I was up close to 6 am today after I went to bed early the night before. I ended up grabbing the camera and going out for a walk around the city while Hiro caught up on some beauty sleep. We had to be out of the hotel by 11 so I had some time to kill and an empty stomach bugging me. I was crossing my fingers I'd find a open ramen restaurant on a Sunday morning but after some wandering around and picture taking, mostly on film, I hadn't come across anything. In the end I tried out one of the curry rice restaurants close to the hotel. Off hand it was nothing amazing but still delicious in a bind.
One of the things I still have some trouble with is going to restaurants by myself in Tokyo. It's not that I don't know how to order, that's easy enough in Japanese, but finding what I want to order has been a small struggle at times. Between the stylized menus, which are more often out front or on the walls and the heavy kanji use of some places it's made for a sometimes difficult realization as to what I think I'm ordering and what I'm actually ordering.
The curry house had a lot of choices between amounts of rice, spicy ness levels and toppings and after a little initial confusion it all worked out. I guess I need to accept having to make some mistakes for the sake of learning. I actually don't mind it, but it's a little more difficulty when you do it infront of a crowd.
After catching up with my friend we walked to the Shinkansen station and met up with another friend to have a quick lunch before heading back to Tokyo. Here's the quirky thing about eating at restaurants in Japan. Here the restaurants are often smaller than the standard ones in Canada. They house less customers but the density of people within the areas of where those restaurants are located is much much higher. A quiet day around some streets in Tokyo has more people traffic than a really busy Boxing day sale in West Edmonton Mall. Needless to say this can make for a you time getting into some restaurants.
Following lunch and the speedy ride back to Tokyo, I ended up dropping my luggage off at home, spending some time catching up with my girlfriend via FaceTime (I really love technology some days) and then grading my camera bag and making it out to Shibuya and Yebisu Garden Square for a little night photography and some wandering the streets with some good ambient music.
Shibuya is well known for the huge intersection where all traffic stops and everyone crosses at the same time. It's a rather big understatement but the amount of people there can be staggering and the hassle and bustle of it all a little disorienting, especially when you're right in the middle. It does however make for a great spot to people watch when you stand yourself at one of the corners. I definitely want to come back here one evening.
Yebisu Garden Center on the other hand is much quieter and right now a very romantic place to takes one's significant other. It was the place I had been a few days prior for the lighting ceremony. I had wanted to come back during a quieter time and it was really close to Shibuya station. Right now a lot of Christmas lights are up and on and it really feels like a great place to just sit around and enjoy.
I didn't however get a chance to get the shots I wanted. As it turns out I'd have to come back during twilight otherwise the contrast between the lights and the actual surroundings is just too big for a nice shot.
I ended up coming home a little earlier than usual as I had to wake up at 6 to set off towards Niigata. My train from Tokyo was set to leave at 9:22 am and it usually takes me about 50 min to get there.