Remember my post last night where I said the food was amazing? Scratch that because breakfast scarred us. I’m sure that for years to come, on a quiet night, if the wind blows from the right direction, I’d still be able to hear the sound of my dying soul, crying out from the excruciating pain I inflicted upon it…

Okay, it wasn’t that bad.

You know what, scratch that too because it is was horrible! So how did we get into that situation?

Well, it all started when I decided to ‘treat’ Elaine to the traditional Japanese experience. Planning this part of the trip, I spent hours, days, weeks and months on the internet, researching the hotels in the area. I took the top 500 hotels and added them to a series of spreadsheets. Over the following months, I used a variety of websites, databases, archived newspaper articles and travel magazines to come up with a statistical model that allowed me to objectively rank these hotels from best to worst. The bottom 300 hotels were all eliminated. Then came round 2 – a process of further scrutiny where the remaining 200 hotels were analysed by top-secret algorithms, using millions and millions of data points that were mined using very sophisticated and military-grade artificial intelligence. I did not eat and I did not sleep until, finally, one hotel emerged as the winner!

Okay all of that was a load of bull, I just booked the first hotel I could find on hotels.com

Anyway, moving along. After spending up to 60 seconds on the app, I found a very nice hotel, situated next to Lake Kawaguchi. The photos showed stunning views of the hotel overlooking the lake and Mount Fuji behind it. So it was a no-brainer and I booked it. Unfortunately, when we woke up this morning, the world around us was so foggy that we actually had to embark on a mini search-and-rescue mission just to find the car. The hotel itself was lovely, featuring a traditional Japanese-style room design that even included Getas and futons. Even though I found the coolest little hotel to give Elaine that authentic Japanese experience, my plan had one massive flaw – never take the free breakfast at traditional hotels because traditional hotels only serve traditional breakfast. Some things should be left in the past, like the moon bag and this breakfast. In fact, I actually think the hotel only offered free breakfast because no one in their right mind would actually pay for it. Okay, so let me try to paint you a word picture…

We arrived at the breakfast hall this morning and the first thing we noticed was a very strong fish smell. This, however, was not the kind of smell you’d actually enjoy, like when you walk through a fish market on the beach only hours after it was caught or that smell you get when cooking fish on an open fire, no, this was the kind of fish smell you could use to strip paint off the walls and ceilings before a major revamp. When we sat down and looked at the table in front of us, we could only identify a few items we were absolutely sure came from planet earth – cold rice, raw fish, raw eggs and seagrass. All the other items on the table remains a mystery and we have an international team of researchers investigating this phenomenon the Japanese people call breakfast. I looked at Elaine. Elaine looked at me. We looked down at the table and picked up our chopsticks because with 4 waiters staring at us from the corner, leaving was not an option. I kept on thinking to myself over and over again: “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening”. Then, to our rescue, came a group of locals that sat down at the table behind me. Elaine, subtle as she is, looked over my shoulder and guided me through the meal based on what the group behind me was doing. If they mixed one raw egg into the bowl of cold rice, so did I. If they drank the other raw egg straight from the cup, well, so did I. It felt like a reality TV show but I knew that there was no cash price waiting for me should I survive this. The one part of the raw egg I drank earlier, has already reached my stomach, whilst the other part, of the same egg, was still slowly crawling its way down the back of my throat. Finally, the waiter walked over to our table with a flask in her one hand and two cups in the other. My body, soul and mind craved the coffee that was walking right towards me, but when she poured the first cup, just like John Wick 2, it was more disappointment. No coffee, just some herbal green tea mix that is so healthy you may actually live till the age of 200. With every bite I took from the alien food, the walls keep closing in on me. Some bites were bearable, others you don’t question and just swallow. Then the world went dark around me, my brain blocking it all out.

When we left the hotel, life, as we knew it, changed forever. Our lives were altered. It made us question our very existence and we realised that we should never take another breath for granted because we can never be sure that tomorrow will come…Okay, it was bad, but don’t worry we’re okay now 🙂

Before we move on, here are the photos of the rooms and that breakfast:

The best thing about the photo is that you can’t smell it.
Our hotel in Mount Fuji
Our futons and ground-level dining table (the chairs are pretty much just back support because you sit on the floor)

After our breakfast, we were back on the road for the final 3 hours of our trip. When we arrived in Tokyo, the city greeted us with very strong winds and what felt like waterfalls coming down from the heavens. We returned our car to Haneda Airport and took the train to the city centre. The two blocks we had to walk from the station to the hotel was quite rough as the wind played with our 23kg suitcases just like a cat plays with a ball of wool. When we checked in at the hotel we were soaked and decided to wait for the storm to pass before doing anything else. Honestly, if this was just a normal storm, then I don’t want to see their typhoons!

This evening, around 19:00, the storm has passed and we decided to explore the city. Our first stop was at Shibuya crossing, arguably the busiest crossing in the world as 2500 – 3000 people cross the intersection every time the light changes (video and photo below). Then we stopped at the Rugby World Cup Megastore to look for additional supporters gear for the semi-finals but as you can imagine, most of the cool merchandise was already sold out. We spent about 3 hours in the city and have now returned to our room. Tokyo is incredibly clean and we love how vibrant the city is. It’s also unlike any other city we’ve seen so far where the locals actually follow the rules very carefully. For instance, look at the photos below and you’ll see how the people stand in lines on the platform to board the train. When you arrive at the platform you fall in line, no ifs or buts and it works great. Tokyo is the only city that can keep its people in line! (pun intended)

Now it’s time for us to get some sleep before the big day tomorrow.

 

Good night!
Andre