01 October 2015

Setting: Evening, Alone, Lost in Tokyo

Apropos of nothing, I am restarting this blog (first a study-abroad blog, then a grad school blog before I realized I wasn't allowed to write about anyone I worked with). I've been traveling through Taiwan and Japan for the past month, and I will attempt to catch up on immortalizing my best stories. 

Tonight I attempted to find a dog cafe, got lost in Tokyo's largest metro station, and spent three hours there.  The station is so big that I walked for a good thirty minutes without finding the platform I was looking for or recognizing anything.  I'm misleading you a bit; I saw a sign for a local government building with free views of the skyline and did that, but it was only an escalator ride up from the station.  Afterwards I tried to find the line to take me to another sightseeing spot, got lost again, tried to find a sushi restaurant in the station, couldn't, and eventually staggered into a different sushi restaurant, sweaty and slightly panic-stricken. Not to say that I didn't have fun!  In the midst of the chaos of the station, I saw lots of vendors and hundreds of people weaving around each other seamlessly, all seemingly omniscient to the workings of the subway system. 

When I arrived at the sushi restaurant, a small shop with a bar encircling two sushi chefs, all ten patrons stared at me with obvious surprise. I pulled up a chair and managed to finagle a menu and some tea. The other patrons would, without warning, call out the rolls they wanted, with the chefs keeping up.  I felt acutely aware of my inability to perform this maneuver, but eventually drew enough sympathy from the younger chef to receive help ordering.  As one often feels when unable to communicate, I was positive that the two chefs were laughing about my order (not unpleasantly), prompting me to order an entire eel in order to show them my serious nature. I realized some deep feelings that I have been harboring for a long time: I LOVE unagi. It is hereby my favorite food. 

Following dinner, a common scene occurred on the metro heading home. I exited a kiosk at one line, entered another, realized I had wanted the first one, and tried to exit, with the kiosk prompting me to seek assistance. I couldn't agree more. The employee nodded uncomprehendingly at my explanation and swiped my card, instructing me, "Don't touch" [the card to the kiosk]. I did him one better and rammed my knee into the kiosk on the way out, which we both had a hearty laugh over, during which I ran. 

Tokyo is a wonderful city, clean and safe and possessing the UNESCO World Heritage acknowledgement for FOOD. That's right, Japanese food is on the Intangible World Heritage list, which means it's time for another round of karaage. Later!

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