We woke up in our small hotel room in Osaka and, while I can’t remember exactly why, I know we had to leave soon. Maybe it was the hotel policy, maybe because we had to get our things out of the Tokyo apartment before check-out time, or maybe it was our desire to go back to the big city and make the most out of our day. I do remember that we got on one of the first Shinkansen very early in the morning.
We didn’t have much time to explore Osaka as deeply as we wish we could have, but our impressions from the day before and from watching the city rise for one more day was that it’s dirtier than Tokyo. Dirtier in terms of trash and visual pollution, but also in terms of the atmosphere and vibe you get from people. Japanese are generally very quiet and respectful, but the same rules that we saw in all the other Japanese cities didn’t seem to apply here as much.
Arrived in Tokyo, we hopped on the Yamanote line so we could quickly grab our luggage from the apartment. On the train we started to get some unusual looks. Not the “these are foreigners” kind of quick glances that a westerner usually and naturally gets, but something more profound. For moments we thought that we were imagining things, or that our Osaka experience had tarnished our view of Japan…
And then we saw a man reading the newspaper. On the cover, the result of yesterday’s game: Tokyo’s own Giants had lost to the Tigers. Then I looked at Lena and realized she was wearing the Tigers’ cap in Tokyo. So we found people can be really passionate about their team. Even without saying anything at all.
It was sad to leave the place that had been our home for a wonderful few days. And such a beautiful apartment on top of everything else; so cozy and warm. Picked our stuff up, wrote a note to our fantastic hosts, and out we went as quickly as we got there.
In Ginza we dropped everything at the hotel, and went out for a walk before lunch. We visited a buddhist temple near Tsukiji market called Hongan-ji before heading into the market for some much needed food.
In the outer market a donburi place caught our eye and we sat down. Lena went for an assorted shrimp donburi and I went all out on salmon. Salmon roe and salmon sashimi in a bed of rice, served with a bit of tamago, pickled ginger and shiso leaf, which is minty and earthy but very subtle. This was honestly one of the best meals we’ve had in Japan and for sure the freshest fish in the entire trip.
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