Day 2

Like water receeding back into the ocean, the memories fade so quickly…

Breakfast coupons eagerly awaiting redemption, I sample the fare that only the b can provide. Tasteful but not entirely satisfying, I grudgingly eat cold cereal, scrambled eggs and a particularly pale hot dog. Eat up, big boy…we’re walking the Sumida today. Map check – 6 miles from Ueno Park to Odaiba. No problem – just follow the river. Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing 13+ bridges as cool winds hold off the heat? At least, that’s the plan.

Ueno is just as it is – large and park-like, but with more construction. What’s that deafening noise, though? I’ve heard of cicadas but haven’t heard them before. Chalk up yet a new experience, though not quite bucket list material. As I’m enjoying my noisy stroll, I notice a series of tori to my left, giving me a chance to finally shoot something that was on my list. Not nearly as impressive as the shrine of Fushima Inari, but I couldn’t make it there so this has to scratch the itch. I pass some sculptures along the way to the main road to connect me to the river.

By this time, the heat is bearing down. I truly begin to understand…no, appreciate…the meaning of “dry heat.” Not something I’ll snicker at anytime soon. Q-Mart stop later, loaded up with a gallon of the good stuff and I’m back to prime form.

To my surprise, I see a tower in the distance, and I vaguely recall something about a new one being built. Joy – I’ve stumbled on the unexpected…exactly what these painful walks are supposed to uncover.
Blister painful.
In sandals.
Three year old, broken-in sandals.
At least I get a few good shots, including something only good fortune can provide.

River walk, bridges, heat, no bathrooms. Not even the Chu Hi can hold me over. Each step is painful, and the rainy weather forecast, while not entirely cursing me, is providing me dull, grey light with occasional sprinkles. Why, if I wasn’t so naturally good-natured, this solitary walk might have driven me into the river.
Oh wait.
This side is closed – I need to walk further by crossing the river.
A door closes and a (very) small window opens.

Ok – Yurikamome train – here I come. Take me to Odaiba directly. At least the view is nice and a relative bargain at ¥390, but I’m still running on fumes when I get there. I get desperate…barely human…almost succumbing to eating McD, but a local Starbucks comes to the rescue of my health and civility.

After a quick breather, darkness is falling and I’m ready to take this little oasis in, especially the famous, coloful bridge I’ve seen and passed before. Climb some stairs to the third floor, and as the horizon enters my view, I’m awed by the skyline view. The Blade Runner-esque cityscape, lights dotting the darkness. I’ve seen this view from 52F, but this is entirely different in width, breadth, scope…texture. However, I realize now the events from the past have an effect. The bridge looks less rainbow than I recalled. Of course, I’m satisfied it’s just lit.

Take it all in, as best as you can…there’s a ferris wheel waiting for you, of which I become very familiar with in several different angles. I’m thinking of Santa Monica Pier, the London Eye….how can I *see* this differently…hopefully I did.

I go full circle, ending up back where I started. Feeling peckish, I find a fancy looking restaurant to settle in to eat a not-so-fancy katsu kare. I recall good memories of an earlier trip, ordering the same dish from a vending machine under the tutelage of a wise master and the quizzical look of a compadre. I recall it costing a lot less scratch. In the current situation, it’s like paying $15 for meatloaf. No doubt the latte and crepe significantly increased the bill. Creature of habit I am – it all goes down easy.

Return back to the city via Yurikamome, going through the bridge. Back in the hotel, again not entirely satisfied. The groove isn’t there yet. Tomorrow…let’s tackle Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya. Certainly there’ll be something there I can put my feeble skills to work!

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