Tokyo Time: Sleeping in Parks isn’t as Bad as You’d Think

The unfortunate thing about living on an island is that there are only two ways off: ferry and airplane.  Since the airplane is expensive (and only goes to Nagasaki City), I usually take the ferry.  This was the case for my trip to Tokyo and Yokohama.

However, late in the summer, the amount of ferries per day are reduced.  In order to save money, I’d booked an earlier flight to Tokyo (circa 7:00am).  Unfortunately, there weren’t any ferries that would get me to Fukuoka by, say, 5:00am.  In fact, the closest one to my plane ride arrived in the big F at about 9:00pm.

The view of Tenjin in the wee-small hours of the morning from a comfortable spot of granite in the park.

The view of Tenjin in the wee-small hours of the morning from a comfortable spot of granite in the park.

In other words, I had a solid eight hours to waste before I could go to the airport to catch my flight.

Did you know?

Domestic Japanese airports actually have a closing time.  Thus, if your plane leaves at 7am, you actually can’t enter the airport until about 6am.  Also, the subways don’t run from about Midnight to 6am.  So if you were planning on sleeping at the airport (like I was), that’s not gonna work.

I spent the first four hours waiting for/watching Harry Potter 6 again (third time, awesome!).  The following two hours were me staring at the river and thinking about random, random things.  From about 3am to 4:30am, I napped.  At 4:30, a man woke me up saying (in Japanese), “It’s really dangerous to sleep in parks, what are you thinking?”

I waved my hand about, poo-pooing his point.  “It’s Japan.  It’s totally safe.”

Then we talked for about an hour.  Then I went to the train station to go to the airport.

And see?  Nothing happened.  Because Japan is safe.

I would not suggest trying this on Honshu.  Kyushu’s way safer than Honshu.

In any case, got to Tokyo, got lost trying to find my hostel.  Found hostel.  Dropped bags off, went walking around Asakusa, and this is what I found:

The blue bridge is the correct bridge to cross when trying to find the Khaosan International Hostel: Asakusa Annex.

The blue bridge is the correct bridge to cross when trying to find the Khaosan International Hostel: Asakusa Annex.

Senso-ji, the famous Thing To See in Asakusa.  There were two Starbucks within walking distance.  Gets my stamp of approval.

Senso-ji, the famous Thing To See in Asakusa. There were two Starbucks within walking distance. Gets my stamp of approval.

Just in case Paul Bunyan needs some shoes when he visits Japan, they've got some 12-footers for him.

Just in case Paul Bunyan needs some shoes when he visits Japan, they've got some 12-footers for him.

Senso-ji is Tokyo’s oldest temple (completed in 645, though it’s probably burned down plenty of times since then, like the rest of Tokyo).  It’s dedicated to the goddess Kannon–meaning it’s Buddhist, not Shinto.  Just so you know.  It has a really big set of lanterns in the main entrance.  I didn’t take a picture of the ginormous lanterns because when I visited Tomo-chan in 2005/2006 (I went over New Years), I took pictures of them then.  I had a much greater appreciation for it this time, though, being as I actually understood more about Japanese culture.  Yeah, I was a bit of a spaz.

After more wandering around, and a bit more after that, and some more after that, and then a bit of light reading at a Starbucks, I made my way back to the hostel, moved my bags up to my room, and inquired about a Mexican Restaurant.  Turns out there’s a pretty good one in Shinjuku (the main JR–Japan Rail–station in Tokyo).  It took some effort to get there (I got lost), but I eventually managed it, wandered around some more, and stumbled onto the restaurant mostly by chance at around 7pm.  There I met a very nice Floridan and Japanese girl and we had dinner together and talked nonsense and I ate, wait for it, AN ENCHILADA.

So good.

So good.

In case I haven’t mentioned it before, Iki isn’t very well known for it’s foreign food.  They have Japanese and Chinese.  And the Chinese is pretty Japanese-ified.  Well, and I guess they have American food if that means hamburgers, pizza, and Japanese-ified pasta.

Anyway, I like to eat foreign food when I travel.

This was a great example.  I forget the name of the restaurant.  It’s by a Krispy Kreme (also awesome).  The Krispy Kreme is right next to a Starbucks.

I loved Shinjuku.

After eating, I went back to the hotel for sleep.  Because I hadn’t gotten much the night before when I took a nap in a park.

My little wooden box of sleepy-ness.

My little wooden box of sleepy-ness.

More to come!  (Hopefully.)  For now, I’m off to Japanese Fan Dancing.  Here’s hoping I actually remember my routine.  I’m sleepy.

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