103. Metropolis Known Otherwise As 35.6762° N, 139.6503° E 東京都

In all my travels -and there have been several- since I was in Tokyo, I have never witnessed, in my personal opinion, such ‘clean’ food vendors.  Even back then I tried always to take notice of meal preparations wherever I found myself in this world.  

Perhaps I did this because I spent much time in the family kitchens back home; always interested in how things were done.  I had no intention of going hungry for a delicious meal anywhere in my lifetime!

Back to focus on Tokyo street food; from the way they kept their raw food ingredients to the wearing of gloves and clean preparation, I was impressed right up to the serving of the meal as it was passed on to each paying customer.  I confidently enjoyed a clean meal.

I will say that in the couple of days and nights we three were here, we must’ve taken pleasure in at least 6 or 7 different foodie sittings!  Each one as delightful as the one before, if not more.

We’d experienced nearly 2 full days here so far and last night was simply restful.  Instead of staying at the larger hotels we opted to stay in these little 2-story, cottage-like accommodations.  And these units they called motels.  

The adjoining rooms were separated by shoji (those sliding paper doors) but the bathroom was separated by a curtain … hmmm.  Oh well, and it was time to bathe once again, oh boy!  Two by two behind a sliding door we would disappear.

👘

Each evening after my wonderful bathing session, the girl helped me into the provided yukata and slippers.  Once again, I’m feeling real good!  

You know, more than words the attending girls used body language.  “Massu?”  they’d say, indicating massage though I never felt it was a question -more of a suggestion which one shouldn’t pass up.  

The next morning after a little continental breakfast, we went out to see what last minute fun we would have.  

I also knew my intention was to get back to the ship today.  

I’d literally missed the boat one time before back in the beginning of my adventures and that had left a mark on me for life!  In fact (if you recall) it totally turned my world upside down.  I never wished for that to happen a second time.

We caught a rickshaw because we figured the energetic human motors understood that, if nothing else, we wanted to see their city however they’d reveal it to us. 

Once again I noticed how clean everything appeared to be.  There!  I saw a shopkeeper out front of his business, sweeping the leading path and there’s another, wiping down the storefront windows.  

Alright. Well, these were not extraordinary feats of course but it just blended nicely in the picture I was now holding in my mind.

I also took note how many of these shops, regardless of their contents for sale, had positioned out front, a young lady dressed in what I thought was the traditional attire, no doubt to lure the customer.

Clever business tactic for sure; catch the attention of the foreign tourists and locals alike.  I know they caught my eye.   

There was still one thing I was hoping to see and that was the white face; an image I think a lot of us had associated with Japanese women; at least back then.  Today I just think, grace and beauty. 

I really wanted to know why they did this because it was so different to me.  Here’s what I learned:  the Japanese women placed great importance upon this white facial color, in that to them it was a symbol of beauty.

They wanted a milkywhite, porcelain look to their face.  It was something they’d been doing for hundreds of years, if not longer.  It had nothing to do with wanting to look like the fair European women.  Their pale faces portrayed relaxation; it didn’t look like they spent their days labouring in the sun.  Well, that’s what I came to understand.

I think I caught a glimpse of one in passing but I’ll never be sure, the sighting was so brief.  A ghostly image planted in my mind, so long ago perhaps?

We visited a bar or two along the route to have some refreshing cold Japanese beers; we indulged in the flavourful choices of Asahi and Sapporo … delicious!  And now it was time once more to pleasure our taste buds with the street vendors’ offerings.  

I rather surprised myself to realize that, of all the street foods I tasted, my favorite in Tokyo had to be the soup bowl, the big one!  It had wide noodles, with vegetables and I’m pretty sure it was chicken in it.  

I think it was called ramen, or .. no, I think it might’ve been Hōtō miso ..maybe?  I cannot recall but it sure was satisfying and very palatable.  I loved it!

Later that afternoon, the guys agreed they’d go back to the ship with me and so we made our way to Shinjuku station.  Three one-way tickets to Yokohama please!

I’d almost forgotten how larger than life the Trans Western looked sitting there in dry dock.  Literally climbing up the steep gangplank, we arrived at the top.  Well, I was delighted to know that I didn’t miss the boat!  

I made my way to the bulletin board which I normally looked at.  At this point the forecast for the ship being fully repaired looked like this was still a week out.  

About an hour later I ran into Phil and he reminded me, “I know you’ll be on and off the ship enjoying your free time, that’s great but be sure to check the bulletin at least 3 times a day for departure information.  A week can easily turn into a couple of days.  You wouldn’t want to get left behind!” 

I had absolutely no intention of that happening!  I know he wanted all of us to be vigilant and we had a bit of work to do before we ‘ship’ off.

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