Sunday, June 17, 2007

From Roppongi to Minowa in a taxi

So, let me apologize! Grr! I am such a bad person. You see, the thing is, I am very busy. I wish that I had time to blog everyday. I don't. Sorry! I have been trying to do it every few days, but almost a week is crazy! Anyway, how is everybody doing? I am fantastic! Emotionally magnificent.

So, I have had some great reading sessions as of late, and some great conversations. Many times, I have to end the conversation early due to time, and that stinks. Grr! I get a little upset, but I cannot leave the next person waiting. Basically, Wednesday and Thursday were great. Great, great. Friday and Saturday were adventures.

First of all, I never thought that I would ever go to Tokyo, let alone twice, so I am truly blessed. Anyway, we left the church around 7:30 Friday morning to hop onto a bus that would take us to Tokyo. Sweet! We got on there and I read basically an entire book (300 plus pages) by the time we got into Tokyo (about 3 hours). Wow. Oh, we were able to see Mt. Fuji on the way! Great!! We got into Tokyo around 10:30 and we were at Ueno Station, so we decided to look for a hotel. The night before, Adam and I got on the computer and checked out hotels, but we got tired of trying to read Japanese so we gave up and were just going to wing it. In the station are tourists maps, so we grabbed one and noticed a ton of hotels nearby. 45 minutes to an hour later still no hotel. They were all pretty expensive. We decided to give up, so we headed to Ueno Park so we could go to the zoo. I do not think that I have ever been to a zoo, and if I had, I cannot remember. Anyway, we walked into Ueno Park and there were a ton of people there. Homeless people as well. We were about to go eat pizza (first time since we have been here. Yata!) when this crazy dude walked up to us and carried on a conversation for like 30 minutes. His English was great and he has got to hold the record for initiating and holding a conversation for the longest time. Ever. This dude was amazing. Finally, we were able to get rid of him, so we ate our delicious pizzas (yes, more than one), and made our way to the zoo. 600 Yen. Not bad at all. Once there, it was pretty awesome. WE GOT TO SEE LING LING THE FAMOUS GIANT PANDA! Yippee!! That was great. We also saw lions, tigers, bears, oh my! Zebras, gorillas, monkeys, bush babies, giraffes, toucans, polar bears, Japanese birds, elephants, this miniature deer that was awesome, hippos, pygmy hippos (too cute!), rhinos, crocodiles, king cobra, and pretty much everything else that you can think of. It was terrific. We realized that it was about 4:30, so we figured we needed to find that hotel pretty quickly. We got out of Ueno Park and went underground into the subway station nearby. We finally found a tourist help desk, and they helped us find a cheap hotel nearby. She gave us a map and we headed to Minowa station. Once out the station, we were met with a crowd of people, and we were already lost. We had gone right instead of left, so we wound up walking for about 45 minutes until we finally found it: The New Kayo Hotel. We got three single rooms (2700 yen each), and one double room (4800 yen) and cleaned up a bit. I was bunking with Holly.

Around 6, we headed for Tokyo Tower. We had about 3 stops to go from our station, so when we got out of the subway it was pitch black outside. We got into the tower and it was awesome. Tokyo is beautiful! Amazing. Around 9 we were all pretty much starving, so we headed back to the subway and headed for Roppongi to splurge at Hard Rock Cafe. We got there around 9:30 and did not get a table until about 10. It felt good to sit. We were able to get free refills, so we all ordered drinks, at 500 yen apiece. Adam and I ordered a coke and it was the best coke that I have ever had. Amazing. I gulped it down and asked for another. I ordered this chicken pasta cheese dinner and it was delicious. We were debating about dessert, so we went ahead and got this ginormous chocolate fundge brownie sundae and it was fantastic. The thing was huge!! HUGE!! four of us split it. We got the bill and for the five of us it was like 14080 yen. Wow. Mine alone was close to 30 U.S. dollars. It was worth it. We left Hard Rock about midnight and were wiped out. We bought our subway ticket to go back to the hotel, but when we went down the trains were not running. Uh oh.

We went to the guard and he said that subways do not run up after midnight. Great. We were in southwest Tokyo and our hotel was way away in northeast Tokyo. The only other option was a cab. Here it is, Friday night, almost 12:30 and we are in crazy crowded Roppongi. A long way from home.

I have always felt safe in Japan, very safe, but Roppongi is so crowded that it just seemed a little shady to me. It reminds me of Times Square in New York City. Full of bars, restaurants, and clubs. And many many people. Foreigners and Japanese. We were waiting for a taxi, and we pretty much knew that they would not let five people ride in a taxi together, so when the first one came up Adam went with Holly and Tyler. Shane and I waited for a few more minutes and got into the next one. I told the dude where we were going and he looked a little confused, but he took off anyway. The others were still in the taxi, idleing. I'm pretty sure I misspelled that. Anyway, at every stop our driver would turn on the light and look at his map until he seemed confident where he was going. We had a long way to go so Shane and I just hung out in the back not speaking as out non-English speaking cab driver took us through Tokyo. Finally, about 20 minutes later we made it. The streets were clear, and our cabbie drove like 70 kph, so it was great. We paid 5870 for the ride. The others were still not there. We went into our rooms, and about 10 minutes later the others showed up. It was close to 2 a.m. and we had to be at Ueno station at 10 to meet Bryan and Takeshi. Sleep tight.

So, that was Friday. A day full of memories and plenty of stories. "This one time, I was in Tokyo and we were lost for about an hour." "If you are ever in Tokyo, make sure you look at the subway schedule, or you will be taking the expensive way home." By the way, if we had taken the subway home it would have been 290 yen. The taxi was wayyy more. Oh well. We got home to the hotel safe and sound.

I am tired so I will write about our Saturday day tomorrow. I hope that everybody had a great Father's day! I miss you dad! Love you all! Until then...

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