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Japan Journal Day 8: To Tokyo

Remember the earthquake that happened yesterday? It was quite a big earthquake, and the Myoko-Kogen train had to discontinue its services until about 4 pm in the afternoon for a damage inspection. As such, my brother and I suddenly became stranded with no way out to Nagano.

The mini croissants I mentioned yesterday. We finished this for breakfast.

In any case, after running around town to ask around the town for alternatives, we were told the only option was to catch a taxi to Kurohime station, where services continued till Nagano. The taxi fare was about 70,000 jpy.

Another Chinese couple who was trying to leave Myoko also ran into the same issues as us. The train station staff discussed amongst themselves for a long time as one of them was about to end his shift at that station to be relocated to another station. He decided to give us a lift to Kurohime station for free in the Shinano Company car.

This sweet man apologised to us for coming all the way to Myoko only to have an earthquake ruin our trip when it wasn't even his fault. I'm pretty sure nobody wished for such a terrible new year. He also apologised to us if he couldn't drive fast enough for us to catch the train to Nagano, which was leaving in two minutes just as we arrived. The angel in disguise ran to the train platform after parking his car while we were hastily purchasing our tickets and jostling with the stranded crowd migrated from other affected areas from the train service disruption. He ran to delay the train from departing until most of the passengers had boarded. I honestly can't thank him enough for what he did. It's a real shame I didn't get his name, but he really went all out on his job. It made me feel as if what I gave to everyone else was finally making a circle and was getting returned to me.

For everything that was uncalculated, lady luck saved me several times on this trip. There was Michael from earlier, and now there is this nice train staff. I don't know what I did to deserve so many good things, but I'll write them in the blog to remember. The only ungrateful person on this trip is my brother, but I won't go into details of today's arguments. Talking about frustrating things will only ruin the memories in future.

Check out the breathtaking mountain from the Shinano company car that we were given a lift in.

Mother nature is both beautiful and terrifying.

In any case, we boarded the train, and someone doubted my Japanese reading skills. We had a small fight there and started a cold war. He tried to abandon me, but I'm not afraid. Even if I can't find my way, I don't need shitbags like him 'rescuing' me.

For lunch, we stopped at some random Indian food restaurant with a Japanese fusion. It was strangely delicious. The spices weren't too strong for my tongue or stomach, something I really appreciated.

The chef wasn't Japanese, that much I can tell.

I ordered a tandoori chicken salad with 100g of rice. Here, I figured I didn't actually eat 100g of rice. It's closer to 50g for just right and 80g for very full. I don't have a big stomach, unlike my brother, so I have to eat more regularly in shorter intervals. Here, he insulted me for my eating requirements when I mentioned I had gastric. Can you believe this guy?

This was his food. I originally wanted to get this, but I thought it would be too filling for me. Unfortunately, both options would have resulted in me being unable to finish the food.

This is the crazy Tokyo train service that we had to navigate. A certain someone thought he could do without my shit Japanese skills, so we ended up getting lost here TWICE! Men children, and their useless egos.

The hotel is a business hotel. It's much smaller than many places but also has all the amenities I require. Honestly, I might consider using a business hotel like this for my writing retreat. It's so comfortable. I feel at home already.

The bathroom is small and cold because the heating shuts off when we take the access card and head out.

One of the places I wanted to go to was Daiso! My brother's idea was to find the biggest Daiso ever in the whole of Japan. It had six levels of shopping, so I decided to also get souvenirs for my friends from here.

Yes, all of that belongs to Daiso. It's literally 100 jpy for many items. It is cheaper than convenience stores, too! We ended up buying breakfast here. Someone bought 6 cans of coffee right off the bat. And no, not me. I'm still on coffee ban.

This place has one of the most interesting things. I didn't realise you weren't supposed to take pictures inside until too late. I will only upload those I took before I realised you couldn't do that. I was unsure if seeds could pass the immigration checks, so I didn't get them. Look at those mini carrots! So adorable.

This was found at the pet section?

We overheard two tourists from America complaining that they couldn't find what they wanted in this Daiso outlet and that they could try another. In my mind, I wonder if they knew this was their best chance at finding what they wanted. After all, it was the biggest Daiso. Ignorance is bliss. I kept my mouth shut and passed them by.

There were many things in Daiso that I would have loved to buy back. However, they weren't things that were easy to transport. Mannequin foam heads were only 600 JPY. Mini scissors that can be used as a keychain, rust cleaners, stackable storage box drawers, and all the home decor for the new house caught my eye. However, I can't bring all these back with me.

These are costumes for your cat or dogs.

I managed to shop for souvenirs for most people. All except one, actually.

I also took many ideas for how I wanted to decorate the new house and my work studio.

This bin was so aesthetically simple but appealing.

I don't know why the simple joy of touring cheap shops like this makes me happy.

But I do know we need more of these functional aesthetics at affordable prices back home. These are ingenious solutions to everyday problems. Thanks to capitalism, we can't enjoy these quality things.

I found something at Daiso that I wanted to try at Fushimi Inari shrine - amasake (sweet wine). I also found the ramune soda (technically my brother did) and I got a bunch of strange stuff I'd eat over the next few days.

After shopping, we headed out and made a turn into a back alley where we saw a place selling affordable ramen.

The tea was amazing! It was also free. I can't tell what it was made from but I liked it.

I was looking through the menu when my brother kindly highlighted just how many calories this meal would cost me.

Feeling scared, I decided to order something a little less calorie sinful.

Honestly don't know what I was expecting because the size of this bowl stunned me.

My brother's portion was ridiculous! But we had to admit, the food was great. This ramen shop specialises in char siu. It was the highlight and also the calorie devil.

I think they designed the metal spoon with holes for people like me who didn't like eating with the soup.

After a warm meal, we headed back. Of course, we checked out the convenience store near us and discovered a 24-hour ramen shop with way fewer calories and cheaper prices. Definitely going to be dining there on one of our six days in Tokyo.

Tomorrow, we will start searching for my Japanese textbooks and my brother's luggage. Don Quixote sells them, but it's too expensive.

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