Chasing Planes Day 5: Blame It on the Rain

Murphy's Law: The day you plan to go park-hopping is the day it rains.

Meiji Shrine

I still maintain that there's no need to bring an umbrella to Tokyo, because there's always a convenience store (konbini) around the corner where you could purchase the ubiquitous clear umbrella using only the coins that have accumulated at the corners of your bag (or pocket). And that's exactly what we did when we were greeted by a torrential downpour when we stepped out of the hotel.

While waiting for the others (we were such early birds :p) we dropped by Shibuya to, err, buy more Hakuhodo brushes. Because reasons.

So that escalated quickly. No regrets though ;)

On our way out of the train station we passed by a small patisserie and I did a double-take - it was Joel Robuchon! Perfect, because we haven't had breakfast yet.

Le Pain de Joel Robuchon

And then, as we made our way back to the train station (clutching our precious bag of pastries), what do we see but a Pierre Herme counter with rows and rows of macarons wildly waving at us. We were powerless to resist.

Pierre Herme

We caught up with our friends at Harajuku, and while I originally wanted to try out Wolfgang Puck's restaurant at Takeshita-dori we ended up having lunch at Shakey's (it's a long story, but essentially I was too lazy to walk so I just gave up). Shakey's is very much loved by my colleagues, primarily because they have an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet (and dinner, too). I've always felt it was a cop-out for me, because I'm not too fond of pizza - I have issues with cheese and meat together in one dish (yep, I don't like cheese in my burger too). But they do serve pasta, and unlimited mojo potatoes, and dessert pizza (!!!), so it wasn't so bad. And this being Japan, they had the most interesting pizza toppings - burdock, cod roe, and seaweed, among other things.

Shakey's Tabehoudai

So essentially it became one big carbo-loading feast, and to walk it off we decided to visit the Meiji shrine, never mind the rain. Besides, I'm wearing my trusty boots. Seriously, boots are such a godsend for rainy weather. Imagine not having to worry about getting your socks (or feet) wet on each step. Why they aren't a thing in perpetually flooded Manila is a puzzle to me. People seem to prefer flip flops and Crocs and the risk of leptospirosis. Sigh.


The Meiji shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The shrine is celebrating its centennial - it has been a hundred years since the death of the Empress, and along the pathway there is a series of posters chronicling the lives of the royal couple.

Meiji Shrine

In the heart of the shrine is a giant sacred "wish" tree. People write their prayers on wooden tablets and hang them on walls surrounding the tree truk, and the priests pray for all the wishes on the tablets.

Hopefully by now Guido and Sander have solved those motion errors. And Tom and Serina are still sexy. :p
I didn't create one for myself, but the wishing tree must have been on a wish-granting spree that day because as we stepped out of the shrine, we were greeted by a giant SALE sign on the window of the giant GAP store right across. Everything - everything - was going for half-off, including the already discounted items. Crazy.

I left with a jacket, the sweater I was eyeing the day before but did not purchase (thank goodness!), and a pair of distressed jeans. I've never really tried GAP jeans, and not only do these fit perfectly, they are also the perfect length, and that almost never happens. It's a pretty well-behaved purchase, I have to say. In fact the boyfriend bought more pieces, and he also took longer to shop!

Plastic-wrapped paper bags, to protect them from the rain

We were supposed to have dinner at Midori with our ex-officemates who were assigned in Tokyo, but there were too many of us and we could't get a table so we ended up in Sweets Paradise which, as it turns out, is also another all-you-can-eat buffet, and they served pasta and a huge assortment of cakes. Read: carbs and more carbs. Gah.

Before heading home I decided to drop by Inagi, which was my home for a bit more than a year. My friend actually lives in my previous apartment, which was a happy coincidence. Remember the flat iron mark I left on the carpet? There are now three. Hah! It's not just me. Unfortunately by the time we got off the train at Inaginaganuma station it was almost time for the last train back to Kamata, so I wasn't able to visit the apartment. I had to make do with the newly-renovated station instead. Construction started while I was still there, and is still ongoing, but it's very different now - the train tracks are now elevated (before, to get to the other side of the street, we had to cross the train tracks), and instead of running up and down the stairs to switch platforms one can simply use the escalators and lifts. It's been years since I left, and it's amusing, the things that have changed and those that remain the same.

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