Tuesday, January 28, 2014

And Some Tokyo Time

Alas an even shorter time to spend. On the way to Jakarta I overnighted in Tokyo, took the N'ex train (Tokyo's equivalent of the Heathrow Express, with the English translation of the announcements spoken by the most wonderful plummy, Sloaney girl's voice) into the city and more by luck than judgement succeeded in meeting up with my friends. They took us on Tokyo's equivalent of the London Underground, cleaner of course but still nostalgically familiar, via this car showroom with the gorgeous E-type....

 to a restaurant far above the city, where lights glittered below us and the waitress brought a special frame to stand by the table so I wouldn't have to put my bag on the floor.

The Japanese sense of the aesthetic is without parallel. Here a napkin like a waiter's shirt with a spaghetti bow....

Here just a tiny part of a serendipitous meal ..

With sweetly arranged condiments...

The green glob on the left was the most exquisite pistachio ice cream.
Then an overnight stay at a boutique hotel with everything in perfect working order. They provided cotton pyjamas that lulled me to sleep. And in the morning on the way back to the airport, my amazing friends met me with coffee and tiny Japanese doughnuts and showed me a bit of the city. We drove past Tokyo Disneyland, including Sleeping Beauty's castle, austerely grey in the morning light but edged with twinkling fairly lights.

And on the way back, a few hours' sojourn at Narita Airport, a serene haven, with neat little rooms you can rent by the hour to catch up on sleep.  And shop displays like works of art.

I loved these cats...

The effect is a little tarnished by so many people going around wearing masks, presumably to avoid germs, including most officials in customs and immigration, where I had to walk by a heat detector to make sure I didn't have a temperature. You can drink the water though, which is more than you can say about Jakarta. I hope I can come back to Tokyo one day.

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