Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Back Home to Tokyo....

I have to admit that this morning, I was so tired out from all the karaoke singing and the buckwheat pillow (it was horrible!) that I didn’t wake up for breakfast. In fact, of the four of us that shared a room, only Renee went down to breakfast. I’m not sure if I didn’t go down to breakfast because I was tired and wanted some extra sleep, or because I was simply becoming sick of everything tasting like fish (I have a feeling it was the latter!). We all took turns sharing the one shower that we had (which surprisingly went more smoothly then one would have thought) and got ready to head back to Tokyo and the last part of our journey.

We boarded the bus a tired but fulfilled group. Our experience in a Japanese Ryokan was defiantly one of a kind! I was eager to get to the airport because I knew something amazing awaited….amazing in the lines of Starbucks! Ha! I got a large Chai Tea, put my I-pod on and relaxed on the flight back. We arrived at Narita airport around eleven, which kind of stunk because we couldn’t check back into the New Otani until three. Luckily, there was a HUGE traffic jam and it took us almost two hours to get back! I still had a lot of time to kill, but when we arrived at the hotel to put our bags away, I ran into Dave and Ryan. We had a mini-reunion and ventured out into the city!

There was no agenda for the day. Some groups had planned to rehearse their presentations, but we had already did that in Katsuyama, so I planned to enjoy my last free day in Tokyo (and perhaps get some sleep!). Dave, Ryan and I ventured to the subways and headed out to the Oriental Market. It was a large building with floors and floors of Japanese goods to buy. However, before we went there, we spotted something even better in the same area….a Wendy’s! Nothing looked better to us then some good fattening American food! We literally went in ready for a feast! When I went up to the register, I pointed at the menu of the French fries and Frosty and made gestured that I hoped would verbalize that I wanted “The biggest one you had!” It was truly heaven! I think I could have eaten a couple more frosties and fries. This was one of my best meals by far! We liked it so much that we made an executive decision about dinner that night. We had planned a “reunion” for all of us who hung out, and we wanted to spend the last of our money. The American food gave us a taste for home so bad that we decided we would not get Japanese, but go to dinner at…TGI Fridays! Ha!

We headed to the Oriental Market full and happy. On the way, I ran into the Gap and bought my sister a shirt. Nothing like shopping in a different country in a store that you can find in the U.S.! It was a special addition Gap Japan shirt, though, celebrating their 20th anniversary. I figured it was worth it, and she was the last one I had to shop for. I moved on to spend some more money at the Oriental Market where I bought a ton of different bowls and dinnerware and some beautiful chopsticks. I told myself that this was it for my spending. Well, I hoped it was! We ran into some other Fulbright friends and Ryan stayed to shop more with them while Dave and I moved on.

I sweet-talked Dave into going to Starbucks with me (my second time in a day…bad!). I got a Frappacino b/c unlike Katsuyama, it was really hot here and I needed something to cool off with. We shopped and explored a little bit long and then headed back to the hotel. Most of us ended up getting our same rooms back, so it felt like we had arrived “home” again.

I took a nap before dinner at Fridays. Our group ended up becoming about ten people for our “farewell” free dinner. We headed out with hungry stomach and a taste for American food! Amy and I pretended that we knew the way (which we did pretty well with, we only led everyone the wrong way off the subway stop). We decided to go all out, which meant appetizers, dinners and dessert (which I shared with Dave and had to put a stop to his excessive eating of the brownie…kidding, Dave!). We all had a great time and headed back happy because some of the groups had to practice their skits. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out in Dave’s room playing cards and talking. It was great to be back in Tokyo! I’m sure going to miss everyone when it comes time to head back home!

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