After the first night we awoke on the floor under our towel like blankets, and experienced the first of many bizarre Japanese bathrooms. In my brother’s bathroom is a washing machine, to the left is a door to a toilet with a sink on it, and to the right of the washing machine is a bath/shower room. The whole shower room is shower proofed so no leaky floors or anything, even outside the shower there’s a drain. The shower itself is more of a shwub, it’s above 3 feet tall on the side you have to climb on in. The water come from the sink with a nozel and handle to switch between sink and shower. This isn’t the last time I’ll describe bathrooms by the way. . .
After getting ready and packing bags for a few days in Tokyo, Tim took us to the train station where we got our JR Passes and experienced our first real, true, Japanese experience. McDonald’s. It tastes very similar to what you get in America, and in my opinion the McDonald’s in France was way better, but I got the baby shrimp patty, and it was surprisingly awesome. It’s like a crabcake, but with baby scrimpies and topped with a thousand island dressing and a little lettuce. It was better than any fish filet I’ve ever had, so take that for what it is.
When we’d finished we hopped on the shinkansen(bullet train) and were on our way to Tokyo! We had reservations at the Shinjuku Washington just West of the train station. Something that’s important to know, Shinjuku Eki(station) is the busiest train station in the world with over three million people riding it’s lines per day. It can be a little daunting when you go from a smaller city feel of Nagoya to be thrown right into the fire of Shinjuku, but that’s the locale where we thrive! The station itself has several malls in it, as well as the hugest food market I’ve ever seen. I mean you can spend days, and days, and weeks in the desserts section of the market without trying everything. The oshinko(pickled vegetables) stands had between 10-40 different types of pickled fruits and vegetables per stand. I spent almost an hour just looking at a varietal of sakes and shochus(distilled rice alcohol). Drew explored the baked goods until finding a delicious pretzel delight. I sampled everything I could from pickles to squid to dried meats and bizarre breads. I have video of it, but no pictures because there were about 30,000 people in the market.
But that’s going out of order, we really got off the train and immediately tried to find the hotel. We walked and walked and walked some more getting more and more lost, and then there was a sign for the hotel and we found it. We entered where it said lobby, and then it turned out that we were in the annex hotel which was next door. We went next door and took the elevator up to the 21st floor and enter our first Japanese hotel room! It was amazing at how different it is from an American Hotel. We’re so used to having a couple twin beds with a tv and some space to walk around, not in Japan. They whole room was about the size of a small bedroom. It was a thin hallway that led to a full size bed and a tv. There’s also a bathroom, so it’s time for bathroom story number 2! This toilet had a bidet, that shot not just cold water, but heated water, and you can pick if you’re a girl or a boy, all these options are on what looks like an arm rest. . . The shower was the same as Tim’s though. It was the faucet cross over combo with the sink. But this is where I’m going to drop off for today. That night we did go out, but we went to one of the most special and memorable places in all of Japan that Drew and I explored. We also got the video card for the TV, but these will wait for next post!!