Mostly I went with the title for today's entry because this still makes me laugh every time I watch it.
Today's breakfast was, hands down, the most awesome of my life and it made my decision to get the Diamond status challenge, even if it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I knew I wasn't going to meet, completely worth it.
I received a letter from the Park Hyatt concierge the night before letting me know that breakfast would not be available in Girandole as per the previous two days because Tokyo was perfectly positioned to see that day's annular solar eclipse and to celebrate they were having breakfast up in the NY Bar on the 52nd floor. Even better, as a Diamond member I'd be guaranteed priority seating and it would be free.
You mean I get to see an annular eclipse. And I get an awesome breakfast. And I get to do it from the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt? Wow. It was beyond words. The best part was that, right as the full eclipse was about to hit, the sun went behind a cloud. I can't speak Japanese, but even I could tell the room full of murmuring was from disappointment. Then all of a sudden the clouds cleared and the eclipse was completely viewable and ring-like. The room burst into spontaneous applause. Fantastic.
|One ring to rule them all; one ring to find them. One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.|
|Even the room key at the Park Hyatt is fantastic|
|Girandole, where breakfast was normally served|
After that I should have just gone back to sleep until Day 18 because really how would it compete? I had a few things I still wanted to do in
a lie, I had a million things I still wanted to do, but a few that I thought
accomplishable - but I knew I had to be back at the Park Hyatt by no later than
2 or 2:30. The next five days were scheduled at the Tokyo ,
over by Tokyo Disney. To get there I needed to haul my massive luggage across Sheraton Grande
Tokyo Bay and that was just
not going to be doable anywhere near rush hour. Tokyo
I left the hotel knowing I had about 6 hours or so. I started by heading into Roppongi. For a long time Roppongi was the seedy pseudo-red lightish district of Tokyo. Then a massive shopping, residential and art development came in called Roppongi Hills and the area suddenly became hip and trendy. It is now the art hub of
The trip to Roppongi proved interesting. Heretofore (hah, I used heretofore in a sentence!) the walk to the Shinjuku Station had been pretty boring. Turns out that's cause it was a weekend. Walking from the Park Hyatt (in the business district) towards the train station before 9 AM on a work day? Taking your life in your hands. It was me swimming against a massive tide of people. Barely did I live to tell the tale.
|Sweet merciful crap look at all the people coming my way!|
|River of Japanese businessmen. Must. Swim. Upstream. To spawn? Eww.|
My favorite scene on the walk there was a gentleman wearing a mask with a small part of it torn off so he could smoke at the same time. Hurt my head to think about it.
At one point we all stood at an intersection, no one daring to cross in opposition to the signal despite there clearly being no cars coming. Damn social norms. Well I'm American and I'm loud or something so I said the hell with it and crossed. Apologies,
|I was worried when taking this photo that someone would run out from the building and keep hitting me on the head until I finally updated my Adobe products. <3 you Acrobat|
I ended up only spending an hour in Roppongi because (a) I had no need for high end shopping, (b) I had other things I wanted to do besides check out the art museums and (c) while it turns out there was a Disney exhibition (who knew?), you had to pay the full fare to go up Tokyo City View and I just wasn't that interested.
I realized that I lacked the necessary directions to get to the place where I had lunch reservations, so I stopped in at the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi Hills. They were extremely nice and let me use their business center despite my staying at a different Hyatt property. They didn't even ask for proof. Now that's the Hyatt difference.
|Loved this building|
|WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU MAKE THAT|
|OH GOD STAB IT IN THE UNDERBELLY SAM! Wait, I've already made a Lord of the Rings joke in this entry. Well shoot.|
|Not quite the Eiffel Tower, but frankly it has the benefit of not having the French around|
|I have no idea what One Piece is but they were everywhere too, and this poster was awesome|
|I think Diane and I are going to have to have a little chat. Her name is just a tad too close to mine for comfort|
|This mall was way too nice for me to be in|
|I wish this place had been open. I might have spent all of my savings there.|
|I hope their cola tastes better than the Mets play baseball|
I wanted to head back to Harajuku so I could try and find Daiso. I could have used the Roppongi station but that would have involved going the wrong way so I could transfer to a different line to come back the right way. Instead I started walking towards a different train station that was on the Harajuku line. The signage was pretty lacking and, for the first time in
, I felt well and
truly lost. It took two different people but eventually someone pointed me in
the right direction and I was on my way to Daiso. Tokyo
Daiso turned out to be worth the trip. Sure the stuff I bought is kitschy; it's the Japanese equivalent of a Dollar Tree crossed with an Oriental Trading Company catalogue, after all. But I came away satisfied. Plus it took all of my willpower not to start dancing (um...swaying arhythmically would be more accurate) in the aisle when "What a Fool Believes" came on.
|Apparently after the Tamagotchi fad of the 90's burnt out they sent them all to be turned into donuts. Nifty.|
|My name is Danny and I'm a Koreaholic. It started with just one Korean now and again. I could quit any time I wanted to. Then one day I woke up naked in some stranger's bathroom just covered in Koreans.|
|It's the Japanese dollar store!|
|Crap that's a lot of stairs|
|Oh hey, an escalator. Why yes, Mr. Escalator, I am an American. How could you tell?|
|Thank you for the flights!|
|Work at a shrine, get an Isuzu?|
|Work at a successful shrine, get a BMW|
|Oh please, I got this covered. This is totally old hat now.|
|Even the temples have vending machines|
|Looks more like Bear Rug to me|
Lunch was supposed to be at Kaiseki 511, purveyors of authentic
beef. I've had Wagyu
beef before from a trusted source - it's the same breed but not raised or
certified in Kobe
- and it was one of the most delicious things I'd ever tried. Lunch turned out
to be a massive disappointment.
I don't know if it's because I was a westerner or what, but what they served me
was definitely not Kobe .
Not A5, not A4, not even A1. It was a fine enough steak but, and it pains me to
say this, I could have had that steak at an Outback. Ah well, win some, lose
|I went into this with so much hope|
|One step above Outback. So disappointing.|
|This, on the other hand, was fantastic. It's like a soy foam that you put on the steak.|
|This is just in here because I love Sweden. Euro 2012!|
|One of the things I regret not trying.|
|I was *this* close to buying this poster. But let's be honest, at 30 you can't have Aeris posters any more. I don't make the rules; I just live them.|
|If you look closely you'll see an electric wheelchair in the display. I know you're wondering why I took a picture of that. Well, it rotates. When it turned around I saw this:|
|I love you Tokyo|
As I made my way back to the Park Hyatt for the last time, I started getting a bit nervous about the journey to Tokyo Disney with my luggage. It turned out to be quite the ordeal. Shuttle bus to Shinjuku. Walking through massive Shinjuku with the luggage. Very full train from Shinjuku to
walk (about half a mile) from the main station to the Keiyo line. Then from
there a train ride to the Disney Resort, a monorail ride to the Sheraton area
and then a 5-minute walk to the hotel. Quite the hassle but I made it through
in one piece. Tokyo
|It had been a few entries since you saw my crotch. This is me sitting on a train, feeling very self-conscious.|
|Here's even more of my crap|
I checked into the Sheraton and was absolutely floored to find out that they don't have wireless in the rooms. This is
in 2012, right? The Motel 6 in Tokyo has wireless in
the rooms now, how does this Sheraton not have it? I kept trying to figure out
how that was going to work now that I had no laptop. Looked like I'd be
spending a lot of time in the lobby using their wireless signal there. Orlando
The Sheraton as a property has its ups and downs. It's a very nice place - very, very family friendly. And it's proximately located to Disney. Takes me no longer than fifteen minutes from the door of the hotel to any where in the TDR. On the downside, see previous comment about wireless. That and the charge for food on-site is even more ridiculous than usual Sheraton charges. But they do have a laundromat and that is worth it's wait in gold by this point in the trip. Here are some Sheraton photos:
|Ah, the Sheraton. How the hell do you not have wireless in the rooms?|
|That's...a pretty sweet view. I've been very fortunate on this trip.|
|Hidden Mickey? I say yes.|
|This is *in* the hotel. Pretty sweet, right?|
|This was the single most disgusting thing I've ever drank. Turns out it's half iced tea (unsweetened) and half black coffee. Gah.|
|Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay|
|Had I seen the picture of this grinning, idiotic old man first I might not have purchased the beverage|
|First view of Tokyo DisneySea|
|Welcome to Ikspiari, aka what Downtown Disney could be if it didn't suck so hard|
Before heading back to the hotel I went to the equivalent of the TDR Disney Store, Bon Voyage. The building is shaped like a giant suitcase. I actually expected it to be much bigger given that this was the largest Disney store in the Disney-mad country of
My visit to Bon Voyage taught me one thing that I'd read elsewhere: finding merchandise that says "Tokyo Disney Resort", "Tokyo Disneyland" or "Tokyo DisneySea" is virtually impossible. This will be a continuing theme, but if I saw ten pieces of merchandise across all categories and all parks and stores that actually had the name of the resort or park on it, then that was a lot. So much for my collection of pins, shirts and hats!
Overawed by the coolness that was Ikspiari, I returned to the Sheraton for an early night. Well, for a regular night. They all seem to be early on this trip. I did enjoy watching the lights of the park come on as the sun went down. Tomorrow: