The monorail drops us off at Hamamatsucho station. First thing we spot is a vending machine with a bunch of whacky toys. Animals with giant chins, heads with little dudes inside driving them, sleeping animals and some fruit zombies.
ally want that Orange fruit zombie. It kind of looks like a zombie Tangerino. I drop 200 yen in and hope for the best. Nailed it!
Figuring out the metro to Shinjuku is easy. There’s a ring around Tokyo that makes it pretty simple, other lines branch out from it. Everyone on the metro is either on their phone or sleeping. It’s super quiet on there, you can hear the creaking of the bendy connector part. There are numbers on the map that show how many minutes to get to each stop. It updates at every stop so it’s like a count down. Pretty awesome system
Queenie shows me a comment on a recent facebook pic she posted from our friend Arturo. He gives us 3 good craft beer spots to check out. New mission. One of them is fairly close to where we’ll be staying. It’s called Watering Hole. We’re to ask for Kazuya Hashimoto, a friend of his. We’re on the case.
When we get to Shinjuku there’s still a half hour to kill before the JR station opens and we can activate our rail passes. We decide to nab some breakfast at the station. We walk passed a place called NEWoMan food hall and there are some really upscale looking spots in there. We dip in to check it out.
(I should have gone up closer to get a better pic of the mural on the back wall of this joint, it was killer. We didn’t really notice it until we had left and were walking by outside.)
We talk to the hostess at a place called Sawara and she sits us at the bar. The food going by looks bomb, amazing presentation. Cool little bar too. Edison bulbs and industrial feel. Jazzy Italian lounge music is playing, which seems kind of odd. But it is laying down a fantastic morning breakfast vibe. Stand up bass solo hits as our coffees arrive.
We decide to ramp up our coffees with a little Maker’s Mark. Yeah it’s only 7am but we’re on vacation and technically already started drinking 4 hours ago on the plane. The fashionable multi-braceleted bartender guy is quite confused by this. We try to pantomime that we just want a shot for our coffee but he doesn’t quite understand so he grabs a menu and points to the Maker’s. Yep. Ok.
He comes back with 2 hefty glasses. Probably about 3 ounces in each. Yowza. Let’s have some breakfast. Bacon, eggs sunnyside up, side of wild rocket, ham, a cup of… maybe hollandaise?..and some thick toast. I made little combo sandwich bites. (whaaa… I didn’t get a shot of it. It was great.)
We go to the JR office and activate our passes. Now we can travel most places for ‘free’. It’s a 15 minute walk or so to the N.U.T.S hotel. Everything is fairly orderly. Walking and driving here is on the left. Keep left except to pass is amazingly efficient. They don’t have those ‘Look Right’ signs like they do in England to prevent tourists from being stupid.
The hotel seems to be in a cool area. Right next to a giant park and a good swath of restaurants and bars. We stop at a Lawsons convenience store for some hotel beers and pick the 4 cutest labels.
We show up at the N.U.T.S hotel around 9am. It stands for New Urban Time and Space. Maybe the worst acronym to name combo ever. An older lady behind the counter asks for our passports. She’s having a hard time finding our reservation. “Yo nat han?” She asks. Now I’m confused. Oh my name? “Jonathan”, “Oh Yonathan”,”yep”. Ok.
We can’t check in until 4pm so we ditch our backpacks and just grab the day pack to go explore the city. The hotel is in a great location and the Shinjuku Gyoen park is only a few minutes walk away. We start our Tokyo exploration there.