Oh dear. The day started off with Randy feeling a bit under the weather….and by 11AM he was puking up a storm. We’re not sure if it was because of his dinner, his mystery lunch (oyster? we’re not quite sure what was in that breaded ball) or a 24-hour flu. But he’s been in the hotel room all day and just now (at 8:40PM) has started to have his first bit of food (some crackers I bought for him during my travels).
And yes, I did end up doing a bit of traveling. Living out of a hotel room means that there is not much room to give each other space (Tokyo hotel rooms are notoriously small as it is). Anyway, though glad that he wasn’t stuck in Tokyo sick and alone, he understandably needed some peace and quiet so I headed out to see the Imperial Palace and Ginza district.
The Imperial Palace was a let down. Granted, the cloudy weather didn’t help. But the palace is in the heart of the city surrounded by a moat. However, you’re only allowed in what they call the gardens – and their idea of gardens is a bunch of bonzai type trees (about 10 feet tall, so not really bonsai – they’re just groomed like them) on flat grassy areas that you’re not allowed to walk on. The rest of the ‘garden’ consists of huge driveways and what appear to be parking areas for tour buses. It wasn’t even worth taking pictures – but here are a few looking onto the Palace grounds (across the second moat).
Fortunately, just south of the Imperial Palace Gardens is a lovely little park called Hibaya Koen. I climbed this little hill, sat down and looked down upon some young boys and girls playing tennis (and saw my first homeless person).
I then walked along the paths toward Ginza – which once was the premiere shopping district in Tokyo. Tour guides described it as a smaller area and that other areas have taken over in prominence in the past few decades. I was expecting something along the lines of Newbury Street (Boston) or Union Square (San Francisco). What I found was Las Vegas. As with every other square inch of this city, this area is packed with neon and glitz. It’s such an amazing sight.
After that, I decided to take the Yamanote rail line which loops around the core of Tokyo. Being after dusk, I figured it’d give me a good overview of the city and let me pass through key areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya (the JR Yamoanote line is an elevated “subway” line). Provided Randy feels better tomorrow, Shinjuku is definitely on my list of things to see. It looked like block after block of bright lights/big city. Neon as far as the eye can see, tall buildings, and hordes of people (the train station is apparently the busiest in the world…with 2 million people passing through each day). That one train station gets four times the population of the entire city of Boston. EEK!
Anyway, I need to go back to taking care of Randy. He’s finally up and about, drinking the Polcari Sweat I bought him (a water drink fortified with electrolytes to prevent dehydration). Now if he can keep that (and the crackers) down, we should have a fun tomorrow!
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