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Apr '11

Last few words

I think we owe you one last post to tell you about the events of the last few days we were – yes, we are back in The Netherlands safely, although Sybren’s baggage still needs to arrive – in Tokyo

Tuesday we headed out to see a few malls. The end of our trip was coming in view and we still needed souvenirs to bring back. To make sure we would find some, we headed out and made our way through a lot of malls. Some had wide (5m) pathways, others had tiny (0.5) ones.
Well actually there is not much to tell about, you all know the drill.

After getting tired of seeing shop after shop and souvenir after souvenir, we went to our hotel to rest a bit before getting ourselves some dinner.
This time we headed south to get some food. Since there are only a few restaurants with an English menu, we had to search for quite a while. But in the end we found a small restaurant with cheering people as we entered. To the right of the entrance there was a Japanese style dinner, where people sat on the ground at low tables, passing food and sake to each other. That area was full, so we got an actual table. We ordered our food and a beer. As the beer arrived, Sybren stated as the fool he is: “Drinks are on me.” When we finished our food we drank a few more, payed and went back to our hotel.

The next day we would go to Mt. Fuji. But as we got up, Sybren did some research on how to get there and it turns out it is actually a 3 hour trip to get there. Besides, it would not be smart for us to climb it, since there was still ice on the track and it would be dangerous for amateur hikers like us. So we passed this, and we went out for another souvenir hunt.
Tuesday, we didn’t succeed in buying every souvenir we wanted. Marcel did get some games he wanted to bring home, but not much else.

So we checked the internet to see where we should get our souvenirs. Turns out Shinjuku would be the place to be; Meaning, we got on the train and got to Shinjuku. There we found some more duty free shops and bought some more souvenirs, while stopping at the occasional arcade hall.
When we got our bags filled with souvenirs and our stomaches drained from fuel, we got back to Akihabara and searched for yet another restaurant.
This time we headed to the east of Akihabara. We found a casual Japanese style restaurant with an English menu, so we asked for a table and the menu chart. To get to our table we would need to get out of our shoes and get to a table that was placed in a gap, so it would seem you sat on the ground, but actually there would be enough space for you legs to actually sit. The waitress knelt down next to us to take our orders. We ordered some beef, pork, omelet and a bowl of rice. When the food was brought, we finally got an explanation on how to actually eat the Japanese meals. Turns out that every meal in a hot bowl with a raw egg on top it, is a meal that needs to be turned a few times, the egg will bake from the heat of the bowl. And so we mixed the ingredients together. It was a very delicious spiced rice bowl. And with some pork terikyaki and some beef we ate our dinner.

After finishing our meals we thought about the wasabi achievement we had on our list and so we asked for two teaspoons of wasabi. The waitress was not sure what we would need that for, since we already finished our meals. So we explained, or tried to and apparently she understood because a few minutes later she returned with a wooded spoon with wasabi on it. She asked: “Is this correct?” “Yes, we need one more” And soon after the second spoon got delivered to our table.
The amounts on the spoons were not the same, but we made sure it was and we put the wasabi in our mouths. Not swallowing it right away.
It wasn’t actually as spicy as everybody might think. Sure we felt it, but after swallowing the burning feeling was gone instantly. Disappointed by the level of spiciness, but satisfied with nailing yet another achievement we left the restaurant.

We headed out to see what this Karaoke thing in Japan is all about. We went north because there was the main street of Akihabara and we figured some kind of karaoke bar would be available there. We got to a Big Echo and asked for a karaoke room.
It would be 450 per 30 minutes and you would need to buy at least one drink. We got a room for 30 minutes and got to that room. When we arrived we needed some time to figure out how this works. With a wireless touch-screen device we would be able to select the songs and then we would be singing through the microphones (Yeah, really).
Since Sybren is not very known with any music Marcel queued the first song.
As we finished this first song, a phone rang. We looked around and found a phone hanging on the wall, Sybren answered: “Yeah, hello, this is Sybren speaking”, “you finish? or extend?” “extend”
Of course the 30 minutes were not really over. But that is probably how the business is. At least we now knew how to queue songs and so we sang a few more. The phone rang again, “finish or extend?” “extend please, and could we get another 2 beers?”, “two beer, oke!”
We enjoyed the Karaoke for another hour and then we went down again to see the damage to our wallets. As to be expected the beer we ordered was expensive. We went out and we went back to our hotel.

Back in the hotel we did some research on how to be able to enjoy mount Fuji without climbing it. Apparently, it was possible to get a clear view of the mountain from a few lakes nearby.

The next day we got up early and got a train to lake Kawaguchi, one of the five lakes near Mt. Fuji. When we arrived there we found beautiful weather awaiting us and so we started walking to a nearby hill to get a clear shot on the mountain.
We got there by buying a one way cable cart ticket. On top of the mountain we did indeed get a clear shot on the mountain and took a few pictures.
The way back down would be 40 minutes by walking. We took another path. However this was not the path we needed, which we only discovered when we walked it down a few miles. We turned around to climb back up the hill and get down on the other side.
Marcel took a look at the time, to see wether we would be able to beat the time. And indeed we did beat it.
We managed to get down in only 9 minutes, instead of the 40 minutes the board claimed it would take.

We got back by train and walked around Akihabara for the remaining time of the day. We spent some more time – and our last few 100 Yen coins – in the arcade halls and after having stuffed ourselves with some dinner we got back to hotel and went to sleep. The next day would be our departure.

buyed some souvenirs, enjoyed the view at lake Kawaguchi, ate wasabi and enjoyed karaoke.

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