Hotto Koohii and Tonkotsu Ramen

5th day in Japan. The past few days have been spent in Tokyo visiting old places, meeting new people and getting in touch with old friends.

My plan today is to leave for Aomori as soon as I get a taste of Muteppou, which I have literally been dreaming about during these last two years. We left Basti’s place early as he left for work, so I had to find something to kill time with until Muteppou opens for lunch at 11. Unfortunately, Numabukuro station and its surroundings don’t offer much entertainment around 9 am on a Tuesday, so my last resort to escape the wind and pointless roaming was to enter the only premises available for idling, a McDo.

I haven’t been to a McDonald’s in a year or so, but I now wish I would have. The coffee here tastes even worse than home, thus relieving me of any creeping homesickness. Actually, at a different cafe, the coffee labeled ”American coffee” in Japanese was translated as ”weak coffee” in English. Admirable honesty. They could further improve it in the future and go with ”bad coffee” instead. But then again, I drink cold coffee from aluminum cans when in Japan, so the nadir has to be here somewhere.

To avoid walking around with a full travel backpack, Japanese train stations luckily offer coin lockers that can be conveniently used at any time for a small fee. These things are absent from all European locations I’ve visited due to the terrorism scare.

Once done with the ramen I will continue the journey towards areas that no man has gone to before. Sabae was a refreshing sight, and I would have gladly spent more time in the eyeglasses capital of the world, but unfortunately Golden Week thwarted those plans.

Looking forward the situation is clearly better. After three nights of modest ryokan living booked in Aomori and Hakodate (one and two nights respectively), I will move on to Sapporo (probably three nights), dissect the place and return south promptly in order to get a glimpse at Kyushu before facing the inevitability of an expiring rail pass. Obviously Kyushu would have been a better choice this time of year in any case, but I refuse to give up on Hokkaido. So why not both?

-Antti

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