Luckily for us, the hostel was only a few minutes walk from our final train station once we got to Tokyo. When you have an 18kg backpack on your back, this is a very important fact. The hostel staff were really friendly, but these hostels had the tiniest rooms I had ever seen in my life. I had heard a lot about how efficient the Japanese are in using space, but I was not mentally prepared for those tight spaces. Add our huge number, the size of our backpacks etc. to the situation and you got claustrophobic very quickly. We were all extremely hungry. We found a noodle place next door to our hostel. We were fortunate that one of the people who worked at the hostel had joined us at the noodle place. There was a vending machine that everyone needed to make their selection from. Funny, but this is it the moment I realized language would be a problem for us in Japan. Because everything is written in Japanese script, it’s impossible to use google translate as one would do for unknown words in the roman alphabet (most written languages.)
The 7 of us had a wonderful dinner. The noodles were quite delicious. Around 4am we were back in the hostel and passed out.
The next morning I was strangely up by 10am, despite having set my alarm for 2pm. We went exploring our neighborhood with the rest of the team. We explored tea shops, cute shops selling all sorts of delicious looking stuff. The highlight of our walk was finding the 100 yen shop. Suddenly when everything in a shop costs around $1, everything becomes a must-have…Even when that needs to fit in your 18kg backpack:-). We grabbed lunch from a cute little place that had a buffet and sold each container by weight…of course this #miroinjapan filled her container with shrimp and all other stuff that is usuallypricey. Veggies for who? Not when a pound of veggies and a pound of shrimp cost the same.
On our way home I instantly spotted a happy hour place. Even with my non-existent Japanese, Ican spot images showing buy one get one beer free from 7-9pm. I was very excited to have our first happy hour in the actual Tokyo – as opposed to Tokyo restaurant in Nairobi. Unfortunately the place was too full to accommodate a group as large as ours. We ended up finding another bar and drinking sake. Jetlag was setting in. We were home by 9pm. One of my most exciting purchases from the 100 yen shop was a foot mask that promised to reveal the inner princess hiding under the scales on the sole of my feet. Everyone said that the masks in Japan are amazing. I soaked my feet for half an hour in the mask expecting to see miracles in the morning. I hate to say it, but not all masks are created equal. I woke up to the same reptilian appendages. We would later learn that for chapped feet, there is only one solution – the revolutionary babyfoot, designed in Japan – check out the comments on the youtube video – 99% of them are people reminiscing about the absolute pleasure of peeling off the skin from your feet like an orange….sigh..Good times.. One of my our mirozinjapan – a Moroccan who lives in France had said amazing things about it. We were not disappointed when we did eventually find it weeks later. As a sidenote, if you are in Dakar and want Baby foot, Mouna sells them at her store – Massala shop – online and in Yoff. Highly recommend it. There is something so therapeutic about watching the dry skin from your feet peel off like a snake’s skin to reveal your inner baby foot…..sigh….I think I need another round of babyfoot.