Martin Matsuri Exp. – pt. 4 – final

Yes, this is a telephone pole. And no, it is not made of wood...concrete.

After clearing out of Peter’s in the morning, we hop the subway across town to our next hostel/hotel, Sakura Hotel. We check in to what we think will be a 2 person room but end up with a 5 person room to ourselves! We drop our gear and head off to the largest temple in Tokyo,which is really neat to see, but what I really like is the pagoda just off to side of the temple. Steve is sorta hungry so we start trying the many food venders at the temple. I end up eating some beef noodle deliciousness (yakisoba) followed by some octopus balls, (takoyaki) not my fav. We do a little gift shopping on the way out of the temple without really finding any shirts or other things for good souvenirs. So Steve suggests we head to Shibuya. Another train ride later and we are looking for “the intersection.” We walk around the first block and are a little stumped, but figure we must have walked out the wrong train exit to be right at the square. Sure enough, we find it about two blocks away in the opposite direction of before. Shibuya square is a really awesome experience. The word awesome is over used anymore so I am sure it lost some of it’s gusto in the last sentence but it is worth the “yennies” and time to see it. My brother likened it to time square. We take some pictures from Starbucks for those of you that have been there and move on. We are walking to find some t-shirt shops and Shibuya is known to be the trendy shopping district of Tokyo. As we go by a grocery store, I see a sight I was certain I would not see and had joked about trying to find…pretty good build up, huh? I had spied a Square Watermelon! The price on it was outrageous but pictures are free. As we walk on a bit further, we go down an alley and find a really cool photo opportunity of this Repsol replica bike. This alley oozed atmosphere. We do some shopping and don’t have much luck, but we do have some luck on the dinner frontier. Steve likes to try chain restaurants that are from the US in Japan to see how stuff stacks up. We found ourselves an Outback Steakhouse this night. Its atmosphere was the same, the burgers were delicious, and the suds were cold. On the way home we get a wild hair and decide pick up some chuhai for the walk to the train. We get back to room and both of us are exhausted but we kick it for a bit, Steve watching Japanese television and me playing my new favorite game on his ipod touch.

On my final full day in Japan, it is decided we will go to the Imperial Castle gardens and grounds. It is just down the street from the hotel. On the walk we see city workers trimming what look to be a form of Sycamore tree. The manor of their trimming is what made this odd, too explain is too hard so I will let the pictures do the talking. We get to the Imperial grounds and cross a really cool wooden bridge. A lot of the grounds were destroyed during the second World War but the walls and buildings have been reconstructed. The walls are super thick (see pictures for reference) and the front gate had to weigh many many tons. The gardens consisted of foliage from throughout Japan and traditional houses for either training or living. After leaving the grounds we headed to our last destination for the stay (insert Name of district we got shirts). At this point, I was finally comfortable being in Tokyo and really wasn’t noticing as much as I had before. We got some t-shirts at a store Steve had visited to buy his clothing in Okinawa. He hit the nail on the head with this place. It wasn’t too expensive and the shirts had a distinctive Japanese air about them. We spent a bit shopping and it was time to eat again so while looking for a place to eat we ducked down another alley way which turned out to be really cool. The distance from building to building was my brothers wing span! Down the whole corridor were food venders and had they been air conditioned we probably would have eaten at one but knowing I was going to not get a shower before getting on the plane for the return flight a/c was a must. After lunch/dinner, we moved on to the Sakura Hotel to pick up our bags and kill some time before heading to the airport. We grabbed some dinner while waiting and I kicked it on the ipod while Steve watched Peter’s crash video for the first time. At about 11pm we headed to the station for the last time, we ended up taking the wrong train, but made it to the airport ok. We posted up on a couple benches and I sacked out for an hour or two while Steve slept the whole night. When I woke I walked the airport terminal and found some of the best souvenirs had the shops only been open. It was a bit of a melancholy mood for me as I knew this had been one of the best trips of my life not only for the experience, but to spend time with my brotator would have made a trip to a mud hole worth it. I realized I missed him more than previously thought. Reflection in Japan who would have though…wha whaaa. I go spit bath it before Steve wakes. Once he does I check in for the flight and we go eat some good croissant with chocolate filing and coffee. We walk to the gate and we do our awkward brother hug and that is it. I am through the customs station looking back giving a final wave.