Friday, 22 August 2014

Our last day in Japan and the journey home

Oh no, it's the last full day of our holiday, three weeks have really flown by. 

We have a bit of a lie in and at about 10:30 go over to Aqua City and queue to get into Eggs n' Things for a bit of a late breakfast. Mindful of the amount of food we got there last time, we share a Cheese & Tomato Omelette and sides of toasts and potatoes. Victoria has a guava juice, I have an orange juice and very nice it is all too.

I pay cash and leave the restaurant and have only gone a few yards when I am chased down by our server, whoops I had left 50¥ short, how embarrassing.

Victoria want to have a coffee so we pop to Starbucks and she has an iced soya Latte, she definitely does not fancy trying the Macha Latte again! We also have a bit of extra luggage to take back, what with all the goodies we have picked up on our travels.

Coming out of Aqua City we pose for a couple of photos with the Statue of Liberty and then descend the steps to the beach and take some photos out over Tokyo Bay to the Rainbow Bridge and of the beach. As usual it is very hot and the sand cannot be walked on in bare feet, leaning on the railings is enough to get a burn.

We know that our bus to Narita will leave at about 07:00 in the morning so we pop into the shop outside the hotel pick up some pastries for our breakfast on the coach and a couple of ice-creams for now. Back in the room we do the majority of the packing and I go down to reception to do an early checkout so there is no need to rush in the morning.

About 14:00 we caught the monorail out to Shimbashi and we walked a few blocks to the Tamiya Plamodel Factory flagship store. There are three floors of model madness, the basement is full of remote control cars and tanks, the ground floor is model kits and the first floor is a modelling room. I had a great time browsing the racks and shelves, but mindful of the limited space in the luggage pick up a t-shirt, a couple of 1/700 destroyers and some weathering kits. Victoria also picked up a few bits to put away for me as gifts later in the year.

We then walked back to Shimbashi station and followed the road towards Ginza, which is a big shopping district. By now, it had been a good five hours since breakfast and it was still very hot, so we stopped in a Cafe for a slice of pizza each and a couple of drinks.

Once in Ginza we walked around for a bit enjoying the sights then went into one of the huge department stores. Doing her research, Victoria had found out that the basements are huge food halls and we were not disappointed. Going down the escalator there are loads of concessions selling all manner of foodstuff from sushi, noodles, fish, meats, fruits and vegetables and all manner of deserts and other food stuffs..

We find a stall and after handing over our 'we are veggie' cards come away with some great looking Inari pockets. At another store we try some lovely granola and I buy a pack of the cashew nut and kiwi fruit version to bring home. At another store Victoria picks up a melon bread and I get a date and walnut cake.

This is fantastic, we could spend hours here. it's one of the few times I have regretted being veggie, there would have been so much we could have sampled.

With purchases we emerge from the department store and it's now starting to get dark, the bright signs of Ginza look great.

We find a traditional washi paper shop and Victoria makes a few purchases. Our server does a wonderful packaging job, it seems a shame to open them when we get home. We then go into one of the mental character shops they have there, loads of cartoon and comic book character ephemera. We pick up quite a few bits and bobs there too.

We walked back from Ginza to Shimbashi and ate our Inari pockets on the station steps. They were delicious. We caught the monorail back to Diaba, Victoria popped into Starbucks to get a Japanese mug to use. We then each had a beer in Segafredo at Diaba then went back to the Grand Pacific and in the very smart hotel bar Victoria had a frozen Margarita and I had another beer, we did feel rather under-dressed in our shorts though.

Ready for an early wake-up we went back to the room and at the scrummy melon bread we had purchased earlier and crashed out in bed.

Up at 06:00 we showered and finished the last few bits of packing and were on the 07:05 coach back to Narita that took about an hour at that time of day (it takes much longer once the rush hour starts). We ate the pastries we had purchased the day before on the coach. Once at Narita we were quickly checked in and airside and easily passed a couple of hours browsing the shops. Victoria found a very nice place that did origami papers at a very reasonable price and I finally purchased a box of the inimitable Tokyo Bananas that everybody reckons you must try. We also purchased some strawberry cheesecake, red bean and green tea Kit-Kats to try when we got home.

It was eventually time to board our flight VS901 is an Airbus A340 called 'Soul Sister'. A twelve hour flight somewhat spoiled by idiots who think that babies and toddlers belong on twelve hour flights. It's not fair on the kids and it's not fair on the other passengers. Take your toddlers to Spain, it's only two or three hours away and nobody will want to punch you in the face. It's not like the kid will remember a holiday to Tokyo before their first birthday.

Anyhow, I had my earphones in for 12 hours but did get to see Anchorman 2, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Lego Movie in that time.

Back at Heathrow, we got through immigration and having used Purple Parking 'meet at the terminal' service were soon in the car and on our way to the Premier Inn. After a pizza we were crashed out by 7PM and were up again by 3AM, we got showered and dressed and were out of the hotel at 4:30AM and were back home in Nottinghamshire by 06:45AM, probably my quickest ever Heathrow run.

Out great adventure was over. Some people say they are glad to be home, I'm not, I could board a flight tomorrow and do it all again!

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