My momma bear e-mailed me about last week’s Tokyo weekend, which I had not posted about yet, specifically asking if the city was growing on me? It is. It’s blinking lights and absolute bizarreness is less overwhelming, and more interesting. Maybe one of the most interesting places that I have ever visited? I had wondered about it from afar, knowing that I could never imagine it justly in my mind. Now that I have been there four times, and still can’t quite wrap my head around it, I am appreciating my short time in Japan, for getting the opportunity to spend a few of my weekends in this topsy turvy city.
Okay, the deets! My friend Cullan found this train deal, meaning that I only needed one ticket to get to and from Tokyo AND I could use it to travel on the Japan Railways in Tokyo. I would have never found this on my own. Thank god for literate friends. It made the weekend travel logistics so easy (until I missed my connection on the way back reading Gone Girl….wah.)
We got in Friday night after work, and grabbed a late dinner. The only place that did not have an insane wait: Denny’s. It was hilarious. And thus started the blurred lines on what is a meal and when do you eat a meal while in Tokyo? The answer: there is none. (At least for me and Cullan, who mayyyyy be in competition with me for biggest sweet tooth/coffee junkie.)
I ordered french fries and blueberry cheesecake. Cullan got caramel pancakes and some strawberry sundae with what looked like Kix cereal on top. We were so tired that the sugar high didn’t keep us out late on a Friday night in Tokyo though.
The race didn’t start until 2 p.m., but we still got up early, grabbed some coffee and chocolate croissants (there was a bakery near our hotel, which smelled SO GOSH DARN GOOD that we couldn’t say no), and ate them on a bench in Meiji Jingu. It was like a weird Paris moment, but in Japan? Then, we went shopping in Harajuku.
We ended up getting Harajuked.
Afterwards, we met up for coffee, but not just any coffee – Sakura frappuccinos! – with Cullan’s ex-boyfriend at Starbucks in our wigs. More CAFFEINE for the run.
The race was actually a hash run. Cullan’s brother and girlfriend, who live in Korea, are big hashers and flew in for this red dress hash run in Tokyo. Also, Cullan’s brother is even crazier than Cullan.
The race leaders explained the arrows and following the hare, etc., etc., I sort of zoned out – maybe it was the effect of the pink wig? – and decided I would just follow the crowd.
We were all over the place – on the trains, running up steps, etc. – for a good hour before we landed someplace (who knows where?) with tons of food and beer.
After indulging in FRITOS! OATMEAL CREME PIES! MILLER LITE!, we circled up and the hashers sang lewd songs and did a bunch of other things that I was clueless about as a first-timer. I just knew that I had to say Minnesota when they asked where I was from, which was a total lie.
Rest of the evening: we went out to a bar with the hashers, went to a cake buffet, got on the wrong train, played hours of cards against humanity, crashed.
Cullan, being the most productive person I have ever met ( YOU SHOULD SEE HIS TO-DO LISTS!), was up early on Sunday for Insanity Cardio abs. I really didn’t feel like doing crunches at 8 a.m., preferring to stay in bed and drink more coffee and read more Gone Girl, but there is nothing worse than watching someone else do sit-ups, so I joined him.
We met up with his brother and girlfriend at the Starbucks in Shibuya later that morning. More Sakura frappuccinos. Also, BEST VIEW EVER. We are looking down at the famous Shibuya crosswalk, one of the busiest in the world and perhaps the best people-watching perch on the planet.
For lunch, we ate at this awesome little place around the corner, which featured cabbage salad, corn soup, and raw beef that cooked on a little skillet in front of you. It sounds strange, but you could doctor it up with all these sauces and it smelled like a BBQ. I miss grilled food so much that I just want to highlight it with a hashtag (because I am obsessed with Instablogging my life right now) as #peaklunchexperience.
They went off to run in yet another hash race, while Cullan and I took a train to Kamakura to see one of the Great Buddha’s in Japan (my city actually has one of them!), visit the Buddhist temple Hase-dera (長谷寺?), and indulge in sweet potato/matcha ice cream.
Soon to be followed by some very un-ZEN-like train confusion getting out of the city.
Cullan was staying later to visit with his brother, while I took an earlier Shinkansen, only to get sucked into Gone Girl, miss my connecting stop, travel almost an hour north into another prefecture. UGH. I had to take two more trains to get home, making the trip twice as long. I collapsed onto my futon fully clothed just shy of midnight. Yes, was a jam-packed Japanese weekend.