Breakfast was pastries that we got last evening when we bought our dinner, from a bakery that, rather surreally, had all of the pastries labelled in Italian (in Japanese katakana) & then the English name below, also in katakana. In the picture above is my cappucino bread- it was delicious! It was made like a melon pan, which is yeast bread with a layer of sweet cookie on top, but coffee-flavoured. I also had cold green tea & part of an orange. Also in the picture is Pikachu & the cute socks Momo gave me yesterday that are okapi-patterned.
Today's major goals were to get our Japan Rail passes & to shop. We bought the rail passes in the US & then you have to turn them in at the right office, along with a bit more paperwork & show your passport, after which you are issued rail passes that work on all of the JR Line trains. We decided to head out to Shinjuku Station around 9:00 am to see if the ticket office was open. On the short walk over there, the incredible mass of humanity streaming from the station made us think twice about even going in that direction, so we stopped off at our nearby Starbucks instead for a hobbit-like second breakfast. After about half an hour the people thinned out (there were a lot of people running out of the station as we watched, clearly late for work) & we felt we'd successfully be able to swim upstream, so we went to the office & found that it opened at 11:00 (it was then a little after 10:00).
So, we went shopping instead! I had some definite shopping plans, based on yesterday's excursion to Tokyu Hands & Takashimaya, so we split up & Charlie & Brendan agreed to meet me at 11:00 & then decide what to do next. I headed to Yuzawaya, by way of Uniqlo (which I just wanted to see), & had a great time looking at yarn & crochet books.
The other thing I really wanted to photograph yesterday was a sign that had Brendan in absolute giggles yesterday, after coming back from a bathroom trip while we were at the restaurant:
After Lunch we went back to the train station, discovered that the office that was closed at 10:00 wasn't the right office after all, & so one map & two inquiries later, found the right place! We got our rail passes & also reserved our seats on the trains tomorrow, for the next leg of our trip, going to the southern island of Kyushu to visit friends. The ladies in the train office were lovely & very helpful.
It's another hot, sunny day in Tokyo & I'm really glad that our hotel is so close to so many cool things to do! I'm also glad of the sun, in small doses :) Brendan & I are both pleased by how easy it feels to communicate this time. For example, I bought 2 copies of one of the crochet books, one for a friend & one for me, & when the checkout lady asked me if I wanted 2 copies, I not only understood her question, but was able to explain why I wanted two. I am really enjoying the smiling faces of the people we speak to :D
This afternoon we're taking it easy. Charlie & Brendan want to try the ofuro (Japanese-style bathtub) & it's too hot to go far outside right now anyway. Later we'll go back & get dinner & breakfast across the way at Takashimaya, just like yesterday. Tomorrow at 9:30 am we board the shinkansen (bullet train) for Kyushu, & after one train change & ~6 hours, we'll get to see friends we haven't seen for 4 years!