Date of Travel: 03/03/2012
We kick-started the final leg of our trip by going our separate ways for the day. Jay-C had a friend who was going to bring him around some parts of Tokyo, and Brownie decided to tag along with Jay-C. I on the other hand would spend the day with my friend in Mitaka, together with his mother and another two friends, most of whom I had previously met on past exchanges between our schools. We went to the Kichijoji district, which was located right next to Mitaka. Kichijoji reminded me of the Shinsekai district in Osaka somewhat, with bright signs everywhere and people packing the streets. The main difference was that Kichijoji appeared to be livelier, probably due to the fact that more youngsters roam the streets here. We went to a nearby restaurant for lunch, where I had a sashimi set. My friend also ordered sukiyaki for us all to share. My friend’s mother paid for our lunch, which I kind of felt bad about, yet allowed anyway since it would be rude to decline.
After lunch, we headed over to Inokashira Park. This park features a large pond in its centre, and was very lively with a lot of youths. My friend, his mother and I took a rowing boat out into the pond, while the other two friends were in a swan boat. We had fun chatting while rowing to the end of the pond and back, though it was quite tiring.
We did some window shopping for a bit, stopping by an interesting book store and another store selling a lot of old unique items. We then hired a karaoke room for a couple of hours in the afternoon and had a blast. I ended the afternoon belting out to Jet’s “Are you gonna be my girl” and made an absolute fool of myself. But hey, that’s the fun of karaoke right?
Following on from karaoke, we went around and explored the alleyways of Kichijoji and had some snacks along the way. The liveliness of the place was refreshing, as Brownie, Jay-C and I never did venture out to these sorts of places ourselves. It was a great chance to people-watch and get a taste of what the youths in Japan get up to in their free time.
We stopped by an izakaya in one of the alleyways to have some dinner. The food was great, though not quite “typical” Japanese cuisine. We did try a selection of different alcoholic beverages, and had a lot of fun just chatting about what we have been up to in our lives, and also me sharing my experiences of the trip thus far. After dinner, we headed back to my friend’s house. Along the way, we parted with his mother and the other two friends, and I thanked his mother again for paying for everything on this day which was much appreciated. Walking through the ticket gate at Mitaka station, I felt another ping of sadness, as today was the last day I could use the JR pass before it expires. Once we returned to my friend’s house, we talked more until Brownie and Jay-C returned. We then spent the rest of the night discussing our activities during the day while playing card games before calling it a night. It was not the most fulfilling day of the trip thus far as neither of us really got up to much, but I was glad I was able to experience the things which my friend brought me around to do today as it was pretty typical ways to spend time with friends in Japan, and was definitely one of the more memorable days of the trip thus far.