It was October 30th and I was back in Sydney, Australia after spending three months in South Africa, but I was only back for 2 days before I would be leaving again (this time to Japan). I ended up waking up early (figures) the morning after my flight, so I called my mom and sister and caught up with them before heading back to bed for a nap, lol. Then it was time to head to a costume shop as it was the 31st, which meant it was Halloween and Kathy and I had a Halloween party to go to that night. I had a hard time figuring out what to dress up as, since I didn’t really want to spend a lot of money on a costume for one night that I most likely wouldn’t even be bothered to take home with me. I didn’t really have enough time to make a homemade costume, so I settled on a really cheap and easy idea, dressing up as a goth. I had lots of black clothes and makeup already, so I didn’t even need anything. Kathy arrived home from work and her friend Jackie came over as well, so we got ready and headed over to the party. It was really fun! Good music, good food, good people and great costumes!!! Plus, we had good drinks, cause I had brought a big bottle of raspberry Sourpuss from Canada for Kathy to try, and she and Jackie loved it! This made me happy, as I had previously brought other Canadian/American foods/drinks that you can’t get in Australia for her to try, and she’s only liked some of them. She didn’t like A&W Root beer, she didn’t really like Clamato Juice, but she DID like Hickory Sticks!!!
The next day was spent packing and doing laundry. It was actually really great going through the other backpack I’d left at Kathy’s while I was in South Africa. I had totally forgotten about some of the stuff I’d brought with me but left in Australia, so it was a little bit like Christmas! We did manage to take time out for lunch with Kathy’s parents, which was really nice. We also found time to cuddle Olive!
Then on Monday my time in Oz was up and we headed to the airport to start a new adventure, Japan! And my third continent in less than a week! We flew direct from Sydney to Tokyo (yay!) with Japan Airlines and it wasn’t too bad, about a 10 hour flight and no time change. And the guy sitting next to me on the plane was an Australian who was living in Canada and had actually been to Winnipeg several times, so the three of us ended up chatting quite a bit during the flight.
We finally landed in Tokyo late in the day, and got the metro to K’s House Hostel, where we would be staying for the next few days. It was such a nice hostel, probably one of the nicest I’ve ever stayed in. As is traditional in Japan, you had to leave your shoes in the vestibule, and then they had slippers for you to wear in the hostel. Everything was super clean; the staff were very friendly and helpful; the showers were equipped with shampoo/conditioner and body wash; they had the fancy toilets (the ones with the bidet functions and heated seats) and on Wednesdays they had free sake and plum wine in the evenings! We had a great time at K’s House and ended up staying there both times we were in Tokyo.
Our first full day in Japan started with a yummy lunch near Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, followed by exploring the gorgeous garden. Lots of beautiful flowers and greenery, a great place to go for a walk or chill on the grass and enjoy the sun. We were actually super lucky when it came to the weather in Japan for the first week and a half, even though it was fall (and November), we had beautiful days of 16-21 degrees Celcius.
After the garden, we headed to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office to check out their free observatories (yay, more free stuff!!! Especially good in Japan, where everything is super expensive). There are two towers you can go up, the North Tower and the South Tower with the observatories on the 45th floor. We ended up going up both towers and checking out the daytime view and then going back up again after dinner to get the night view. It was pretty spectacular.
Then it was time to head back to the hostel, stopping at 7-Eleven (a convenience store) on the way to pick up groceries for the next day. Japan’s 7-Eleven’s are awesome!!! Almost better than ours (except for the slurpee part, you can’t beat Winnipeg 7-Eleven slurpees. We aren’t the Slurpee Capital of the World 16 years running for nothing)! They have really good convenience food. Rice balls, sushi, instant noodles, steamed buns, sandwiches, full meals and so much more, all for a reasonable price and good quality. Some of the 7-Eleven’s even have seating, so you can eat your lunch in there. Plus, they sell alcohol! I’m not gonna lie, most of our meals came from 7-Eleven. As was often the case in Japan, there wasn’t a lot of English on the packaging, so we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what things were, checking out the pictures, finally choosing something and then hoping for the best, lol.