Today we went to the zoo!
And were cold and sort of miserable 😉
It was raining and cold but we wanted to see the pandas that they have, so off we went. I was feeling toasty until we had to stand in line to see the pandas, and then I started to feel a bit cool. And then there was a bit of pushing and yelling in the panda line, which was filled with old ladies and lots of little kids (I learnt afterwards that they pandas were off exhibit for awhile for “breeding season”, so maybe this was the new rush of people to see them), and it soured my mood a little bit. One panda was sleeping so that we couldn’t see it, and the other one looked really sad in the corner, trying to hide. Poor pandas!
We had a nice time looking at the Japanese Macaques and the sea lions, and then we decided we were too cold and had to find a place for a tea. We couldn’t find anything, though, so we went into the station to meet SIL and BIL.
Then, it was off to Kappabashi, which is a whole street lined with shops selling kitchen and restaurant gear. It was insane! There were shops that sold solid wood lacquered miso soup bowls for almost $100 a piece (down to plastic ones for a few bucks a piece), shops that sold papers for lining the beautiful boxes they sell sweets in, shops with lanterns, kitchen uniforms, steel kitchen equipment, lighting, signage, tradition curtains found at the entrance of restaurants, huge pots, bamboo steaming baskets, plastic display cabinets, plastic food, stools and chairs…anything and everything that a restaurant or food establishment would need or use was on this street. The first 30 minutes were really fun and then I started to lose my motivation a bit.
We found a lot of stuff we liked, mostly in novelty kitchen gear stores, like some little bird shaped lemon wedge squeezers for the in-laws and a bunch more tools to make Kiddo´s food look like something fun. We wanted to get some miso soup bowls, but we couldn´t make up our minds. Eventually, I started to get super crabby because my back was killing me (Kiddo was napping on me), and it was rainy and cold, but we found a place to sit down and eat lunch. It was a bento box with rice, covered with minced chicken, broccoli, shredded egg, and pickled mushrooms. It was so good! And warm. And satisfying. Then we went down one other side of the street and called it a day.
We met my friend “T” again for Okinawan food in Shinbashi, and he ordered us a bunch of stuff. It was really fun because we never would have thought to order some of the dishes he choice, like Japanese sea grapes – a kind of seaweed, or fried fish with cheese on it (there is some American influence in Okinawan cuisine). He looked tired, so we all went home early. Kiddo fell asleep walking home, which was perfect because we had to pack all our stuff up into two piles, one to store in Tokyo and one to bring for the 2 weeks we will travel around Japan on the Shinkansen. We were up late, but we got it all done!
We will miss the amazing hotel in Tokyo, and the overabundance of fun restaurants and bars within walking distance, but we are looking forward to seeing more of Japan. More about that coming soon!