I’m stretching here!
I’m stretching here!
Happy Thai Pongol holiday: no school, no office.
Julius wanted to return to The Avenue, they happen to make quite nice burgers in a fairly posh setting
And afterwards we headed to Colombo City Center for family movie time.
The movie was ‘Underwater’ and while R&J were quite entertained, I struggled giving a dang about the characters’ fates, as there was zero character development. The movie dove straight into the action only 2 minutes after the opening credits.
I was also rather annoyed by the Sri Lankan lady next to me answering her phone 3 times, then just left in the middle of the movie.
Another day Julius does not have to go to school.
We arrived safely, flight was ok, but my FA was … well, that is a story for another day. Let’s just say the way they use / assign seats with extra legroom is questionable, even more so the BS they told me about the seats being needed for a family with baby (and need for baby bassinet)
The whole flight there was no baby, just this one monk, occupying SIX seats so he can watch ‘Friends’ in peace ….
Wake up 4:30, wake family up 5. Julius takes forever. Obachan comes at 5:30. By 6:05 we leave and get semi express to Shinjuku right away. Dragging everything to maranouchi line. Arrive at Ginza station right at the bus (elevator towards front of train M8-M16 Ikebukoro direction) at 7:12 and hop on the 7:20.
By 8:45 we are done with check in. Nice and easy. No line at online checkin
Walk around airport
Amazing self-turning squid balls
Julius’ airport office
Here we go again
We checked, but Bakatare was closed, with no sign when (or IF) they will open again … maybe they closed for good this time. So we returned to Sei-ya for one last bowl of goodness. We opted for thinner Hosomen noodles this time.
This time we all ordered the spinach version and oh boy, that was a very generous serving of spinach! Super tasty!
At least it was sunny when I started out and I was well on track for a sub 2h HM, but the last quarter became very tough.
With the sun hiding behind clouds it got even colder and the icy wind now came from the front.
Forced stops at traffic lights messed with my HR and in the end I was just happy that a) I finished the planned distance and b) pace still under 6min/km.
Until next winter…
Text later …
We had discussed visiting Musashino Park last night and I had started looking at possible routes for another family bike/run adventure.
But plans changed, I went out into the cold to run alone, but used one of the pre-vized routes.
The first quarter is a bit iffy, as it follows a busy main street with many traffic light controlled stop-n-go situations. But then I reached the river, which was really nice.
I then came to the 2 parks (which happen to be very close to Ritsu’s old university) and I had to get my phone out to check the rest of the way 😉
So, I looped around the park a bit, finally found that big main road and knew I was on my way home.
But then I had some on / off racing with a gentleman my age (maybe even older) from traffic light to traffic light. He was always passing me an speeding ahead, so, naturally, I tried to match his pace 😉
Which made for a strong finish on an 11mile (~18K) route with an overall decent pace.
Venturing into the city on Jan 2nd, the day all the crazy sales start, is not really recommended, but we went anyways. First we headed for lunch, which was ramen & Ippudo, a place we had tried before in SG & KL, but not yet in Japan.
After waiting in line and ordering before we even got seated, we got our wonderful hot noodle bowls. Mine was something new which the English menu translated as ‘Coriander Tan Tan’ and it was not only spicy but also came with a huge heap of fresh coriander! Excellent!!!
And then we joined the masses and explored the shopping options. Actually, we had a set list of things we wanted to accomplish and pretty much adhered to it. While J&R went to Don Quixote for some items, I checked with the Apple Store what their New Year’s special is, from a cryptic email I received it appeared that I would get a gift certificate if I was to buy something.
Too bad half of Tokyo got the same email and so there were some crazy lines forming inside and outside the store and I gave up, even after some successful shop talk in Japanese with one of the nice employees there.
I did not get to take many pictures of the shopping part, but here is Julius trying on a cardigan at UniQlo. Somehow he has discovered cardigans as his new favorite clothing item, and we got lucky and got 2 for him (one from the sales heap at 500¥, with linen material, great for hot Sri Lanka)
When finally we were ready to call it a day, Ritsu remembered that she needed to get contact lenses, which happens to be a store in the same BicQlo building and off we went, while Julius’ patient-meter was already in the deep red. But he hung in there like a pro.
I had fun trying on some glasses, and we actually ended up with new sunglasses for the lady and new glasses for me, since they offered a ‘couple discount’
Feel free to guess which one I ended up getting. I still have to pick them up on Saturday (with my wonky eyes, they did not have the correct lenses in store)
Long time planned and finally realized: while I was running, J&R chased me on their bikes
This way I could finally show them Toho studios
The annual ritual of visiting a shrine early in the new year is also part of this fantastic bus tour that Ritsu found us.
Of course, being first of January, it was packed.
And this is just the line (which we half way skipped by using a side entrance)
This is the actual shrine.
After our New Year’s prayers J&R got their fortune thingies for 2020
Many people turn those fortune notes into ribbons and tie them to lines which looks very nice.
and then we explored the many food offerings in the equally packed food area.
Julius found some dogs to play with
There was also some soft ice cream for dessert. Love this photo!
Then back on the bus and a last scenic tour to the train station and now we are on our way home …
Finishing off this fun trip, we made good use of the fact that we were inside Tokyo station so we could visit TanTan’s vegan restaurant and I am super impressed by their plant based, animal free tonkotsu ramen!
We stopped by another souvenir shop / bath house / mass restaurant for a very nice lunch.
The space was a bit nicer than last night’s dinner, but also bigger. And since we arrived quite early 11AM, old people lunch time) it was still very empty.
But you can get an idea what numbers they can accommodate.
Food came in a nice two tier box and unfolded to something like this:
Very excited to explore the contents
There’s a small platter of pickles, rice topped with seaweed & strips of egg, a nice selection of sashimi including crab meat, and the carcass of that crab giving its last flavor to a very nice soup, which could have been hotter.
After breakfast & bus ride we were dropped off to hike this very picturesque bit along tangerine groves to a fancy viewpoint, alas, Fuji-san was still hiding in his cloud pajamas.
We got to see the top later on our way down.
I marveled at the interesting / typical Japanese signage along the way;
We visited a small shrine
And some other, random shots: