Tokyo Part 3 (last one!)
I spent A LOT of my free time in Tokyo riding my bike around and finding my way around the city, and finding cute little parks, interesting streets, and odd buildings like this one. (The streets are nearly perfect for biking – potholes are rare and people are used to bicycles on the road and are a little more careful, too!)
A small glimpse of the tiny but typical streets in Tokyo, other than the major roadways. This is near Yoyogi Station/Yoyogi Park in Shibuya on a light rainy afternoon. Little shops, restaurants, and people walking/riding bicycle everywhere. Check out how narrow the street is with that car coming!
On one of my days off, after many hot and humid days working and wishing i owned more shorts, I finally decided to go shopping in Shinjuku. I finally finished hunting for cheap shorts that would fit (and that i wouldn’t be upset about if kids ruined them at kidnergarten!), and began riding home when I got a few text messages. I stopped for a moment on the side of the busiest road in the middle of one of the busiest areas in Tokyo to check them, when suddenly I heard my name being called. I looked up to see a Japanese girl waving and coming toward me. For a brief moment I was really confused since I really didn’t know any Japanese people in Tokyo yet, but then I realized it was Ayako – a friend I had made while working together at the hotel in Chicago about 5 years earlier! She had lost her work visa and moved back to Japan about 3 or 4 years ago, and we had met for dinner in Tokyo when i first arrived in 2012, but hadn’t been in contact since then. She was just as shocked as I was that we managed to meet again! She said she first noticed my bike then realized she knew the rider 😀 😀 😀 I learned a new word I will rarely use, but I’m sure I won’t soon forget: ‘guuzen’ which can mean ‘serendipity’ in English. She insisted I join her at a bar she was working at in her home neighborhood so we could catch up. I locked up my bike and we took the train there. As we walked from the train to the bar, she waved at many local people she knew and told each of them about how we ran into each other. It was great to see her again! We met once more a couple weeks later for fried chicken dinner in the trendy kichijoji area. When we met there, her boyfriend and his friend also joined us and we met them in a music shop where he was buying a CD. Yes, a CD. People still buy CD’s a lot in Japan and music stores are all over! 🙂
After my last day of work at the kindergarten I had only started at 3 months earlier, my boss took me out to dinner at an Izakaya in Shinjuku, and all the teachers joined us, then most of us went to karaoke afterwards – Here we are after dinner, my boss is in the front row with the green scarf: