Day 8 - Ginza
|Sunday, February 28: When an earthquake struck the coast of Chile, a tsunami warning was issued for the Japanese coast, so we watched Olympic coverage with tsunami warning graphics on the screen at all times.
|We slept in late and took our time packing our luggage in the morning, since our only plans were to visit Ginza later in the afternoon. We had a leisurely tea in our hotel's cafe in the early afternoon.
|After a misty morning for the annual Tokyo Marathon, the sun was peeking out after the race was over.
|Television crews were dismantling their scaffolding by the time we ventured out.
|Here's the main north-south street in Ginza where the really big stores are.
|This is the Matsuya Ginza store ...
|... and this is (wait for it) ...
|... the Apple Store. Shiny.
|This little guy was enjoying a snooze in the sun on top of a Ginza street sign.
|Here's the famous Ginza intersection shown in every movie and TV show that wants an iconic shot of Japan: the intersection of Chuo-dori and Harumi-dori.
|Here is it looking in the other direction. We spent some time in this store, Mitsukoshi, looking at price tags and gasping. The front had changed somewhat since we saw it in 2008.
|Here is the H&M store next to the extremely cool façade of the Yamaha store. We went into the H&M store and bought a scarf while killing time before our 4:30 appointment at ...
|... Icebar Tokyo!
|We love all things Ice Hotel, so we had to go to Ice Hotel's Icebar.
|Orchy loves them, too. His first ever trip was to the Ice Hotel in 2003.
|We perused the laminated bar menu. Debbie selected an Ice Bar Tokyo (vodka, lychee liqueur, grapefruit juice, blue curaçao) and Tom selected a Polaris (vanilla vodka, pineapple juice, blue curaçao).
|That wacky Orchy!
|An ice plaque noted that the bar was designed by Åke Larsson and our very close personal friend, Arne Bergh, who we met when we visited the Ice Hotel.
|We had the bar all to ourselves for our 45-minute time allotment, which was nice. It's a fairly small room but there are lot of nice details.
|This combo photo shows Tom with two blocks of ice that cause optical illusions. Since Tom's identical twin Ken wasn't along, Tom had to pose behind both blocks of ice.
|These tall glass columns were lit up with blue lights.
|Even the windows were covered with ice blocks.
|Here's a cozy little nook tucked in the corner behind the bar.
|Our bartender managed to find time to get a photo of us in our very flattering capes. We had worn similar ones when we visited Ice Hotel's Ice Gallery in Stockholm in 2002.
|We were having a good time so we ordered another round of tiny frozen drinks. This time, Debbie had a Viking (Mandarin orange vodka, peach liqueur, grape juice) and Tom had a Bloody Mary. Since the ice glasses are flown in from the north of Sweden where the Ice Hotel is located, we reused our glasses for our second round.
|Yes, it was an expensive but completely unique experience. Ice bars -- collect 'em all! This location closed in September 2011, so it was a true collector's item while it lasted.
|By now, we were hungry for one last genuine Japanese dinner on our last night in Japan. (Note the new H&M scarf modeled by Debbie.) We found a small restaurant on one of Ginza's side streets.
|We had some giant bottles of Yebisu beer, hot tea, tempura, and noodles. Japan knows how to do food right.
|Tipsy and full, we made our way back down the main drag, past the beautiful Yamaha store on the right, ...
|... and some brightly lit buildings, ...
|... and the venerable Wako Department Store, ...
|... and the Chuo and Harumi Dori intersection.
Here's our panoramic shot. Blurry but you get the idea.
|Oooh! The Apple store again, but this time the Apple logo on top is lit up! This one is for you, my Apple fanboys.
|Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ginza at night.
|We passed this cool building on our way back to our hotel, ...
|... along with these potted lupines at a flower shop, ...
|... and this Ferrari on a side street. Ginza has many wonders, but none as wonderful as ...
|... our beloved 7-11. We stocked up on breakfast foods one last time.
|Monday, March 1: We booked two tickets on an airport shuttle bus in the morning. Here are our shiny red suitcases in the beautiful lobby of the Yaesu Fujiya Hotel, ...
|... and here's the secret door to the adjacent 7-11.
At Narita Airport, we had one last McDonald's breakfast before spending our last few hundred yen on Royal Milk Tea Kit Kat bars and heading home.
** THE END **
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy