As I got ready to leave the ryokan Monday morning, while Matt slept in, I heard a familiar voice responding to our hostess’ instructions. Dick had arrived, and was being checked into the room next to ours.
I left him with Matt and took off on my own for a bit, having made an appointment for a Shiatsu massage at 13:00. It was in the next neighborhood to ours, a relatively easy transit with only 1 transfer. On that note, we all love how easy it is to navigate here with public transit. We all got Suica cards and can easily swipe in and out all over. Everything is well marked and announced in Japanese and English.
The Shiatsu clinic was in a very normal neighborhood with a hospital and many different sorts of clinics, as well as residences. As I made the short walk up the hill, however, I had heard someone walking behind me. I thought nothing of it, since Japan has so far been very very safe and the streets were absolutely normal. Then I felt someone pinch my ass.
I swung around without thinking, but unfortunately the weight in my hand was my camera in a bag to protect it from the rain. It missed the guy who had grabbed me, but hit a pole quite hard. I didn’t realize right away, but I had broken the lens. My massage therapist was dismayed that this had happened only a few meters from her door, and reported it to the police.
The massage was excellent, and I can very much recommend Megumi Shiatsu Clinic. Megumi offered to walk me to the subway station, but I told her that it was unnecessary, and headed out to find Matt and Dick.
We met up near Shinjuku station, where I showed my camera to a man at a camera repair store, but he said the lens was broken beyond repair.
Dick left for his training at Hombu Dojo, and Matt and I headed towards Akihabara to meet up with the gang. Akihabara is the famous electric land, lined with tall buildings housing electronic stores, pachinko parlours, vending machine galleries, arcades: a brightly lit and sometimes noisy paradise of technology. We went first into a large department store with a huge selection of cameras and lenses, to see what my options were. After deciding I needed to have an overnight think, we continued on for an exploration.
We wandered through manga stores, tried some grilled puffed balls with various toppings (delicious!) and then went back towards Shinjuku to meet back up with Dick and also with Sara, a friend of Denis.
A note: every place here is smoky. Smoking is mostly prohibited on the street, but is freely practiced indoors. As a result, my eyes are burning almost all the time. I try to put as friendly of a face on it as possible, as 4 of our main group of 6 are smokers, but am in an almost constant state of discomfort while inside. I am blowing my nose and getting headaches every time. When did this start? I don’t remember it being so much of a problem. I just never liked the smell of it later on my clothes and in my hair. But lately it’s really awful. I feel instantly better upon bundling away all stinky stuff and showering.