Tokyo Winter 2011 Day 15

Good bye, until we meet again

27 March, 2011 by

We were flying back to Singapore this evening. Which means that today’s post combines photos from the last day of our trip, with what reads like a mix of a summary, rant and analysis. You have been warned.

Wilson and Yan left earlier in the morning to settle their day’s business. I did some last minute packing and checked out before the 11 AM limit. You think it’d be a little sad leaving the comfort of the familiar hotel room this morning but I was nonchalant, having already accepted my fate.

Packing up.

Headed down first to the nearby Akihabara’s Don Quijote for some cheese, groceries and toiletries to bring back. The place was sold out though, since Yan had rampaged through the dairy section yesterday. So I left for the Nakano outlet since it was the only other one that I could confirm had the stocks.

Along the way I dropped by the Manneken outlet at the JR Akihabara North exit. If you’ve been following the posts, you’ll remember it as the place where we had bought these amazing waffles in Osaka. There were only two outlets in Tokyo, one at Ginza and the other here. I guess pampered wives and otaku have something in common.


I bought something like 50 pieces of cheese at the Nakano Don Quijote. I’ve been addicted to Snowbrand’s Hokkaido 100 String Cheese for quite a while but haven’t been able to get them in Singapore for months.

There's a new spicy flavored one too.

Mediya in Singapore used to bring them in but have stopped importing many dairy products during last year’s Foot and Mouth disease scare in Kyushu (Kyushu and Hokkaido are on opposite ends of Japan). Scotts Isetan carries a stock of the cheese but sells them at $5.80 which was just ridiculous. A pair costs 140 yen in Japan which is just $2 (or $1 each), a much cheaper than any cheese product in Singapore and a lot more fun to eat.

Quick lunch.

After shopping, it was a quick stop at a nearby Freshness Burger for lunch before meeting back with the others at the hotel lobby to collect our luggage. By the time I had arrived, both Wilson and Yan were already there.

Hotel lobby.

From our hotel it was just one stop to Nippori Station where we could take a train to Narita Airport. Spotting our foreignness, the guy at the counter tried to sell us Skyliner tickets but we went with the Limited Express that cost a fraction of the price.

Both normal and express trains stop here.

Sadly, there were quite a few other people heading over to Narita this Sunday afternoon. The train wasn’t exactly packed, but we would have to spend the first hour standing because a bunch of China tourists took up double their space. There were seats on the other end of the train but their large luggage bags blocked the route there too.

After struggling to control our rolling luggage for most of the trip, Wilson and I managed to get seats when the French couple sitting opposite the Chinese nationals disembarked.

The Culprits.

Got our luggage checked in, which was quick and easy. Custom checks were a fast affair too unlike the questioning you have to go through for flights bound to the United States. It’s not like a terrorist would readily admit to being one just cause you asked nicely.

Open air gallery at Narita Airport.

The dread of leaving the one place I felt the most at home was definitely starting to settle in. Then there was the matter of the no3b and French Kiss events over the next two days, that we only learned about when we passed by Gorakudoh ticket reseller on Monday.

Now Wilson’s leave was fixed, but had we known about the events in advance, I would have pushed our trip dates later or considered the idea of taking a separate flight back. Changing my return date now would cost $200, which was $200 too much for this poor chap. I’m sure Haruna and Mocchi would had thought it foolish of me to spend that money just to meet them anyways.

Plane that we would take.

Our flight was delayed by about half an hour, because they couldn’t find two passengers who were supposed to board the Delta flight to Manilla that was scheduled to leave before ours. Their names repeated on the loudspeaker. I think they checked in, but disappeared somewhere in the departure hall thus the panic. Another two people who couldn’t bear to leave the country.

Already missing Japan.

Spent my time on board the plane sorting through the thousands of photos, though there weren’t nearly as many this time round since we rushed through places quite hurriedly. Yan took the time to sort through his BLTs while Wilson concussed immediately. Yan and I had the Monday off but he had work in a few hours time.

The attendants came serving dinner soon after takeoff. Today’s selection was between beef or shrimp rice. But we didn’t have a choice as all the beef had already ran out. I used to be allergic to shrimp, though not anymore or I’d definitely have made a fuss.

The rest of the evening watching some inflight movies, Nodame Cantabile and Kick-Ass. Fans of the Nodame series would enjoy it, Kick-Ass was just another cheesy underdog type movie that made used of every “indie” comedy cliche.

Shrimp Rice.

We reached Singapore on time the following morning and were immediately reminded of the humid, polluted air. At the airport I bumped into someone vaguely familiar called MJ who had coincidentally just got back from his trip in Vietnam.

Many other planes must had landed around the same time, creating overcrowded taxi queues. Wilson rushed off first while Yan and I decided to grab a bite since the airline food was hardly substantial. After which we jumped into the now empty taxi line for a ride back home.

Decided to wait it out.

Supper / Breakfast.

It would take days to readjust to normal life (or rather become jaded of it) but till then, it was time to make up for two weeks of lost sleep. No amount of sleep could save from the tropical energy draining weather though.

Overall, it was a trip full of ups and downs. But a number of memorable events made it a worthwhile experience. Even just filtering through the photos while on the plane, I was quite amazed by nearly as much that we managed to cover with the limited amount of time. The memories would keep me sane through the daily monotony, while I bide the time until my next visit. Which hopefully, will be sooner this time round.

Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.

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Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.
  • Seems like 15 days full of great experience 🙂
    Great writeup and photos!
    So when's the next trip?

  • steve

    Dude, as much as I like reading your updates, Im very sure that Japan has polluted air as well though not as bad as Singapore. I can understand you missing Japan but you made it sound like the return trip is a 1 way tix to hell.