Sayonara Japan

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This was our last day in Japan. There was no need to rush because our flight was scheduled for 9:00 pm, leaving plenty of time for some final exploration. We needed to check out from our hotel by 11:00 am but they would hold our bags for collection later.

Majella and I were up at our usual time. We had to wake Sophie when Hannah called in Facebook Messenger a bit before 9:00 am. She had messaged last night that Callum was keen to talk to Sophie while she was in Japan and I suggested a time this morning. We all chatted with Hannah and Callum for a while and Claire and Matt made brief appearances. That got Sophie moving and by 9:30 am we were checking out.

Majella had put together a list of places she thought we could go. First was the Sky Tree tower. Our subway passes from yesterday were valid until 10:21 am so we used those as far as Asakusa where we changed to the Sky Tree line which is not part of the system. Our Icoca cards from Kansai had enough value still and worked to get us on the train.

The day was overcast with occasional showers and some mist so there was little point in paying to go up the tower. In any case Majella seemed more interested in exploring the quirky shopping. We started in Banana Tree with weird and wonderful products like langue de chat (banana flavoured biscuits in the shape of a cat tongue), progressed through the fruit and vegetable section upstairs, visited a cheese shop selling cheesecake but no apparent cheese, and finished with coffee and a huge soda for Sophie in the Moomin Cafe sitting with a stuffed animal. You would have to do it for the experience rather than the coffee. We did visit some other stores as we meandered through three floors but that’s enough for the flavour of the adventure.

We caught a train back to Asakusa and found our way to the temple market where we had been twice yesterday. Some more gift shopping was accomplished before we caught the subway back to Ueno Station. Our Icoca cards were still working. Sophie and I were down to about 130 yen on ours but Majella had more. She must have taken a free ride on an earlier trip.

When I checked details this morning for getting to the airport I found that the Narita Express was covered by our JR passes but required reservations. At Ueno we found a JR office and arranged reservations on the 16:33 Narita Express.

Then it was on to Majella’s next destination, the Ameyoko Shopping Street, which was a short walk from Ueno Station. We picked up some light snacks – ham and lettuce crepe for Sophie, strawberries on a skewer for Majella, a skewer of chicken pieces for me – as we wandered the length of the street doing a little more gift shopping as we went.

Majella’s final destination was the Akihabara Electric Town, ostensibly to see the multi-storey building with different categories of electronics on each floor. Akihabara district was two stops away along the railway we had been following down the shopping street so we kept on walking until we reached the district. Our problem then was that all Majella knew about the building was that it existed. We wandered about and checked a few without success.

By then Majella had revealed that the real target was an appliance store that sold toilets. She asked a couple of random people who kindly directed her to the nearest restroom as she struggled to explain what she was really looking for. Eventually we spotted a large building advertising brands including LG and surmised it might sell appliances. It did and we found the right floor but even there it required some effort to be directed elsewhere than to the restroom. Eventually we found them, just seats and associated control panels hanging on a wall with price tags up to 70000 yen (about $900). Majella declared ‘mission accomplished’ and we headed for the station and Ueno.

On our way from Ueno Station to the hotel we stopped to eat lunch. Majella and I had ginger pork and Sophie had pork with egg. All the meals had rice, some fresh vegetables and soup. We hoped ‘lunner’ would hold us until Jetstar feeds us and we can get breakfast at Coolangatta.

We picked up our bags and Majella got her goodies for reviewing the hotel on Facebook. Then it was back to Ueno Station, the Narita Express, and all the airport formalities. 

We are now waiting for our flight which will not board for another hour. It’s been lots of fun and mostly went to plan.