Thursday, April 16, 2015

More Tokyo

Our time on bunny island sadly came to an end, and so too would our whole trip quite soon - we bullet trained back to Tokyo and checked into a capsule hotel. Normally capsules are gender segregated (in fact, many are men only) - I wanted to try one, Dgym wasn't so keen until I found a special one that offers couples' capsules.

Sadly, although I think capsules are a nice idea in principle, the implementation didn't seem so great. I'm not sure our couples' capsule was any bigger than a regular single capsule, so things were cosy to say the least. The walls are really thin and the end of the capsule is only a bamboo curtain so you can hear everybody else. It was baking hot at first - there was an air vent into the capsule but it didn't seem to help much.

It's all a little old fashioned - they use old style lightbulbs which don't help the heat situation. there's a CRT television hanging from the ceiling which (a) takes up a silly amount of space where you could have neat little shelves or pockets there and a flip-down flatscreen TV in the ceiling (b) makes for some excellent head banging moments. Fortunately the lights went out eventually, the air con in the corridor started to do its job and we both found the right sleeping positions to get us through the night, so long as nobody moved. We were quickly out of there the next morning... it was an experience worth having but also worth ending - although I'd gladly repeat it on my own with a well designed capsule that felt like my own little space and not a plastic box with somebody stomping on the ceiling.

After that we were very happy to check into our proper hotel for the last couple of days, which were really all about the food.

We went on a cooking course and learned to make miso soup, yakisoba (grilled noodles), nikojaga (a type of stew) and taikayi (fish shaped waffle-type sweets - in this case filled with red bean paste but there are a lot of sweet and savoury possibilities). It was all pretty tasty and nikojaga in particular was so simple to make and so delicious that we'll definitely be trying it at home.

We also managed to get through more delicious sushi, a fantastic katsu curry, a most excellent bowl of ramen on Tokyo station's Ramen Street, and a mini choc fest in 100% Chocolate Cafe.

Weird ice cream
We also paid a visit to Namja Town in north west Tokyo where we visited the Ice cream Parlor and were able to sample all manner of weird ice cream flavours including pumpkin, potato, aubergine, wasabi, avocado, curry and tomato as well as some less weird but very delicious ones like plum sherbet and Japanese citrus. They were mostly very well done, my favourite was the aubergine which was slightly smoky. They also had some weirder ones like coal, oyster and cow tongue. I was hoping they'd have the famous raw horsemeat flavour but it wasn't on the list.

And so we're back home, after about 24 hours of travelling, including a stopover in Paris with a delightful inter-airport transfer, and the obligatory pain au chocolat, (it's actually illegal to pass through France without consuming one) - somehow I managed to have about three breakfasts, jetlag messes with appetite at least as badly as it does with sleep. Still, it's a lovely time of year to come home, it's warmer than it was when we left and everything smells of spring!

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