After 16 years of regular travel, I am happy to still be completely excited about wherever I end up. I anticipate trips as my regular tonic, having a trip coming up is what keeps me happy and on course. Today I am writing this at breakfast at the Hotel Keihan Asakusa in Tokyo, and I couldn’t be happier.
Breakfast in Japan is one of my favorite things in the world. I remember my first trip here, in 1981, (jeez that was a long time ago!) and the breakfast foods–miso soup, seasoned rice, assorted vegetables like pumpkin, baby corn and seaweed, plus green tea, cold soba noodles are just exactly what I’d love to have for breakfast every day.
Last night after a 2-hour trip from Narita airport to the hotel, I emerged hungry but bit weary of trying to figure out how to navigate–Japan is legendary for having few English speakers around when you want them, so here I was out in the streets, trying to find dinner.
Many of the cafes were tiny–eight seats, at a bar, simple decorations…I wasn’t sure but I knew sushi would be easier to order, so I landed at the bar of a sushi joint. The menu was long and had English, so I ordered some eel and some tuna and then tried to ask for a bowl of rice. “What?” No one had any idea of what I was asking for so I gave up, pointing to the smaller sized beer in the picture of the laminated menu.
I have a newfound sympathy with immigrants who come to our country and don’t speak English. It’s damn hard and intimidating to walk around and not be able to read any signs nor converse. I’m heading out to the streets now, a day of not much except exploring.
At 5:30 I’ll meet my translator and guide and will have someone to explain all of this to me, and tomorrow we’ll go to Kubuki Theater and Sumo wrestling practice.