We rise early, hangover kept at bay (luckily) and head out into the city…. deep breath…
The first port of call is a breakfast at the not-so-Japanese Denny’s! We point and smile through the menu, whilst the attending maid, wearing Americana service-culture attire laughs, bows, nods her way through our order. We are all a little nervous over this breakfast, it seems.
With much relief we get our order correct (with the help of Google Translate), pay our bill and head out to the Metropolitan Government Building for a stunning view of this sprawling metropolis. Cassie and I argue over whether Mt Fuji is really on the horizon (me) or is in fact a cloud over the distant hills (myopic, ‘forgot my glasses’ Cassie). Turns out I am the winner. The streets are amazingly clean and uncluttered and my first thought is I’m walking IN Ridge Racer, it feels well-known already, and I like the city’s vibe a lot.
After venturing through Shinjuku Gyoen (gardens), we hit our first temple, Meiji Jingu. After entering through the giant Torii gate, we glimpse this shrine through the dense trees after a long avenue. The temple bubbles with people praying and taking pictures; we head over to a tree surrounded by little wooden prayer tablets, each was inscribed with wishes ranging from world peace to wishing that people would respect Kanye West more as an artist, despite his twatty behaviour. One can only hope the wishes are granted in order of importance and not on a ‘first come, first served’ basis!!!
We took part in the ritual of cleansing ourselves at the Temizuya (font) then proceeded to the main temple to perform what seems like patting your head and rubbing your stomach... how did it go again... bow twice... clap... er... bow... hmmmm.
Beyond clean streets, the helpful and good-natured locals, and vending machines in unexpected places.
Couldn't find a bin... how can a spotless city have no public bins in a park? Suspicious!