Thank You Shige!

Yesterday afternoon I spent walking around Ebisu (Shibuya area, the location for this post) aimlessly, just stopping in random shops and restaurants mostly. I did have one objective while I was there, though: ramen. I read about a place there called Ippudo Ramen which is supposed to serve a fantastic bowl of chashu (roast pork) ramen. It was easy to find, and with some difficulty I ordered a bowl of ramen and some gyoza. My ramen senses were tingling when the bowl landed in front of me - it took all of my willpower to pause for a moment and take a photo. Easily my best chashu ramen experience to date.

The holy grail

Later on I found an English bookshop and finally got myself a copy of the Japan lonely planet and Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (a recommendation from Adam). I was rung up by a very nice but cynical New Zealander and we talked about traveling for a bit. He pretty much told me not to go to any of the places on my list, except New Zealand of course.

Shige took me out in Shinjuku last night and I had a great time! We had agreed to meet at the Shinjuku station’s east exit ticket gate at 6pm. I got there at 6:05 after mistakenly stopping at Shibuya (1 stop too early on the Yamanote line) and walked around for a bit looking for Shige. Shinjuku station is the largest and busiest train station in Tokyo (the world?). I did finally make it to the east gate after finding the east south gate… Even standing right there at the gate, it took me another 30 minutes to finally spot Shige, who had been waiting for me the whole time.

He took me to a great (and cheap!) restaurant and we enjoyed a light dinner and several drinks before he took me to this tiny bar a few blocks away. His friends were working the bar and there was only a small handful of people inside including a belligerent (but entertaining) woman. We enjoyed many more drinks, sang some karaoke, and I met some great people. I really wish I could have stayed longer, but my hotel requires that I be in by 1am every day. Shige walked me back to the station and I made it home just in time - 1am exactly.