Saturday night sparks

Saturday night, after some very restful rest of burrowing my nose in a book all day, I ventured out into the neighborhood foraging for food. Living in Tokyo is bringing back the exhausting daily work of “I don’t know what that says,” a challenging aspect of living in a country where the alphabet is very pretty but looks like scribbles. It’s fun when you are on vacation, but it’s another story when a new resident working, say, 1,876 hours in one week. A story that leaves you, at times, hungry.

Like an orphan standing outside the windows of restaurants bursting with wealthy patrons, I watched as they sat at their tables, tossing their heads back in laughter, busily wielding chopsticks and spoons. I wasn’t in the mood for the three restaurants I know well, leaving my options to plastic food models and menus with pictures. And I wanted to stay close to home. But what appealed to me most also daunted me most.

I wandered down tiny side streets in hopes of the perfect soba shop, a quiet hideaway with a magical snippet of English on the menu. All the while, the rumble and boom of what I presumed to be thunder was carrying on in the distance. I soon found myself at the Imperial Palace moat, stumbling on a small and silent crowd of on-lookers.


People were lining the perimeter of the palace grounds, in quiet contemplation of the spectacular, endless show far off over Tokyo Bay. The further I walked, the more people I found: sitting in trees, perched high on walls, crowding street corners.

When it ended, I walked to the market and bought some fruit, gouda and crackers and returned home full and satisfied.

7 Responses to “Saturday night sparks”

  1. charlotte says:

    i’d very much like to come and help figure out those menus on your behalf (although quite how i’d do that is, at present, a mystery).

  2. Stephanie says:

    Charlotte, you are more than welcome to.

    I would be eternally grateful.

  3. charlotte says:

    well, that would be wonderful then. i’ll get to work on a clever translation device.

  4. BF says:

    love the sense of unexpected charm of being in a new place. (and also, the more difficult parts of that)

  5. sara says:

    Wow, these pictures are just amazing. Your post really took me back to my study abroad days in college. I’d just arrived in Prague, a few days before my program was to start. Didn’t know a soul there, couldn’t speak a word of Czech, was living in a very Czech neighborhood where few people appeared to speak a word of English, and really no one was around to help since the program staff weren’t around yet. Even though the alphabet was familiar, I felt so lost. And hungry. I think I ate my first two meals out of a vending machine in my building until my body adjusted to the time change and I felt more oriented.

    Hope you get more comfortable in Tokyo. I’m really loving all your posts about the city.

  6. nikole says:

    oh my, so beautiful.

  7. gine says:

    lovely pictures ^^ .. XOXO

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