Day 1-The morning commute

We had a few hours to go explore the neighborhood before meeting up with our local guide Selena at 9 am.  First place we found was the restaurant where we ate last night.  It’s located in the basement of this corner building with very little signage in either language.  In retrospect I think I understand now why we were met with a combination of disbelief and amusement when we slid open the well worn wooden door at the bottom of the stairs. Next we decided to go in search of a New Zealand coffee chain called Mojo. Along the way we were greeted by many lovely little vignettes and unexpected pockets of greenery and blooms.  Beacons of spring in any language.

   

  Lucky for us the coffee shop was not closed and had just opened for business.


  We asked for cream but were politely informed that they only served milk. Cream or half-half is not common here in Japan. However my iced coffee came with a small container of gum syrup, which is quite commonplace at all the coffee joints.   It’s a simple syrup that dissolves quite nicely into iced drinks and has a pleasing sugar-like taste. 

 One of the things I noticed the most about our morning walk was how quiet the streets were as the people went about their business of getting to work and/or school. Absent were the loud horns and shouts typical of some big cities. Instead everyone seemed to go on their way in an orderly procession. The sounds of footsteps on the pavement were occasionally replaced by the odd call of a crow or the whizzing sound of a bike tires. 

    “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

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