My therapist said this wouldn't help.


We bid a grateful farewell to the Saito family, sharing thanks with Miho for her presents and receiving some in return for a visit that brightened a couple of her days. She'll soon have another friend with her when Alana drops by in a week or so, and Miho should be back to visit Australia at the end of the year. She asked us to arrange for our friends to send her letters and cards to look at when she's in bed, to add to her impressive wall collage. The clown fish beanie that I'd given her last night was draped on her headboard.

We then made a surprisingly rapid departure, as her parents had called a taxi and it arrived very quickly. I was throwing things into my bag and racing outside, saying a final thank you to her parents, before hopping in the cab. Halfway down the street, I asked the driver to stop, and we went back to pick up the iPhone charger I'd left plugged into the wall. Kind of needed that one.

Our train ride to Tokyo was uneventful, though it did take an unexpected route that made us disembark and recalculate how to get to our hotel. It's a nice place, with a decent sized room though sadly a double bed. We're close to the train station, though, and only a couple of stops from Akihabara and a few further to Tokyo central. I suddenly realised that we really only have two days here - today didn't really give us much spare time, and tomorrow is already preallocated for a visit to the Ghibli museum and TGS, which I just realised was on too! Should be an awesome day.

That just leaves Monday, and then Tuesday morning. Our flight to Sydney is on Tuesday evening, so we'll have a bit of time that day, though would have to check out of the hotel. As a result, I realised the few bits and pieces of shopping I had left to do I ought to do tonight. That way, I can make the most of those two days following the suggestions of my friend Sean's Japan expertise and enjoying some less touristy experiences. He was the one that had suggested the Philosopher's Path back in Kyoto, so he has a good track record so far.

I left the hotel and went to try and find a place called Nintendo Direct. What had once been a Nintendo store was now solely Pokemon, so this was allegedly the replacement. It was, oddly, in a Panasonic building, and, after fifteen minutes of travel, not the Panasonic building I arrived at. The woman at the desk helpfully provided a brochure to the right place, which actually showed it was a collaboration between the two companies using games to show off Panasonic TVs. Not a merch store, and thus not worth a visit with my limited time. So, I returned to Akihabara: the electronics city.

It's a remarkable place. Huge buildings, with ten floors of electronics, from TVs to PCs, game consoles to shavers, figurines to anime DVDs, pornography to toys. It's loud, brash, hyperactive, busy and overwhelming. Every store is floor to ceiling with products, signs, posters, and people. Salespeople push pamphlets at you in the street and speakers boom their sales pitches. It's also, surprisingly, not always as cheap as people would suggest (the yen has done weird things of late) and full of a lot of junk. But what an experience. You can find good stores there, and I did, but you have to look.

Shopping complete, I found an Indian place, being unable to think of the last time I'd eaten it (probably Canada, but if not, then the UK). I was happy to discover it was great. Up there for the best naan I've ever had, and a lovely spicy chicken curry (with leg meat, which I occasionally struggle against). The waiter suggested that ordering rice, naan and curry was probably too much, which was nice and should be more commonplace in the service industry, but I was hungry and took it as a challenge. I am pleased to report mission success. They still made me pay for dinner though.

Nick SchaedelTokyo, KamakuraComment