Today was my birthday and we had exhausted pretty much all of the things we thought we wanted to do this time round but I still had a couple of touristy things I wanted to do in Tokyo. We had a fairly lazy morning and opted for a breakfast at Starbucks instead of the regular hotel buffet included in our deal which can get a little monotonous after over a week.
After that we hit the metro and went to have a better look round the enormous Bic Camera at Yurakucho as the last time had only been a flying visit to pick up some essentials. After whiling away around an hour in the vast store looking at everything from mobile phone covers to herbal medicines we decided to take the plunge and try to rent some bikes.
We had done a little research and found some companies were quite expensive and not know how cycling would be in Tokyo or home long we would really want them for made us a little reluctant. One name kept popping up thought and that was Muji, it was just on the other side of the station from Bic Camera so we figured why not give it a go.
We got the last 2 bikes of the day and for the princely sum of 525 Yen (about a fiver) and a 3000 Yen deposit (about 30 quid which we got back) we were given the keys to the locks and told to have them back by 8pm. Right off we go then!
The bikes were ridiculous, they were tiny and well used but functional. The light worked, the brakes were not great but good enough and they even had gears although I’m not sure what they did because changing them seemed to do nothing. Putting my handbag in the front basket which was about as big at the bike itself we were off, I was a little too big for my bike but Mark looked absolutely hysterical on his, I spent the first 10 minutes of our little trip hardly able to cycle with tears streaming down my face just laughing at how silly he looked.
There are very few rules for cycling in Tokyo it seems to be, try to stay on the same side and the traffic and try to stop at red lights. It is perfectly acceptable to cycle on the pavement here and sometimes they are even marked up as shared space for bikes and pedestrians. You won’t find any of your red lanes here though and people will often amble into your path and you just have to be patient as you try to navigate round them. The whole affair is so relaxed it just seems to work.
I had a few places in mind that I wanted to see, Donguri Republic which is a shop in the Sky Tree mall catering solely to Ghibli products and then Kappabashi Dori which is a street dedicated to the catering industry where you can find anything you would need to run a restaurant including all of the plastic food they display outside the restaurants here.
Cycling the tiny bikes was hard work and after 6 or so miles we decided it was time to return them and after a quick look round the Sony showroom hunger took over and we were in search of food. The food of choice tonight was Shabu shabu which has always been a firm favourite with us and we ended up in a restaurant we swear we have been in before. Lots of tasty beef and a very confusing Baskin and Robins experience later I ended my birthday with a nice soak in the tub courtesy of a very nice Lush bath bomb. Perfect!
Sorry for the blurry pic the steam from the hotpot made it impossible to focus the camera!