Today we were given a choice of buffet breakfast or traditional Japanese breakfast, which the hotel serves on weekends and bank holidays. Feeling adventurous, we chose the traditional breakfast and were taken to the hotel’s other restaurant where we quickly realised that we were the only gaijin (foreigners) brave enough to try this meal. We were a little nervous as so far, we’d managed to stay clear of having fish for breakfast, but we figured we should make the most of trying as many things as possible while we were here. I’d seen the traditional breakfast advertised on the hotel website and it seemed quite expensive, so I wondered if we’d have to pay a surcharge, but it turned out to be free for guests actually staying at the hotel.
We got up early again and did round 2 of the breakfast buffet, which was as good as before (and thankfully I didn’t embarrass myself with the tea this time). After breakfast, we checked our emails and confirmed the reservation for that evening’s meal at Sushi Bar Yasuda (the news had come a week before that they’d had a cancellation and we were off the waiting list – miracles do happen!!). We then left for Mitaka, where the Studio Ghibli Museum is, with plenty of time to spare as we weren’t entirely sure how long it would take to get there. Our 7-day Japan Rail Pass became valid on that day and it turned out to be really easy to get a train almost all the way into the suburbs, needing only one change to get to our destination.
We got up early (well, I did, I had to wake poor Tom who usually prefers to sleep in as much as possible), to avoid big crowds at the breakfast buffet. The hotel had a sign next to the lift downstairs saying that the buffet would be very busy the following morning between 8 and 9, but I didn’t realise at the time that they just leave it there permanently and that the crowd situation wasn’t nearly as bad as they made it out to be. Still, we were eager to go exploring, so it didn’t really matter.
We arrived at Narita airport at 7.50 in the morning, after 11 hours and 45 minutes of flight, during which I slept for an hour at most. It did seem long of course (it’s no fun sitting down on a plane and thinking: “It’ll be like spending all 8 hours of work in one chair, in one stretch, with very little option to move… oh and another 4 hours on top of that!”) but in the end it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. As we age, we develop this ability to cope with “empty” moments in time (whether or not that’s a good thing, I’ll let you decide for yourself), thus making them pass more quickly… and I have never been as grateful for that as I was on that flight all the way out to Japan!