Day 4: October 25th 2008 Saturday
Tokyo, Imperial Garden, Ginza, Shinjuku
Walking around Ginza
After waking up, I got up and went up to the shower room. To my surprise, there was sauna! After washing up a little, I went to the sauna. It wasn't real good Finnish sauna, but still good enough to make me feel I was in Sauna. After sitting there for a while, I washed myself, relaxed in the Japanese style bath, and prepared myself to get out from the hotel. I'd say the capsule hotel was an interesting experience, if not as comfortable as a real hotel. But if you miss the last train, or just want to try out one, why not.
From the hotel, I walked back to the Shinjuku station. As I didn't want to carry all my extra stuff with me around, again I left most of the stuff at a coin locker at the Shinjuku station. I was heading out to the Imperial Palace Garden, and examining the train table, I needed to transfer to a metro from Yamanote, or walk few miles from the closest Yamanote station. I was feeling lazy, so I chose to take the Yamanote and then transferred to metro. Soon I was at the entrance of the garden. Some reason there wasn't that much people around. Of course there were some, and amount of people seemed to increase while I stayed there, but still, I thought most places would be really crowded. Can't complain.
After strolling around for couple of hours, I was just about to leave the garden. At this point, a young boy came up to me and asked if I had some time to chat with him. He asked this in not that good English. As it turned out, he had a paper with few questions, and he read them out. They were like: "Hi, my name is X, what is your name?", "I come from X, where are you from?", etc. As I had a look on the paper, he had the questions written out in English, but also with Japanese phonetic characters, in order for him to know how to read the English phrases out properly. After couple of minutes, he was done with the questions, and he handed out me few pamphlets about the area he came from.
Being done with the garden, and with nice weather, I decided to head out to Ginza. Luckily, what I didn't know before hand, during weekends, they close the main street in Ginza for traffic, so that pedestrians can walk around. As I was walking around, there were quite lot of people walking around. I stopped briefly at few shops, and I also noticed there was free Wi-Fi at Apple store, so I stopped there for a while to fire up Fring/Skype on my cell phone, and made a brief call home. With nothing much to see, I kept on walking north from Ginza, stopped for coffee in Kyobashi, and ended up at a underground mall at Yaesu.
It was getting a little bit late, so I walked to the close-by Tokyo main station, and took the Yamanote. Without any plan, I just sat on the train for a while, and at Shibuya station, I jumped out as I recalled Shibuya was one of the places on my list of places to see. Shibuya was really crowded, and especially the Shibuya crossing was as crowded as seen on TV. Shibuya crossing is the place, which is shown in every movie about Tokyo. You can find it easily in the movies, it's the crossing where the zebra crossings make also X on the street, so you can walk any direction you want when the pedestrian light turns green. Even easier, it's the crossing where, when the light turns green, about 1 million people walk across the street.
After walking around, the night was already approaching, so I decided to head back to Shinjuku. Again I took the Yamanote, and soon I was in Shinjuku. So far I had ate just some snacks, so I was starting to feel hungry. At the Shinjuku station, I noticed nice looking restaurant, and went in. I ordered Oyako-don, which turned out to be nice rice-chicken-egg meal. After eating, I went to Pachinko place to spend some time. You can find Pachinko places anywhere in Japan. It's stupid game which doesn't seem to have point. Fortunately they had more sensible games, so I sat in front of a slot machine. Different from slot machines I'd played earlier, the Japanese slot had stop-button for each wheel, so you can hit to stop the wheel when you want.
The wheels spun quite fast, so I wasn't really concentrating. Hitting the buttons got me some small rewards now and then, but not enough to keep up the cost. After playing this for while, and losing my money slowly, the local attendant seemed to be frustrated me not knowing how to play, so he came to me, and played few rounds for me. I thought the wheels spun too fast so that you cannot really see what you get, but the attendant was able to hit 7-7-7, which of course caused the machine to give me lot of chips. After figuring out, you can really stop them when you want, I started to practice stopping the 7's. After a while, I was able to hit the 7-7-7, and got more chips.
Miki was spending the day at her friend's wedding, and I was waiting for Miki to contact to know when we'd meet. At this point, I checked my phone and noticed Miki had tried to contact me. I took my chips and went to the register to cash in. But, instead of money, they gave me number of points I could use to buy groceries from them. I got something like 200 points, and e.g. coke was 10 points. So after wondering what they had to offer, I chose the stuff and ended up bag full of soda and chips. Not too bad outcome, although gambling is supposed to be rewarded with money, yes?
As I got out, I dialed Miki. She was in Oomiya, so we agreed I'd take train there, and she'd come to meet me at the station. I got there quite easily from Shinjuku, and after waiting a while at the station, Miki came to get me. We went to a hotel nearby the station. We thought to go out to have a drink, and found a small restaurant. However we both were quite tired, so we quickly drank the beers, and headed back to hotel for sleep.