22 May 2016
After 3 hours of sleep, my body woke up. I tried to fight it and lay down again, but my brain wouldn’t shut off: you’re only in Tokyo for a couple more hours, there’s so much to see, there’s so much to do, just get up, you can sleep on the plane, you can sleep tomorrow. At this point, I figured I’d get up. I repacked my bag to fit everything in with evenly distributed weight. The sun starting rising about 4a- I went out on our balcony & just sat, ate, read, and relaxed- just rising with the morning sun. The weather was nice. After figuring out the map (on the iPad with some English words), I decided to head out. At 6am, I headed out with pack on my back, not sure if the exact temp, but I didn’t need a long sleeve shirt, like a did the night before. The only plan I had today was to arrive at the Shiganawa train station at 12n to purchase ticket and transit time to Haneda International Airport for my departure flight this evening. The streets were less busy and people weren’t scurrying everywhere. However, many people were out jogging, walking, running, and cycling. Even though I reviewed the map on my iPad and grabbed a map from the hostel, I ended up traveling the wrong direction a couple of times – forgot my compass. By the way, attempting to read/follow a Japanese map with characters, not letters, presents many more challenges than deciphering a route on a map with words, not characters. At one point, I ended up walking along a river path filled with walkers, joggers, and cyclists. This is the time I wish I had brought my bike. After following that path, I ended up in the botanical gardens with beautiful scenery and surroundings. When I emerged from the gardens, I walked though Hibiya Park full of fitness equipment, trails, jungle gyms, swing sets, etc. When reviewing the map earlier in the day, I made a mental note of Tokyo Tower- that’s where I was headed now. At 8am, I made it to Tokyo Tower- very tall. Reviewed the surroundings, captured some pictures, rested a bit, but didn’t stick around until opening time. This is when I started walking North (back towards the hostel) as opposed to South- towards the train station. At one point, I approached a street I recognized, that’s when I pulled out the electronic map, only to realise I walked 1/2 mile in the wrong direction. My walking pace slowed a bit, and I ended up viewing the surroundings more than before: walking down small side streets and capturing the sites with the camera. After taking a small break, I made it to the train station. To my surprise, I didn’t need to change trains to make it to the airport- only one train! When I arrived at the airport, I realized why: I walked 14 miles in and around Tokyo, Instead of walking around the airport prior to my long flight to Singapore, I caught up on my storytelling after putting my feet up for a bit.
Now, I’m waiting for the plane. I’ll admit, the time passes more slowly when it’s the middle of the night in USA & you’re waiting for a flight in japan midday.
(better photos on the camera, only the ones taken with the phone can I upload now)