Day 13 of Japan: Return to Tokyo and Akihabara

The return to Tokyo left us tired, but victorious — text is now complete below!

We took the shinkansen (“bullet train”) back to Tokyo (first 12 pictures are of this trip). With all baggage in tow, we climbed into the subway trains to try and find our new hotel, which was “Sumisho Hotel” — we wanted to stay at the New Izu again, but they had no Japanese-style rooms available when we booked. However, when we finally found the Sumisho Hotel (their website map was terrible), we were quite disappointed — the receptionist was very unfriendly and spoke very little English, our room was smaller than we expected for the price and rather poorly lit, and then we found the ultimate reason we left — there was no internet in the room. We went downstairs and talked to the receptionist to find that when they said on their website that “It is possible in all of the guest room[s]” to access the internet what they meant was that there was one single old laptop, with an odd-colored screen running an out-of-date version of Linux, chained by the front desk that we could use “free of charge.” When we tried it, Andrew had to fix it to let it even run an internet browser, and even then it crashed on every other webpage. We then explained to the receptionist that we had to cancel our 3-night reservation, which we luckily could do free of charge, because we were business people and needed internet access in our rooms. Anyway…

We climbed back on the subway, across town to the New Izu hotel, and found they luckily had a Japanese style room for three nights! (Their website said they only had Western-style rooms, which are generally cheaper, and we were willing to settle for that by this time.) We highly recommend the New Izu hotel (near Ueno station) to anyone staying in Tokyo — they’re a 5 minute walk from a major subway station, they have very friendly staff with good English, great little Japanese-style rooms with amazing bathrooms/showers, a nice common room (though we never really used it), quite affordable and reasonable for what you get, high-speed internet in every room, and just great overall — best place we stayed at in Japan. We didn’t take pictures of our new room because it was just like the first place we stayed at (though the pictures don’t quite do it justice).

It poured for an hour or so that afternoon, but quickly stopped. We grabbed a lunch while waiting it out. Again we went to Pronto — it’s a block from the New Izu and has very tasty, filling meals (even for us fat Americans!). We’d only gotten breakfast before, but lunch was also quite good — the Japanese understand Italian food well because of the noodles factor, I think.

We then hopped on the subway to Akihabara again, where Teisha captured some wild “Kapibarasan” stuffed animals (yes, right now capybaras are a big thing in Japan — they’ve got their own cartoon show!).

After a while of claw machines and other fun shopping at Akihabara, we went back to the area around Ueno station, our “home base,” to explore it some more. There are lots of shopping alleys that really come to life in this area at night. We got dinner at a little cheap bar sitting place that, while the food looked good, was pretty terrible — very greasy and fatty. It just goes to show you that you get what you pay for.

The following pictures (after dinner) are of the Ueno shopping area. Lots of cute little shops, and we even found several claw machine arcades. This time you could win your clothing detergent from a claw machine! Imagine the daily savings. And, as always, pachinko is everywhere. Also of note, the streets of Tokyo are always empty — people pretty much only take the subway, and the traffic is mainly made up of taxis, though there never really is any “traffic” that we saw. If only the U.S. could embrace public transportation more, instead of everyone wanting their own personal bubble everywhere…


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