Thursday in Tokyo

Akihabara, Taito, Tokyo, Japan
Akihabara, Taito, Tokyo, Japan

A mixed bag is planned today, we got the train to Akihabara to take another look at radio city, buy we were a bit early, so we jumped back on the train to Meguro where we want to have a look at a nature park in the science and nature institute. At Akihabara there was a crowded smoking area where the sign said “This is a smoking shelter and should not be used of other purposes”, another sign said manners station I wander what trains pass through there.

The park was easy to find using the local maps by the road that we have find so useful. The park is a very tranquil place in such a busy city. They allow only 300 people in at at time, it has been pretty untouched for many decades. We kept or eyes and ears open for bird life and to got good views of a brown eared bulbul, a flock of great tits, a brown for which we have yet to ID, and we heard some bird making a racket but could not get any view of it.

Nature reserve Tokyo
Nature reserve Tokyo

Back at the station it was coffee time do we popped into a Starbucks at the entrance to shopping centre, where the carols were blaring out over the sound system. Helen had a doughnut and I had a cinnamon roll but with marron glace in it, which was lovely. The japanese get through a lot of sweet chestnut goods. Helen deserted me in search of a manners station, while I blogged and finished my coffee. However Helen came back unfulfilled yet optimistic that the pachinko parlour next door allowed smoking so I could gamble away a few ball bearings whilst Helen fed her habit.

Pachinko is the Japanese equivalent of the fruit machine gambling is forbidden in Japan so they circumvent the law by selling you ball bearings which you pour into the machine which is like the old pinball machines. I could not figure out what to do so I asked the attendant who tried to explain but then just gave me a breaker of balls which he poured into the machine and said service. Whilst Helen was smoking he loaded up another machine for her. I struggled to under stand the game, there was a thing you twisted which adjusted the speed at which the balls were launched into the playing area, points seemed to be awarded for different holes and pressing one of the three buttons cleared the score or possibly banked the winnings who knows whether we won anything. Next stop was Shinjuku.

Cemetery in Tokyo City
Cemetery in Tokyo City

The manic crossing was not manic it was mid week and the fun happens at the weekend. I passed a second hand camera shop and spotted a 35mm f2 lens for the bargain price of £180 which is about one third the price of a new one here, and it turns out £50 cheaper than second hand in the UK. We wandered around the district taking in the sights it is a bit like the area around Piccadilly circus. Next on the list was to visit the HQ of Soka Gakkai we said to a friend who is a follower we would drop by and pick up some literature. They were very welcoming and after some confusion at reception we were sent up to meet someone who spoke English and who furnished us with what we came for, including time stamped visitors cards. We needed a sit down so we find the nearest green space which was just next to the national stadium and in front of the memorial picture gallery the building is unusual architecture. We tested for a while then walked past the stadium to the national garden to see what that was all about. It is a big stadium you could get glimpses of it through the entrance gays. We reached a station and stopped for a coffee.

The national garden closes at 4 o’clock so we had to walk around the edge of the park. We were aiming for a metro station to catch a tube to Jimbucho the book selling area, we wanted to try to get a Black Jack manga comic for a friend. After walking into two soft porn shops which looked like they sold manga a kind gentleman in a bookshop pointed us in the direction of a manga shop on the second floor of a nearby building, we would have never found it ourselves. It was not a long walk back to the hotel so we decided to walk back and drop into a good establishment on the way. We ended up at the place we are at on our first night. We both had fried tofu in a broth with noodles, which really hit the mark. A friendly man struck up a conversation with us and gave us some recommendations for choosing for our last day.