Thursday, February 14, 2013

2/10/13: Last Day in Tokyo

Our trip had finally come to an end. Boooo.  Akemi on the other hand was ready to go back home.  I don't blame her.. she probably has a ton of school work waiting for her.. poor kid.  I will likely have a ton of emails waiting for me.

On our last day in Tokyo, we decided to finish up Asakusa and get any last minute omiyage.  Paul wanted to go back to Miyamoto's one more time and I wanted to try to go to the Maneki Neko Shrine that was nearby.

After an omiyage checklist was completed, we decided we needed to grab some arare (senbei) from that awesome store in Nakamise.  OMG they are all so ono!  

After picking up several bags for gifts and several for us, we walked past a shop that Paul was actually interested in... I on the other hand wanted to rest my feet, when I saw a very long line outside of a shop.  I had to go investigate.  Long lines usually mean one thing.... something good enough to wait in a long line for!!!  As I got closer to the front of the line, I noticed it was an udon shop. But why were people standing in line for lunch so early?  It wasn't even 10:30 yet.  Then I smelled it... Sweet smelling something.  I know!  Heaven!

I still didn't quite know what they were buying, but when I returned to Paul, I told him that I wanted to buy whatever they were buying.  He wanted to shop some more, so I took that opportunity to go get whatever it was that smelled so good.  Akemi came with me and we tried to guess what it was that we were going to buy.  

As we got to the front of the line... I saw a sign above the window that said "Meron-pan".  Ooohhh!  I heard of that before.  It looks like a melon on the outside, but it is really bread.  I don't think I've ever tried it before though, but I thought it must be good.  So we bought one and decided to share....  OMG it was sooooooooooo good!  It was like heaven!  Crunchy and sweet on the outside and sooooo soft on the inside.  Plus it was still warm!  I think Akemi ate a lot of it and we were sad we only bought one.  This is a shot of us with the meron-pan after we got back later that afternoon!  We decided we should get our own this time!!!  

After walking a few blocks, Akemi decided she had to use the bathroom.  So Paul took us on a detour to Sumida Park.  While Akemi used the bathroom, I spotted some ume trees!

To think... they were close by this whole time?!

So pretty!

I know this sounds weird, but I asked Akemi to take a picture of the squats for me.  She was really scared from trying them and refused to use one again... but I needed a photo for educational purposes... Kimmie- this one's for you!  Of course, this one is dirty because it was at a park, but most of them are clean.  I still won't use it.

Then we headed towards the Imado Shrine.  Apparently there are several shrines that claim to have originated the now famous Maneki Neko.

While Paul and Akemi went to look for a cache, I took some photos....

Unreal how many blessings people buy and leave at the shrine!

I didn't realize there was a ritual you should follow when you go to the shrine. I studied them so I'd know what to do... First you throw your offering (coins) into a box... Then pull on the rope to ring the bell..

It's a giant cat bell!

Then you bow twice, then pray, then bow again... Then it's picture time!  See the huge Maneki Nekos in the back?

Then you gotta go rub the Maneki Neko's heads for good luck..

We all had to do it... you never know when you can use good luck right?
They had a lot of little cat watering cans and pots around the premises.  Cute!

And then it was time to say goodbye to the beckoning cat and make our way back to Nakamise.  But first, Paul wanted to find one more cache..

It was actually in Sumida Park but had a great view of the Skytree!  
Then Akemi spotted this...

So we let her be a kid and play on the equipment..

She said this was the hardest part..

This little girl was doing it all by herself!  Her Daddy was nearby, but she did a lot on her own!

Paul still had to go to Miyamoto, so we headed back to Nakamise.  That's when we got another meron-pan and Paul got an age manju.  Our last ones until next time!

We decided we needed some real food, so we ventured through the side streets to find something.. anything!  That took awhile.  We finally settled on a tempura place that served good tempura and rahmen (yes Akemi had more rahmen).

Then we split off... Paul and Akemi went to Miyamoto's and I went to go find some fans and hit the washi store before we leave.  The stores close earlier, so even if we go back for dinner, they will probably not be open. I managed to get everything I needed and then met up with Paul again.

We headed back to the hotel to rest and shower.  Then decided to find some food before our flight home.  We all weren't very hungry, so we settled for a 7-11 snack and one last Mister Donut!

These special edition ones were good.  I think its the 10th anniversary of the pon de ring.

Then it was time to say bye to the statues..  Akemi hugged each and every one of them!

By the time we got back to the room, it was time to head to the airport.  I can't believe it, but we managed to get the three of us, 5 bags and three backpacks onto the subway and then to the airport! Thank goodness it was off hours.  We seem to just make it in time for our flight.  By then we were exhausted and ready to sleep on the plane.  It was a very fast but eventful trip.  Much different traveling with a child, but also very fun!  Thanks for sticking through this Japan Adventure with me.. If you are interested, I'm going to be posting my Japan Haul in the next couple of weeks.  I didn't do this last time, but I like to see all the cool stuff people get from Japan, so I thought other's might be interested too.

Hopefully I'll get my mojo back soon!


Joy said...

Sounds like a really great trip. I bet it was even more fun with Akemi along! Welcome home!

Teresa Kline said...

wow, what a fun time, great photos and yummy food..hope you have a wonderful weekend!

enjoy *~*

eunice said...

Had so much fun reading about all your adventures in Japan...learned a lot too! Can't wait to see your loot!

eunice said...
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Leanne said...

Oh what fun you all had!! I would love to do a trip like that and visit all the places you didn't go since I now feel like I went with you. lol.
Glad Akemi was there for the trip and so happy you all made it back safe and sound.