The weekend of April 11th was my final two days in Tokyo, so I packed them full with things to see and do. Bill Keese and I met up with Floyd and Werner from QCon and we set out to find the cherry blossoms.
We started out in a pair of parks with temples and cherry trees that were mostly past their blossoming prime, but we did find a few remaining, mostly those trees that live in the shade.
I actually found better blossoms that night on the streets of Ginza:
We ate some great street vendor food in the park (bento boxes, yakitori, rice sandwiches, etc.). The parks were was both serene and entertaining depending on the section and crowd level. We witnessed a couple of very traditional wedding proceedings, and written prayer boxes.
I also had some time to people watch, including the owner of Pinky, a dog that weighs as most 2kg that took a huge liking to me.
Then, for some nice contrast we went to the Akihabara Electronics district, where I believe that if it is electronic and has been made within the past 40 years, you can buy it:
One of the QCon reps then drove us to dinner. Driving in Tokyo is and insanely organized chaos. We even drove into a car elevator at one point while finding parking in Ginza. We had dinner at the most amazing Tofu House (梅の花, pronounced ume no hana) in what was probably a ten-course tofu meal. I have no idea tofu could taste this amazing or variant.
I also got to see a number of familiar west sites, with the good being Apple and the bad being the proliferation of 7-11 and ampm everywhere. Notice the different selection of iPhone App Icons.
We found an excellent french cafe on a random floor of a non-interesting building in Ginza as well.
On Sunday, while searching for food, we stumbled upon a random car show of old Datsuns. It was very cool as these were not cars you would normally find at US car shows:
I was determined to find good yakiniku or teppanyaki as my last meal in Tokyo, and it took us a while, but we finally found a place open for lunch on Sunday, and it turned out that it was the original teppan place, with a great view of the city (I forget the name, I’ll add that later). Teppan is much nicer in my opinion in Japan as it is not some cheeky gimmicky show, and it is much more efficient. The tables are very long so the chefs can quickly go between groups as needed:
It was then time to fly to Auckland and Queenstown which I will cover in my next post.
Meanwhile, fast forward two weeks, and today I’m heading to Amsterdam now from Sydney on Singapore Air’s A380… 30+ hours of transit including flights of ~9 and 13 and 2 hours, plus layovers. Luckily I’m in business class and the lounge in London, site of my nearly 5 hour layover, is supposed to have decent shower facilities. This was somewhat of a struggle as my segment from Singapore to London was just confirmed yesterday.
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Overall, I love Tokyo and I would highly recommend a visit there to anyone!