Team Tokyo: Day 1: Asakusa

Team Tokyo Players
Kevin (Canadian, based in Kamisu)
Helen (English, based in Joetsu)
Belinda (Australian/Kiwi/English/confused based in Kamisu)
Nick (American, based in Hitachiomiya)
Nikki (American, based in Hitachi)
Matt (American, based in Hitachi)
Jennika (American, based in Kamisu)
Nobu (Tokyo local, friend of Matt)

Saturday morning Nick and I left the comfort and relative safety of life in Hitachiomiya to rendezvous with a few of our fellow ALT’s to celebrate 5 days ‘without the kids’ in Tokyo. As the oldest of the group and a self proclaimed organisation freak I found myself detailing the where/what/whens (doko/nani/itsus) of the trip while the others (especially the boys) seemed happy enough to be shepherded around in a somewhat orderly fashion.

Our first day in Tokyo started around lunch time with the depositing of bags at the Ace Inn Hostel and Nick and I meeting with Kevin, Belinda and Helen to get things started. A quick phone call to Nikki established that our American friend hadn’t departed home yet and would be joining us later on. So the first 5 members of Team Tokyo trundled off to negotiate our first Chikatetsu (tube/subway/train) journey in Japan’s capital. It was almost a success…we just got a little excited at our arrival and got carried away talking so went a few stops too far!

We mended our ways (thanks to Helen’s enquiries) and soon arrived at Asakusa to take in the awe of Nakamise Dori (a street filled with stalls of food and Japanese wares) that leads to Senso-ji Temple. We shuffled along with thousands of other visitors to reach our destination. We survived the heaving crowds, took our happy snaps and lamented that the main temple is under renovation…and therefore under scaffolding. The story of my sightseeing life.

In a mild state of depression and desperately needing sustenance at this stage, we grabbed a late lunch and indulged in a slightly odd but tasty Japanese treat (well at least us girls did…Nick and Kevin just watched in amusement!). What I can only describe as ‘fish shaped waffle sandwiches’ were purchased with preferred fillings…green tea, chestnut and custard cream…and consumed rapidly. At this point a check in with Nikki revealed she was on a train…somewhere…not in Tokyo…and that we should carry on without her.

So we did. We ventured back to our hostel to check in and investigate the ‘capsule’ style living arrangements for the next 4 nights. I think Kevin rather aptly likened the capsule arrangement to a ‘timber morgue’. The good thing about hostels is that you are really only there to sleep…having said that, I am not sure I will be returning to Ace Inn any time soon! After mooching about in our coffins for a while we were joined by Nikki and the collective decided on a civilised ramen dinner followed by a spot of shopping in Shinjuku and a few quiet drinks. Not satisfied that the night was over, Nikki and Helen hit the town afterwards while the rest of us preferred the option of sleep…

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