheap to boot. But I didn’t have many good pictures since I emptied my phone camera out onto my laptop at the end of each day, and nothing that I really wanted to print into a full size photo anyway, as that would be very vain….. oh wait. That’s right.
So anyway I now have a 7 by 5 inch blowup photo of Tigey‘s face. They called this photo size 2L. I had to download a Fujifilm app and install it to transmit the photo to the machine, but the machine worked in multiple languages and the instructions were quite clear, and it seemed to be 80 yen well spent to me.
After this, I went to another nearby departmental store that also had a stationary corner, Tokyu Hands. This store was so immense that I couldn’t actually find the entrance, though it was probably it was also located on a city block that was very sloped, and I approached it from the lowest end. I ended up at an elevator and found out that that was considered the Basement 2 level, even though I had walked in right from the street itself. Anyway the building had a very strange layout with tons of “one-third floors”:
Even though it was only 7 storeys tall in actuality, it was three different buildings side by side that sloped into each other, and had about 21 different floors in all, labelled 4A, 4B, 4C, 5A, 5B, 5C, etc. There were stairs that led up and down to the next and previous floors on the central column, as well as stairs that led up and down to the side floors from each central floor.
I ended up buying a spoon from there labelled “The Curry Spoon”, and with a weird little flat edge at the end of the spoon that allegedly makes it easier to scoop up grains of rice with it. I would never have bought this if my current hotel and kitchenette lacked a spoon, but I did find myself in such a situation, so I bought it over slightly cheaper and more regular spoon options and have used it as my main spoon ever since. I’m using it to eat a salted egg yolk bun right now as I type this, and it will face the wrath of proper, non-Japanese curry tomorrow. But I digress.
I also stopped by a HMV & Books store, and saw that they were having a feature for the band Naniwa Danshi from Johnny’s Jr. They had a big signboard for fans to put notes on them, and it was absolutely plastered with sticky notes.
There were full-body posters of the featured guys on the sides of various shelves. There were quite a few girls wandering around the shop and taking photos with the posters, some shier than others and quietly trying to sneak them, some boldly going around and doing so in groups, but all very much starstruck. I know nothing about the band but I enjoyed seeing the girls going around and gazing at the guys’ posters, yet another fandom group I don’t really have any experience in, but is very much a large one in Japan.
I did buy a small book/magazine for cheap here, and here’s a picture of both the book and my curry spoon that I took later that evening.
I then went back to the Shibuya Scramble Crossing to see it in its “normal” (i.e. not Halloween-infused, cop-infested madness) state. It was terribly late at night, a little past 5pm or so, so the deep dark veil of nightfall had fallen across the world and monsters were roaming the land, or at least the silver screens above. There was no way they’d dare come down to Earth with so many humans in one spot, they’d just get crushed.
Crossing the road from there took me back to the train station, so I started to head home, planning to stop at a local supermarket along the way. I got on the Yamanote Line again from there, taking it from Shibuya Station to Okachimachi Station and planning to transfer from there to the Hibiya Line to get back to the Minowa area.
But alas, I had forgotten that Okachimachi Station meant Ameyoko Market, and I can’t resist a good night (evening) walk around a market. I instantly got entrapped by that maze of streets again, and spent some time walking around.
I walked through the length of the entire thing, and ended up at Ueno Station, one stop north from Naka-Okachimachi Station along the Hibiya Line, and basically the other ending point of Ameyoko Market. Ueno Station, and the mall across from it, Sakura Terrace, was very glitzy from the outside, especially at night.
At that point, I figured, Minowa Station was only two stops away and there were supermarkets along the way too… so why not just walk all the way home? And so I did!
There was a cool breeze playing around with my skirt, and in general it was a great night, around 17 degrees Celsius or so, which is my perfect sweet spot for the outdoor temperature to walk around in. Even though night had fallen, the streets were still bright, and I walked along both main roads, side roads, commercial areas, residential areas, past parks and playgrounds and temples and vending machines, and more. This was the night I wrote up the Day 28 blog where I complained about not being able to find that Sangaria Maroyaka Banana & Milk drink in any Tokyo store, and I had already been on my futile search for several days up till that point, so I looked in every vending machine, several convenience stores, and a couple of supermarkets on the way home, but all to no avail.
This was also the only day (well, night) that I listened to the music collection on my phone while in Japan — the lovely night and weather and exploration aspect got me into a good walking mood, so I put on my walking music playlist of Japanese songs and let it run. I seldom listen to my own music while on vacation otherwise — I didn’t at all in my two weeks in Singapore, and only once, here, in my five weeks in Japan.
The walk was very beautiful, and a gallery of pictures from it follows below.
I did pick up some groceries from a supermarket named Maruetsu along the way, which included some fish that was 50% off, some senmaizuke (pickled turnip) that was delicious, a bag of boiled vegetables which I also believe might have had some turnips in it, a “new vegetable”, called Aletta, which allegedly was “broccoli x kale” in one, an orange drink to mourn the lack of my banana milk, and a bowl of instant noodles for the next morning.
Once I got home, I prepared and had soup and rice for dinner as usual, then settled down to watch the World Cup on my hotel room TV and distractedly write my blog at the same time. I did notice this though:
Apparently the news reports were warning that it would be raining the next day in the Tokyo/Kanto region, pretty much for the entire day. Hopefully not too heavily, since I still did not have an umbrella.
Shinkansen Running Total
I have a 21-day JR Pass that kicked in on Nov 05 and should last until the end of my trip on Nov 25. It cost $568 CAD, which cost around 61,769.08 yen, as per Google as of the first writing of this section. So I was curious and wanted to keep a running total — was this thing actually worth it?
That’s what I hope to find out with this section. For the full explanation blurb on this, check this corresponding section of the Day 15 blog post.
ට Nov 05 2022 – Asama 611 (Tokyo to Nagano) – U: 7810, R: 8340
ට Nov 06 2022 – Hakutaka 556 (Nagano to Ueda) – U: 1470, R: 2790
ට Nov 06 2022 – Asama 615 (Ueda to Nagano) – U: 1470, R: 2790
ට Nov 07 2022 – Kagayaki 509 (Nagano to Kanazawa) – 8920 (reserved seats only)
ට Nov 07 2022 – Thunderbird 24 (Kanazawa to Kyoto) – U: 6490, R: 6820
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Kosei Line (Kyoto to Otsukyo) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Kosei Line (Otsukyo to Kyoto) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Nara Line (Kyoto to Inari) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Nara Line (Inari to Kyoto) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 09 2022 – JR Nara Line (Tofukuji to Kyoto) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 10 2022 – JR Sanin/Sagano Line (Saga-Arashiyama to Kyoto) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 12 2022 – Super Hakuto 7 (Kyoto to Osaka) – U: 1230, R: 1760
ට Nov 15 2022 – Kodama 720 (Shin-Osaka to Maibara) – U: 4510, R: 4840
ට Nov 15 2022 – Kodama 748 (Maibara to Nagoya) – U: 3100, R: 3430
ට Nov 18 2022 – Hikari 505 (Nagoya to Okayama) – U: 10550, R: 11080
ට Nov 18 2022 – JR Marine Liner 45 (Okayama to Chayamachi) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 19 2022 – JR Marine Liner 17 (Hayashima to Okayama) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 19 2022 – Hikari 574 (Okayama to Shin-Kobe) – U: 5170, R: 5700
ට Nov 19 2022 – Hikari 504 (Shin-Kobe to Kyoto) – U: 2860, R: 3390
ට Nov 19 2022 – Hikari 509 (Kyoto to Okayama) – U: 7140, R: 7670
ට Nov 19 2022 – JR Marine Liner 51 (Okayama to Hayashima) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 20 2022 – JR Marine Liner 20 (Hayashima to Okayama) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 20 2022 – JR Seto/Ohashi Line (Okayama to Omoto) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 20 2022 – Sunrise-Izumo (Okayama to Tokyo) – 13970 (reserved seats only)
ට Nov 21 2022 – JR Yamanote Line (Tokyo to Ueno) – 160 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 21 2022 – JR Ueno-Tokyo Line (Ueno to Fujisawa) – 990 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 21 2022 – JR Ueno-Tokyo Line (Fujisawa to Tokyo) – 990 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 21 2022 – JR Yamanote Line (Tokyo to Okachimachi) – 140 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 22 2022 – JR Chuo/Sobu Line (Akihabara to Yoyogi) – 200 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 22 2022 – JR Yamanote Line (Yoyogi to Shibuya) – 0 (transfer)
ට Nov 22 2022 – JR Yamanote Line (Shibuya to Okachimachi) – 200 (unreserved seats only)
Unreserved: 79,650 yen
Reserved: 86,460 yen