Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Day 11: Chofu - Nihonbashi

Distance covered: 23.1km
Weather: Stormy

The final day of a walk always brings mixed feelings, of anticipation of reaching the end, of euphoria at crossing the finishing line, of satisfaction at achieving a goal, of relief at the thought of not having to get up the next morning and shoulder that goddamn pack, of regret that the adventure is over, of emptiness.

I woke after a poor night's sleep. My hotel room got quite hot during the night, but I was loath to attempt adjusting the air conditioning given the age of the equipment. Breakfast was a set menu of an omelet, a slice of orange, two small wiener sausages (which I ate!), salad, soup and toast. I found a nice table by the window but had to move when a smoker arrived at the next table and lit a cigarette. I can put up with a certain amount of cigarette smoke during the day and in the evening, but first thing in the morning, and especially during breakfast, my tolerance is very low.

It was raining as I set off at 8am and proceeded down Route 20 to Sengawa, where I spotted the Kewpie Mayonnaise factory my friends from the previous evening had mentioned. It says something about the quality of the scenery between Chofu and Shinjuku that this was one of the highlights worthy of a photograph. Things got much worse. An hour or so later I found myself walking beside the raised Shuto Expressway. It remained by my side for the next eight or so kilometres, all the way to Shinjuku.

I took my only break of the morning at a 24-hour McDonalds near Sasazuka. There were a dozen or so people upstairs, most of whom were making use of the free Wi-Fi and working away on laptops. There was one couple asleep.

Shinjuku itself has some spectacular architecture, made even more spectacular by the thunder and lightening that coincided with my arrival. My route took me passed Shinjuku Park Tower (whose occupants include the Park Hyatt Hotel of Lost in Translation fame), the towering Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and Shinjuku Station, the busiest station in the world.

My hotel was on the other side of the station just off the Koshu Kaido, so I stopped off for a quick break and to dump my pack (Mrs Fool had checked in the day before but was out when I arrived). I had lunch at a nearby restaurant and then set off, minus my rain jacket and rain pants but with my trusty umbrella in hand, on the final leg of my journey to Nihonbashi, some six kilometres away. My feet were soaking wet by this stage (after two days of walking in the rain my shoes were completely waterlogged), but I enjoyed the walk through Yotsuya and Kojimachi, and by the time I reached the grounds of the Imperial Palace the rain had stopped.

I followed the moat around to Marunouchi, cut through Tokyo station, and arrived at Nihonbashi just after 3pm. I laughed when I saw there were major roadworks going on over the bridge and cones everywhere.

After some celebratory coffee and cake at a coffee shop, I made my way back to Tokyo station and caught a train to Shinjuku.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading about the walk, bro. I hope there is going to be a write up of the KJ concert. Did Mrs Fool remember who you were?