There has been constant warnings of typhoons approaching over the past couple of weeks and one actually did hit the Tokyo region pretty hard on Monday. But before the craziness in the weather preceding then hit, I tried to keep the homesickness at bay by having something to do everyday – whether it be as simple as do the groceries, or visit the 100Yen shop or meet a friend for lunch. Having a mission for the day has definitely kept my spirits up.
A couple of Mondays ago after I battled through settling up by bank account (which actually was the least painful of all the administrative tasks I had to undertake – mainly because all the staff spoke in English!) I sort out an macrobiotic restaurant for lunch which had an attached grocery store. I picked up a few things – basil, chia seeds but the best of all was instant Vegan ramen!!! I have yet to actually try it, so not sure about the taste. But the fact that it actually exists is amazing!
That evening I met up with my friend Rachel who lives in the local area as me, and we joined a meet up group to see the Ota-ku fireworks. Of all the fireworks I have seen this summer season (3 in total) I think these were my favourite. It was set to a story (obviously told in Japanese, but I kind of made up my own story with what little I could understand and interpret from the sound track).
The next day I had nothing planned to do so I went out on another solo expedition – this time to Yasukuni Jinja. It is a Shinto shrine commemorating those who died in service of Japan. It’s quite an expansive place but my favourite part was the ‘sacred pond’ with the koi fish. It was really peaceful and serene there. A little bit of respite from the city on a gloriously muggy hot day. In order to get to the temple I had to change trains at Tokyo station and I had heard many people rave about a ramen place located in the station. This is not just any ramen place, but an entirely vegan ramen shop! It took me a good half an hour to find the place and it is neatly tucked about in a corner of the station. The ramen was delicious – not that I have an much experience having ramen at all! But not having to think about what to order on the menu is pretty awesome.