I made it to Japan! 45 minutes early too. More to come once I get to the hotel and can gather my thoughts a bit (and have wifi).
Well, I've just arrived here at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, thank goodness. The hotel will have to wait for another post, however, because we've got a lot of travel to catch up on!
Where were we? At the Shinjuku Park Tower!
The tower itself actually contains many different things, including lots of offices. The hotel starts on the 39th floor and goes all the way to the top.
Whike I was in the right place, I was on the wrong side of the building. Luckily the guard at the office entrance had a map to explain where I needed to go:
Getting around to the other side involved a bit of a maze of some very lovely walkways and courtyards:
evebtualky I made it to the other side and into the Park Hyatt entrance. The first floor lobby is lovely but very simple, since all that's down there is a bunch of elevators to get you up to the hotel. After giving my name I was escorted upstairs to check in.
The elevators, by the way, not only have lovely lighting and wood paneling, but each one features different sculptures. This elevator features sculptures of dogs:
We reached the lobby level, which starts with this wonderful atrium:
This was also my first taste of the amazing views the hotel offers. Bring so high up means that everything has a view:
It was about 6am at this point so everything was very quiet. That's just as well, because as I soon discovered the hotel is a very well-appointed maze.
Down this hallway...
Lies the casual restaurant, which was just starting breakfast service:
Turning the corner, there's a kind of library hallway:
And turning the corner again, you finally reach the lobby proper:
I checked in, but it would be another half hour or so before our room was ready. So, I headed back to the restaurant for breakfast.
While I wouldn't say Tokyo as a whole is extremely expensive (at least compared to LA), one thing about staying at an expensive hotel is everything is expensive. Keeping in mind ¥1,000 is a little under $10:
I opted for the Belgian waffles, which I have to say were excellent:
By the time I finished my room was ready, and another elevator ride brought me up several more floors to reach it.
Home sweet home for the next three days:
They'd set out pastries, parfaits and fresh carrot juice for us:
And last but not least, the view:
Time to settle in and freshen up a bit, then it's onward to explore Tokyo!
Boy is it late. One more quick post to get us caught up to the present (and then I can get myself caught up on sleep)...
After freshening up in the room, we headed out to the atrium lobby, which in the evening is a busy mix of bar, lounge, and restaurant. Amidst glasses of wine the sun set on our first day in Tokyo, which couldn't have looked better from 43 stories up:
I was in touch with a friend from high school, also named Alexander, who has been living and working in Tokyo for several years now and offered to take us out to a locals dinner. This entailed venturing out to Meguro, to some very small locals restaurants where the menus are only in Japanese.
First was Onoda Shoten, which is a sort of Japanese-Korean fusion restaurant. The entire place is very literally smaller than my apartment. Copious quantities of meat and veggies were ordered and grilled very hot, along with several rounds of drinks.
That was all pretty filling, but for the true locals experience you have to hit more than one spot. So we next went to nearly Minato-machi Baru, which is a sort of Japanese-Italian pub.
The place had something like five different menus, some with food and some with drink, all entirely in Japanese, which Alex luckily talked us through:
My cola highball (highballs are quite popular in Japan).
Also on the table were fried oysters, some fantastic potato salad, tiramisu, and a sort of Hors d'oeuvre plate of bread and curry nuts and salads, which we hadn't ordered. Apparently as Japanese pubs such as this it's standard for them to bring out a plate like this, which you're then charged for, as a sort of table charge (but at least you get food in the bargain).
It was getting close to midnight, and not only were we tired but wary of missing the train back to Shinjuku, which ended at 12:30am. We made it back to the Shinjuku train station, and walked back to the hotel— the same exact walk I'd made at 6am that morning. A full circle day if there ever was one.
Well, it's now 3:30am, and I've been up nearly 26 hours. Time for bed. Till tomorrow!
©2016 Ben Wszalek