20.01.2012 - 20.01.2012 0 °C
I am up early and super Amy has been working it again and has got our skiing leg of the trip organised to the detail. Amy works for Myoko Kogen tourism and is an absolute wealth of knowledge and a fantastic help for those of us who leave everything until the last minute.
Today it is markedly colder than yesterday and there is a steady drizzle outside. By the time walk down to pick up the first water bus of the day (10am)it has turned to a swirling snow shower.
From here we struggle against the biting snow and rain to get to the nearest under cover shopping area – fortunately not far away, but L is still soaking wet in the meantime. Undercover, we thaw out a bit and try to work our way along further without having to go out into the cold. We can get as far as the nearest metro station, but now we have the choice – ride the metro until it warms up or back out? Yet again, someone comes to help us out with directions, even coming outside into the cold and wet to guide us. Lovely people the Romans.
We head along Ginza, ducking into stores which take our fancy, or when the snow is too heavy. We then make the brave decision to have hot chocolates in the cafe at the front of the Familiar store. At this point, we see the price, but go ahead with it any way. We have a warm, dry spot with a window view of one of the world’s premier shopping strips. We enjoy this, and try to milk our money’s worth, by staying until the snow abates a little.
We drop into a couple of the department stores, and as lunch hunger hits, we are in Mitsukoshi. Walking around the food hall, there is a little curtained off area next to Sushi Iwa with people eating there.We get a seat there and have some of the best sushi ever to pass our lips. There was a fantastic scallop, L had an amazing sweet shrimp, and G loved his Ikura. Just blissful. Still happy, we wandered around the dessert and sweets area, helping ourselves to the samples.
We spent the next hour or so in the Japanese traditional craft area, looking for something that really grabs our fancy, but nothing leaps out. Having said that I did like an iron bowl with a gilded interior, but the price and the excess baggage charges put me off.
We head up to the Jimbocho area of Tokyo to get G a pair of gloves – although it is usually me with the cold hand issues. There are some good ones in ICI sports – they are very well equipped with everything you could want (if you are only a skier, as G points out) We go and do some other shops and there are a few pairs that G likes, but he wants the flash looking pair which are also the cheapest. I am worried by this but they are out of the clearance bin and had been 5 times the price. We shall see, and he has another couple of pairs as back up. L has gone ahead and calls up – she has found a jacket for me. I am mystified as there is nothing wrong with my op shop Ezekiel jacket with the gaffer tape inside the little tears – it has done plenty of tours no problem... But L has found a Marmot jacket, a season or two old which is cut just right and feels good too, and importantly is a quarter of the price of the new season’s gear. This was on the first floor at Aspen Ski Gear, who seem to have samples, past season’s stock etc.
There was a complaint about hunger, so we looked in the book and strode for one of the recommended ones – after ten minutes, found it, it was closed. Could not even find the next one – lack of house numbers is getting to me. G has lost his patience and says why do we always look in the book – how about THAT place? Abashed, we go in. As soon as we sit down G complains that it is too smoky, but not enough to start looking for another place. The mistress of the restaurant speaks great Japanese, and I speak great English. With the help of a few amused customers, we get an order together. As it has been a cold day we get Atsakan (hot sake) to drink, which goes well with all the food. The restaurant, Han Nari, specialises in Kyoto style food, and it is all very good. We comment on how good it is, and G says told you so...