Japan first-cut!

Print the map. Get out of the airport. Book a Limousine bus ticket. Get down at T-CAT(Tokyo City Air Terminal). Take a taxi to the apartment. Show driver the printed map. I did thousand rehearsals in my head.. as I took off to the land of rising sun. I didn’t know Japanese language. I feared I’d get lost!

I did exactly as I rehearsed. Barged out of Narita airport and headed towards Limousine bus-stop. Baggage, slightly over-sized, stuffed with almost everything you would need if you get stuck on a lonely island for a month, caused discomfort. I staggered. Limousine staff at far distance ran for help. He stopped at a comfortable distance, bowed down to 45 degrees and said something in Japanese as if asking where I want to go. I didn’t understand a thing. I explained in English. He didn’t understand either but his gestures assured help. Maintaining his composure, he tried to hear familiar words from what I said while I fumbled for receipt. Rest of the conversation was muted. Only gestures followed.. of assurance.. warm-hearted welcome and appreciation.

Finally settled in cosy Limousine seat.

Looking out of the window I smiled at Tokyo – city of my dreams. Soft velvety curtains fluttered in agreement. Bus started. Limousine staff on the ground bowed to ninety degrees till the bust left and they did it at everywhere the limousine made halt. In awed silence, I  wondered.. What are they? Are they real people?

Ameya accompanied me for first few days. It has almost become customary for us to follow each other.. where ever you go.. I go..types 😉

Our anniversary was around the corner which we vowed to spend together no matter what it takes… It took a real deal for him to make it happen. Finally it was going to happen. I was happy. With his hand locked in mine, I kept watching out of the window..

Lookwise, Tokyo is much like Newyork with spacious highways, rampant box-shaped glassy skyscrapers and immaculate streets.. but with better subway network and buses plying on the street like London 😉

We reached our place in central Tokyo near Ningyocho Stn.  It was Sunday evening. Not many vehicles on the roads. Empty lanes. Dim lit bar at the side of street played soft music. No sign of human otherwise. Very unlike the place I belong – amchi crowded Mumbai. Little bout of homesickness followed.

Our apartment – extended studio with mini-kitchen. Mini-drawing room emerged from the kitchen. Glass barrier. Lavatories ran parallel on the side. Bedroom followed. Queen Bed. White linen. French windows. White curtains. Balcony with a railing and ample place for coffee mugs. Below our feet, laid fire exit. Small,  neat and sweet. It was going to be our little home away from home. 🙂

Freshened up and made some hot cuppa tea. Sun set behind the glassy sky-scraper leaving behind the amber sky…just like hot cuppa tea..I was sipping!  A well spent evening!

We ventured out to explore the vicinity and spotted grocery store, laundry, supermarket and nearest subways station. Enough to go for a week.

It was 8 PM. Dinner time. I am vegan. He is hardcore non-veggie. One of the most difficult hunt began – of a good restaurant that served both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food (separately!). Finding vegetarian food outside India had always been a challenge. Somehow I was feeling hopeful with Japan.

Long street. Many restaurants on it’s both sides having big signboards written in Kanji or Hiragana..may be.. followed by picture of an animal, mostly cow or bull..Wondered why? As we moved on. crabs, fish, octopus and all sort of other animals made their appearance on board.. One of our guesses was – may be that restaurant specialized in recipes of the featured animal.

On a serious note, if that’s the case, its one hell of a creative marketing. If you feel like eating octopus.. here is what you have to do? spot it on the signboard and then go through the door below it, no language skills needed. Easy peasy. Simple silly!

Many restaurants had kept alluring sample displays of the dishes in show-case outside restaurant. Yet another example of excellent and creative marketing.

So what’s on the plate tonight? this is…

Come baby.. eat me!

Come baby.. eat me!

At every restaurant, we kept asking about vegetarian food and sadly all of them rejected us that day – for my poor food choice(vegetarian!). Been there done that. 😦

But they did it so politely. First they bowed to 45 degree. Showed cross sign with hands (meaning NO!) followed by big round of “Sumimasen!” (sorry!).

At one restaurant chef happily nodded and in broken english he said “rice and fresh vegetables curry.. yes!” Upon inquiring further, we found that curry made in pork or beef stock with fresh vegetables inside. They thought I was looking for vegetables, how cute!?

Eventually, we ended up eating in the Indian restaurant “Kailash Villa” (run by Nepali!) 😀 which very soon became my favorite food joint as it was the only place I could eat.. It served mildly spicy and littlebit sweet but good enough version of Indian food both veg and non-veg, separately..

Hmm…you may leave India but India NEVER leaves you, talk about that! 


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