Kami Watch Over Me (Japan Day 7 – Tokyo)

Friday, Oct 28 2022 (Day 7)

Table of Contents

ට  Day 0 – Thursday, Oct 20 2022 to Friday Oct 21 2022 – Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo
ට  Day 1 – Saturday, Oct 22 2022 – Tokyo, Saitama, Ikebukuro
ට  Day 2 – Sunday, Oct 23 2022 – Autumn Reitaisai 9, Shinjuku
ට  Day 3 – Monday, Oct 24 2022 – Akihabara
ට  Day 4 – Tuesday, Oct 25 2022 – Hakone
ට  Day 5 – Wednesday, Oct 26 2022 – Kamakura, Enoshima Island
ට  Day 6 – Thursday, Oct 27 2022 – Hanno
ට  Day 7 – Friday, Oct 28 2022 – Shinkoiwa (You are here)

Today was very much a transition day, I was holed up until noon in my lodging in Hanno finnishing up previous blog posts, and then moved all the way to a new place in eastern Tokyo to finish up a 4 day stretch of moving to a new dwelling every day. It wasn’t the worst thing imaginable, and it is doable, but it did cause some exploration time to be lost (as I’m limited in what I could do each day until I first checked in, which I often couldn’t do until the mid to late afternoon), which made everything feel rushed when I finally did get time to explore. That being said, I felt like I had seen everything that I wanted to see in Hakone and Hanno in my one day side trips there, while Kamakura had more to explore but I would have had to go further afield (i.e. several stations away) to find new things. Or I could have just spent some time lounging about and enjoying the beach or something.

At any rate, I think I “day tripped” those places out fairly well, but back to back to back day trips were probably not the most ideal. In addition to all that above, I had not only started to fall behind on blogging, but have also been unable to work on some side preparation stuff (e.g. my vocabulary notebook, and planning out incomplete parts of my future itinerary), so I needed several rest days for those aspects of my trip to catch up. Also, my feet are killing me from all the walking, although I try not to let that stop me.

So with that being said, when planning my move back to Tokyo, I was looking for a slightly longer stay at a good place at first. I was hesitant about committing to a place for too long though, because then if the place has any bad elements to it, I’d be stuck with that for the duration of my stay as well. In addition, one of the nice things about moving around and staying at different places is that I get to experience different types of housing in Tokyo and also experience transit from different parts of the city, both of which are super valuable for my planned future study abroad stint here.

In the end, I ended up deciding on a three-day stay at a rental apartment near the eastern edge of Tokyo this time, about 40 minutes away by train from where I was staying earlier this week in the central-west (Takadanobaba). I figured that this would also give me a doorway into Chiba for one or two places there that I might end up visiting over the next couple days if time permits. Furthermore, this place had a kitchenette and laundry, which were both attractive to me, especially since the use of the laundry was free.

Anyway, I checked out of my Hanno guesthouse at noon without seeing the cat again. Sad. I went back to Hannō Station, ended up buying a couple souvenirs from there, and then took the Seibu Ikebukuro Line express train to Ikebukuro.

There, I found someone who was even more lost than me:

Dear pigeon, not sure how you got so far underground, but your place is in the skies above. I then followed the signs to the platform to take the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.

I was glad to finally find an easy map of the Tokyo train system that I could use:

It looked like a tangled bowl of spaghetti. It’s not even the worst map of the train systems that I had seen, too.

I took the Marunouchi Line five stops, to Ochanomizu. I then had to transfer from here to the local JR Chuo/Sobu line to get to my final stop, Shin-Koiwa, which was located in a separate building from where the Marunouchi Line arrived from. All the transitting passengers had to leave the building, cross a road, and dodge some construction roadworks, before finally reaching the platform for the Chuo/Sobu Line.

Shinkoiwa and my Apartment

After several stops, I arrived at my destination, Shinkoiwa Station.

The path to my apartment took me through this beautiful and wide bus/taxi square area surrounded by tall commercial buildings like department stores and arcades:

And then through that shopping street on the other side of the road…

Whoa, this place was gorgeous! Named Shinkoiwa Lumiere, it’s a very long, covered shopping street with easily 150 or more shops lining the street as well as the immediate side roads leading off from it. I stopped by a small shop called Koroton for lunch, ordering their Donteki Teishoku (regular) for 880 yen.

I wanted to explore more of the street, but had to go put down my bags first, so I forged onwards, traversing a grid of side roads before finally finding my place:

My room was on the second floor, up a narrow set of stairs:

Small, but comfortable! Here’s the kitchenette (With bowls and utensils in the cupboard below the sink):

The nonexistent view outside (but that’s fine, I just kept the curtains closed):

The cramped toilet room (with a heated bidet, yay):

And bathroom area:

Laundry machine:

And there was even a free umbrella provided so I can procrastinate even longer on actually having to buy an umbrella:

I unpacked and lounged around for a bit to charge my phone before charging out again to explore that shopping street, first passing back along the pleasant grid of side roads and little apartment buildings:

Once I arrived back at Shinkoiwa-Lumiere, I spent a bunch of time window shopping and exploring a few of the various stores:

I then reluctantly pulled myself away from that shopping street and looked around at the rest of the district. Among other things, there were some street performers carrying out some kind of mime routine, to the occasional applause of a group of people watching them.

I wanted to visit the local Donki (Don Quihote) for a couple things, but the nearest one was two stations west, back toward central Tokyo, at Kameido Station. Undeterred, I sped away on the train — it cost 157 yen for the two-stop trip along the JR Chuo/Sobu local line there, and another 157 back to Shinkoiwa later.

I was also suckered into a Bookoff shop that was on one of the streets that I passed by, but the CD selection here (especially the cheap 110 yen shelf) was a lot smaller. I enjoyed the walk around the neighbourhood, but it was no Shinkoiwa. That might just be my station loyalty or sunk cost fallacy setting in though. But its pretty hard to beat that Shinkoiwa-Lumiere shopping street for me, as I like that sort of thing — it’s laid out in a traditional style similar to Nishiki Market in Kyoto, which I will be visiting later on in this trip.

But for the moment, I headed back on the train to Shinkoiwa. The local train was VERY packed at this time of night (around 7:00 pm-7:30 pm) with students and salarymen and there was barely even room to get on board.

Dinner

Once I was back at Shinkoiwa, it was about 7:25 pm, and I started to source out food for dinner. Because I had a kitchenette, I had decided that I was going to go for a bento box and some side dishes instead of heading to a restaurant this time. I walked down the length of the market and then back again. Most of the shops were in the midst of closing if not already closed at this point, but there were still some food places open, including a couple that I had eyed earlier in the day.

From my first target stall, named Torimatsu, I looked over what hadn’t been sold out yet and picked up a Ninniku Mono (garlic meat, assumedly thigh, on a stick), the center item on the bottom left tray in the picture below. And then a croquette from the top tray. This cost 230 yen.

From my second stall, named Nakafuji, I picked up 104g of Konjac/Konnyaku, the stuff on the white plate in the first picture below, and then a chicken wing and skewer from the second picture. I believe I ended up with all of that for 210 yen for whatever reason (maybe because they were close to shutting?)

Finally, after checking out a couple convenience stores, I headed into a department store along the strip of stores.

There, I found a lady putting discount stickers on their bento boxes at around 7:55 pm. I grabbed one with a fresh 30% off sticker on it, which I had now recognized the kanji from from earlier research. This cost about 451 yen or so, although I also bought some instant noodles for the next day that I wanted to try the next morning (since I now had a kitchenette!)

With all that in tow, I headed home, stopping along the way one last time at a vending machine to pick up a can of hot corn potage for 100 yen to top off my meal.

My phone battery actually died here, but thankfully I had my spare battery and a charging cable along so I managed to get it back to 2% battery life and limped home with that. I would have been fine though since I knew roughly where the house was and what it looked like, and also somehow remembered the front door entry code despite only using it once earlier in the day. It would just have taken me a little longer to find the landmarks I needed to find to locate my apartment in the grid of streets.

Anyway, once I got home, I took a picture of my meal, assembled with care for a total of 991 yen. I dumped all the side dishes into the microwave for 30 seconds as well to heat it up a little.

This was extremely filling! And quite tasty to boot! The sushi (my first sushi since coming to Japan, I realized, even if it’s “just” supermarket sushi) was far more filling than I had anticipated and that plus all the meat made me about as full as I’ve been all trip. I was worried about how the konjac would taste but that turned out fairly great too, not tassteless at all, and I liked its soft rubbery texture. The corn potage was basically slightly creamy corn soup too and I let that cool down a bit before downing it together with my meal. Yummy!

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