series : my spring in japan 11 (Finale)

22nd May

I start the day on 11.30 by visiting Sensoji Temple. Yap, i am not an early riser. Believe me, i wish i am. I can imagine how productive i am if i can be early riser. But at the same time, i can’t imagine how tired i will be. It doesn’t matter. It is a holiday. I should be forgiven for this.

Back to the topic. Sensoji Temple is located in Asakusa or practically in my hotel backyards. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple. It is very famous with local and tourists. It is also the focus of Sanja Matsuri, Tokyo’s largest and most popular festival. Its surrounding areas has many traditional shops that sell souvenirs, foods, and others. And, the very front of this complex is Kaminarimon Gate, or the Thunder Gate. As long as i stay in this area, i never seen this gate is empty with tourist, even in 11 pm (thats the curfew time).

My curiosity of Japanese’s fabric collection still continue. The next place is Nippori Market. It also called by Nippori Textile Town. Warning! This is not a touristy area. It is really a street with bunch of textile shops. It has variety products not only for sewing but also for crafting. If you love both of them, this is your place.

The walks continue to Chiyoda and Ginza area. Then, to Meguro River. Meguro River is very famous walk line during cherry blossom. Because it is past the cherry blossom period, i only can see the trees, without flowers. Even so, i enjoy it very much. Seeing people running for exercise. Seeing people walking with their children or pets. All in nice temperature. Cool and gentle wind blowing. Perfect.

Almost last day and i need to find something for my family. I end up visiting Uniqlo to buy their T-shirt collection. My Mom does not want fancy useless souvenirs anymore. She prefers something useful. And, it runs in me, fruit never fall far from the tree.

23rd May. The last day.

This is the my last day in Japan. And today’s plan is two, meet my senior in Yokohama and arrive in Haneda Airport on time. First of all, when i first hear about Yokohama, i was hearing Fukushima. I know that its two different areas, but somehow thats how i think. So, when my senior proposed to meet up in Yokohama, my very first question was, “Is it safe? Is it the place of the nuclear disaster?” Seriously, i am not joking. This mistake also supported by my friend’s concern about the aftermath nuclear disaster when i mentioned Yokohama.

My senior just laughed (in text) and said, “Tokyo is closer to Fukushima than Yokohama. You are safer here than where you are heading.” That’s when i realise that the nuclear disaster is in Fukushima, not Yokohama. Yes, big realisation moment, not only to me, but to my dearest friend who also mistakenly thinking about Fukushima when i mentioned about Yokohama.

We plan to meet in Yokohama station in front of JR Ticket Office. The best thing when you have a tour guide is you don’t need to think about your itinerary. You just go with the flow.

We first visit Ramen Museum. Yap! There is Ramen Museum. Even though he live in Japan for years, this is his first time visiting this museum. This museum is not only talking about the history of ramen, but also provide a culinary experience to taste different kind of ramen from all over Japan and abroad. It also has vegetarian ramen. This is when we realise that the most crowded ramen shop are ramen coming from outside Japan, like Germany, and so on.

The next stop is Kamakura where we visit the Great Buddha statue in Kotokuin Temple. Great Buddha statue is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha with 13.35 meter height and the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.

The thing i love about tourist spot in Japan is they always have a place to just sit and enjoy the spot. This when we share our stories. I haven’t met him for like at least 7 years. We met in Bandung when we both volunteered in Buddhist organisation. We are coming from different city and different universities. But yet, we still keep in contact in social media. In my eye (he might not agree with it), he is one of the brightest students i ever known. It landed him graduate degree in Energy Major in Tokyo Institute of Technology and job in energy sector in Japan.

No matter we are living in the world, life presents challenges. We talks about the pressure of the job, the industry, and still how lucky we are in our position. The conversation is not always about heavy things. We also joking about the shutter sound of iPhone in Japan. Phones in Japan do not allow people to silence the shutter noise, which is surprising for me. You can google it if you don’t believe. It is always good to catch up with good friends when we travel. It somehow prove that friendship last in long distance and time.

The journey ends in scenic Minato Mirai complex. It is beautiful at night where we can see the rainbow color that covers Cosmo World Ferris Wheel. If i think again, its a bit like Melbourne in Yarra River or Singapore Marina Bay Sands, where you have a scenery involving tall buildings, water, and iconic landmarks. A great way to end 9-days Japan solo adventure.

After the sunset, i take a bus to Haneda Airport for about 30 minutes. I check-in. I put the mobile internet device package in one of the Haneda Airport store. I try to find Tokyo Banana, but it all vanish from the shelf. Instead, i buy Japanese mochi. And, finally fly back to Jakarta, Indonesia.

Closing

This holiday is a break that i need. I am impressed on the excel quality of service Japanese has. I am impressed on their smile even though we know that their life is difficult and stressful. I am impressed with Japanese’s culture and well-mannered behavior. Their energy give me a motivation to give my best to people, personally and professionally. I am lucky enough to experience the random kindness from stranger. In this very trip i get a free lift up, snack, strawberry, and a tap in the back when i drop my belongings repeatedly.

As i writing down this last chapter, i can’t help to feel the mixed feeling between glad that this is the last one but also sad because ‘this is the last one’. I did say that i feel Japan is a right destination from the beginning. Now, after i came back, i proved it. I hope can back someday, stay longer, and explore Japan even more and more.

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