Field Report: Tōkyō, Japan (14 February 2014)

14Feb14 N700 Series Shinkansen Green Car Train Japan 003

We’re on the last leg of Diego’s winter visit to Japan. There isn’t much more left to say, so let’s start rounding things off by looking at how I spent my last night in Tōkyō.

Truth be told, not much else happened between the time I visited Nagoya’s splendid JR-run railway museum and the moment I finally flew out of Narita on my way home the next evening. (Not much that I’d care to remember, at any rate.) It could have been very different, had the weather been less hostile – but we’ll have more to say on that in my post for the last day (15 February).

In any case, I’m not inclined to leave even a single day undocumented, so let’s have at it.

After taking the Aonami Line back to Nagoya Station, I collected my luggage and began trudging across snow-covered pavements towards the shinkansen gate. It wasn’t a long distance to cover as the crow flies – but since I was neither a crow nor a creature that could fly, I had no choice but to hoof it.

Short and easy, right?

Short, yes. Easy . . . no.

As anyone who has ever tried to plow their way through dirt-streaked slush whilst trying to drag a large suitcase across said slush and holding an open umbrella aloft with the other hand – whew – might tell you, it’s no walk in the park.

I had a seat reservation on the Hikari 520 shinkansen service to Tōkyō, scheduled to depart at 13:24 – but the extraordinarily foul weather delayed the train by about half an hour. Quite an historic moment, that: in all the years I’ve been riding Japan’s ferociously on-the-minute high-speed rail network, this was the worst delay I’ve ever experienced.

(Oh, but don’t worry – it gets even worse the next day.)

In any case, there was nary a snowflake to be seen in the sheltered heat and comfort of the N700 series shinkansen‘s Green Car . . .

14Feb14 N700 Series Shinkansen Green Car Train Japan 003

14Feb14 N700 Series Shinkansen Green Car Train Japan 002

. . . unless one counts the icy little tub of my favourite vanilla ice cream that I purchased from the on-board attendant.

14Feb14 N700 Series Shinkansen Green Car Train Japan 001

The snowy weather wasn’t much better in Tōkyō (if anything, it was even fouler than in Nagoya), so the relatively short walk to the Hotel Ryūmeikan seemed like something out of an alpine adventure.

Ah well, at least the room was more than comfortable. I don’t normally stay in surroundings as posh as this – cheap business hotels are the norm when I travel in Japan – but it was a nice treat for my last night . . .

. . . and the in-room gourmet coffee machine was useful for injecting a stream of piping-hot, caffeine-spiked life into my badly frozen veins.

14Feb14 Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo Japan 007

14Feb14 Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo Japan 008

From here, I trekked out to Tōkyō Station in search of dinner, which will be the subject of a separate food report.

Later that evening, I tried to do a final Akihabara raid for anime goods – even getting as far as the pedestrian crossing near the well-known Mandarake shop – but the blizzard took a turn for the worse and I had to beat a hasty retreat to my hotel. After returning the tattered remnants of the umbrella I had borrowed from reception (who, no doubt knowing how bad things were out there, were kind enough not to charge me for the same), I took refuge in my room and whiled away what little time remained until sleep summoned me to bed.

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