Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday, May 1: Locating a Gluten Free Restaurant and the Two Towers

You can find them on Trip Advisor
Mary was trying to look up some things on the internet, but the connection in our room was dubious.  She ended up sitting in the hallway to get a good connection.  She apparently researched some gluten-free eating establishments.  She wrote the information on the subway map we were using and she still has it, so I cannot provide full information on this.  We left the hotel and headed for the subway and got off quite near the Little Bird Café, although we could not find it.  So, we went back into the subway where the internet connection was good and we looked on Google maps program (instead of trying to use GPS).  I saw which way we needed to go from the map, based on where we had already been on foot.  It turns out Mary is top notch with subway maps and with GPS.  I am good with what lays on the land and normal maps.  Together we are a good team!  I explained, in my previous post, how to get to the Little Bird Café in Tokyo.  We did locate it right across the street from the Library, as indicated on the website.  We were early: they do not open until 1300 hours.  We decided to go to the Tokyo Tower, then return for lunch.
retaining wall with lovely flowers
 We walked back to the subway and got off near the Tokyo Tower.  It was a beautiful day for a stroll through lovely downtown Tokyo.  We crossed the street by The Green Building and were at the foot of the tower in no time.  Down a slope, in the parking area outside the main entrance, was a man and his monkey entertaining a crowd of onlookers beneath row upon row of wind-filled fish.  We paused momentarily, then stepped through the entrance of the Tokyo Tower. 
Hasegawa Green Building

We went way up and enjoyed great views of the city. There was so much to see.  In one place there was a glass window in the floor and Mary laid down and took a selfie, so I took a photo of her taking a selfie.  It is the best. She is so pretty!  We had a great time and relaxed at the diner way up there, I had a Coke and she got something evil; ice cream or something. Then, we were on our way out and guess what?! they had a gift shop. Who knew?  Mary bought some bling for our zipper pulls. Then there were other shops, that apparently were not the official gift shop for The Tower, as they only took cash. So, Mary could not get the awesome Hello Kitty samurai shoulder bag and chop sticks.  We needed our cash for the subway and we were both relatively low on yen. 
Tokyo Tower
Looking down!
 You can see down below, that the monkey show and gathering has departed. Those little lines, way down there, are the strings of wind-sock fish blowing in the breeze.
 Then we headed out.  It was overcast and suddenly a Japanese raindrop hit my face. Then BANG!! Lightening struck very nearby.  Scared the crap out of me, Mary, and several passing business men.  I rather took off down the street.  While Mary stood her ground, as she was attempting to take a vertical panoramic photo of the tower at the time of the huge crashing noise.  Turns out she did not see the flash of the lightening.  I had seen it, and it was simultaneous with the noise, so  . . .    We laughed and Mary dug in her purse and found the little flat umbrella she had bought in Japan on her first trip here, over five years ago.
Here is a photo, I took, which captured the street we came and went on and the surrounding area.  It really started to pour, and Mary's umbrella was compact for a reason: it fit one person under it.  So, we went back passed the Green Building and stood in a doorway with some other people sheltering from the rain.  Then out into it again, to the bottom of the street to the 7-Eleven (yes, that's right!).  We used our bank cards to get some cash, as the Little Bird Café only accepts cash.  We went back out, the rain letting up some, and walked one short block to the Shakaden Temple.

Mary and her compact yellow umbrella
It was huge. We walked around the court yard and did not stay. It's great steps were cordoned off with a rope.  We headed back toward the train station. It started raining hard again, so we took a break in another door way, then continued to the train.  The entrances to the subway tunnels have great winds in them, that are apparently caused by the trains (so I read).  We took advantage of the great winds blowing in the stairwell to dry our clothes as we descended.  We made our back to the Little Bird Café.  It was drizzling and such a lovely day, I felt like writing a poem, but we were walking to the cafe from the subway, and there was no way to sit around and wax poetic.  Mary was cold because she had worn a sleeveless t-shirt today.  It was warm in the elevator, which was just big enough for two people. Up to the third floor.
I followed Mary into a narrow corridor into a bright and cheery dining area with kitchen to the right.  The walls were gray concrete, but there were window posters on the walls giving the effect you were looking out on Tokyo and Greece and a couple port holes where you were viewing sea turtles and fish.  Around the upper part of the room were colorful extra virgin olive oil cans and the occasional pot or pan.  The tables were painted brightly.  We sat at a pink one.  The proprietor had squares of fake green vegetation attached to the front of the counter surrounding the kitchen.  There was a little metal bird sculpture on the counter and a pine cone, that had been painted silver, hanging from the overhead A/C unit. 
The menu was thick with photos of dishes, with name and description written underneath.  All Gluten Free!  How was I to chose?  Then my eyes fell on "waffles and fried chicken"!  That is what I had at the GF place in NYC, when Mary and I went there.  Of course, I got the waffles and fried chicken.  Mary got with waffles with butter and ice cream on top and a Coke.
Mary's waffles with slabs of butter and fancy ice cream
I hardly knew what to eat first.  It was a most delightful experience; worth the earlier trip to find it. Mary said the combination of butter and ice cream was wonderful on waffles. The presentation was lovely and every morsel was delicious.  When I saw the lone pine cone hanging above the kitchen, I told Mary it was for good luck. She said that wasn't true, unless it rhymed.  So, I wrote a poem:
We had a delightful time there. Mary and I did 'rock paper scissors' and she won, so she got to pay.  I paid for our dinner later the same evening, when we went to Denny's, which is located in our hotel, but that is a whole other interesting experience.  I thanked the woman there for making me so happy. She said that she and the man assisting her in the kitchen were both gluten intolerant.  They were very nice.  I did not get her name, but will make efforts to give her a top review in Trip Advisor. **End of Fab Experience**

I stopped and took a train video at a busy intersection, while Mary shivered in her sleeveless t-shirt.  It had stopped raining. She says it's called a tank top, but I think not.  Here is my train video: train crossing in downtown.
We walked passed the hat shop, where I noticed they had taken the "Happy Birthday" hats in, likely due to the earlier down pour.  While having a delightful time eating GF food, we decided to catch the train to the Sky Tree Tower.  When we got to the end of the purple Z line, there was actually signage directing us to the Sky Tree.  We took several escalators up (following the crowd) into a mall/shopping area that walked through to a large outdoor court yard decked with rows of fish wind socks flying in the breeze and picnic tables.  These fish had the flags of different countries on them.  Mary found the Greek one!  Photo of it is in the sidebar - - ->
Sky Tree Tower, Tokyo
We took some photos before going in.  Apparently it is the tallest tower in the world. We went up to the 450th floor.  Besides the fantastic view, they had some aneme thing going on up there, with doom and gloom music; perhaps a movie theme or something.  We could not see Mt Fuji from there, due to it was late afternoon and the sun was blinding us and it was quite hazy far off in that direction. 

you can see the shadow of the tower in the photo
After we came back down on the elevator we sat on a bench and rested our feet.  Mary had a fold-out of the 360 degree view, naming sites you can see all the way around.  I took it and made it into a tube and put my head inside, then rotated the thing around my head, and said, "I can see Mt. Fuji!"  Mary said, "All the people getting off the elevator think you are an idiot."  We went out through the gift shop, where Mary bought some more bling for her purse/bag.  Then we took photos of the fish in the wind with the sun setting and re-entered the evil, tempting, shopping area. 

We went into the Hello Kitty Store, but they did not have the cutemous chop sticks or samurai Hello Kitty shoulder bag.  We left Hello Kitty empty handed.  Mary found more bling in another shop, and this shop also had more cat bags! Oh, the torture! I did buy me one cat bag.  Soooo cute!  There was one store that had bandanas folded around cubes to make animal shapes, and one with just knives, and one with chop sticks, fans, and wonderful small animals shaped in stone and glass.  Mary was looking for a jacket or sweat shirt.  She found a jacket, but the price was 22000 yen, meaning $220.00. We left there in a hurry. Then she found a one-size-fits-all hoody jacket, that she tried on with the help of a young lady there. It has one button that holds the front closed. It looked perfect on her and cost $18.00.  She calls it her Jedi cloak.  Then we rode the Z line and changed to the G line, then when we changed to the H line, the machine took our tickets! We had to each buy another ticket to go just two stops on the H line.
We came out at the exit nearest our hotel, which we did not do when we arrived here yesterday.  Mary said we would need to cross the river. I said, "Look, there is the foot bridge and the shrine we can see from our hotel window."  So, we did not cross the river, but turned around and turned the corner and proceed on to our hotel.  We rested a bit, then went down to eat.  There was a Denny's on the 2nd floor of the Akihabara Washington Hotel.
Denny's does not have the same menu as in the USA. I got the 100 percent beef burger, with no bun.  It came with a bed of onions, some potato wedges, and a cooked green vegetable.  They did not understand 'ketchup', but it was delicious just the same. It was furnished with higher quality tables and chairs than in the US.  We went back to our room and got in our jammies, and watched "Hudsucker Proxy."  Lights out around 11:40 p.m.

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