(Read the full post and see more photographs at brown.exposure.co)
DAY 9: GOING HOME
All good things, as they say, must come to an end. And so we were finally on the last day of our time in Japan.
We slept in till 9:00 a.m., bathed, packed our stuff and left the apartment at 10:45 a.m., just before the stated 11:00 a.m. checkout time.
As per my usual practice with Airbnb apartments, I taught Isaac to make the bed and carry our own trash out, and to leave the place as close to the condition we moved in as possible. It's only good manners when you are a guest in someone's home, even if you paid for it.
We had one more stop to make before our 9pm flight: Akihabara, for one more round.
We took a train to Shinjuku Station and picked a block of lockers in the path towards the tracks for Narita Express.
The Narita Express was going to be our ride back to the airport at 5pm, and so it made sense to place our bags in a locker near our departure track 5.
I took a photo of our locker number and a few photos of the surroundings, so we won't be lost when we came back for it later.
Then, armed with just our daypacks, we took the Chuo-Sobu line to Akihabara. Or what I called the Chiobu line. I was corrected by my son on this though.
I set a return timing that we had to leave for Shinjuku station by — 4:00 p.m. — to give us ample time to get on our Narita Express.
Brunch was at a ramen shop outside Shinjuku station, after some hunting in the backstreets. No, I do not know the name of the shop but it was very very good. As you can see from the photos. The shop allowed noodle refills up to two times.
I saw a petite lady next to use polish off two helpings of the already generous portion. Isaac and I only managed one serving each.
We had a mission in Akihabara. One, to get a present for Joy, who liked Hatsune Miku, and two, to spend the $50 that Isaac received from his maternal grandmother.
We walked from building to building, floor to floor, evaluating each toy for replay value and coolness. The streets of Akihabara were closed to traffic on Sunday and we could walk freely on a street normally used for cars.
And boy, they were serious about the pedestrians-only rule. The wardens even pulled over moms riding their mamachari bicycles ferrying their kids, to tell them they were not allowed cycle across the road. The moms promptly apologized and dismounted to push their bicycles.
In the middle of our toy mission, we stopped for octopus balls and ice-cream. Every time I mentioned my love of octopus balls, the boy laughed. Same pattern one, the humour.
At 3:46 p.m., we finalized the items we wanted for his younger sister and himself. And precisely at 4pm, we left Akihabara to take the train back to our locker in Shinjuku station, and then onto the Narita Express to the airport.
I had one final mission at the airport after we checked in. To buy Tokyo Banana, Japanese Kit Kat and other random Japanese biscuits that I planned to give away to my mom, my mom-in-law and my own family.
I did a guesstimate of how many boxes I would need and when it came to payment, I used every last Yen note in my wallet and almost all of my coins. Swee swee.
Our flight home was nice and smooth. I watched Ryucho and His Seven Henchmen (a comedy about aging Yakuza) and then zonked out for the rest of the flight. Isaac finished his Ant-Man movie (continued from the Singapore flight to Tokyo) and watched movie after movie until we landed.
Mommy came to pick us up at the airport, which was sweet of her because it was 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I told her we could take a cab but she insisted on coming to get her boys.
When we landed, Isaac reminded me to return my Changi pocket wifi device (lifesaver, this device). Good man.
Isaac couldn't stop telling her all the stories of our trip on the car ride home.
When we reached home, a banner drawn by Joy was stuck on the door. It said, "Welcome home, Pa and Koko! ♥U!"
And with that, Koko and Papa finally completed their first Father-Son trip abroad.
(Read the full post and see more photographs at brown.exposure.co or view the embedded version below.)