Today’s the first day we got to sleep in as we were scheduled to leave the hotel at 11.30am. So sleep in we did… till 7.30am. ^^ We got up and did the last minute packing and realized that all our KitKat would not fit! O___O That meant Z had to go to Bic across the street to pick up another suitcase but luckily we managed to pack up on time and instead of having breakfast at the hotel on our last day, I just ate one of those super yummy apple-like pears that I had picked up in Shibuya. Like the peach before it, the pear was sooooooooooo juicy that I ate the entire thing and began to wonder where I’d be able to find Japanese fruits in Dubai.
We checked on time and headed to the Tokyo Kamii Mosque for Friday prayers. The mosque is stunning, it’s Turkish architecture making us feel right at home. A spiral staircase leads up to the women’s section which is on the second floor overlooking the men’s section below. As you climb up the stairs you’ll find a a stand with the Friday sermon, in Japanese and English for the various nationalities of people who’ll come. The mosque is very welcoming and encourages people interested in learning more about Islam and Muslims to come to the mosque and we found many ladies curious to learn more about Islam up on the second floor eagerly waiting for the Friday prayers to start.
The sermon was read out 4 times… in Japanese, English, Arabic and Turkish. After prayers, we headed downstairs where the mosque was offering free lunch to all the visitors as well as everyone who had come for Friday prayers. We didn’t eat at the mosque since we’d already been booked somewhere else- Aladdin for a buffet with some really good kebabs. It was half-way through lunch that sensei received a phonecall that left her pacing up and down the restaurant looking super-excited. It turned out that she won an award for her book. The perfect icing on her cake after a splendid vacation. She was so happy that she wanted to order mango lassi for everyone, but forgot that it wasn’t an Indian restaurant so she ordered a round of mango juice instead ^^ I’m so happy that we were there to share one of her happiest moments on the trip.
One this high note, we left for the Edo Museum where we found that everyone’s tickets had different pictures on them. It’s the little things that make all the difference.
We headed up the escalator to the 5th floor and even the escalator ride was fun because it’s a regular escalator that suddenly becomes flat in the middle before turning back into steps as it heads higher up ^^. The museum is pretty massive and we were stuck between wanting to see everything and not being late. I gave up on taking pictures because everything was picture-worthy and I just wanted to take everything in. At the exit to the 5th floor, I ended up printing myself another epic souvenir- the front page of the newspaper on my birthday and I later got sensei to tell me what was the big news that day. It turned out to be some big Enron like scandal in some recruitment firm- because some things never change.
We headed to the first floor looking for the bus parking and we ended up stumbling across the museum shops, where – you guessed it- there were a million more models. We ended up getting two really intricate models of shops in Japan similar to one of the exhibits that I had seen earlier in the museum. The instructions may all be in Japanese, but if it’s a model, I have to attempt it ^^
You can see Sky Tower from the Edo Museum and that’s where we were headed next. We decided to skip the trip to the top and instead wandered around the stores on the 4th floor where of course we stumbled upon a Nanoblock store <3 We didn’t have much shopping in mind so we decided to explore the 5th floor which was intriguingly called the Japan Experience.
It was a good thing we did too because that’s where we stumbled across a store with traditional glasswork. We ended up spending half an hour there with much Yen to AED conversions and Whatsapp back and forth with my mum to figure out which one she liked best. We were a bit worried how we would take it back because it was glass but the elderly gentleman at the counter packed it so well that we were left with nothing to worry about except what was for dinner ^^ Dinner was at Amara, an Indian restaurant on the 6th floor of the Sky Tower where we had chicken biryani, palak paneer, spicy chicken, seafood salan and of course, lassi and chai. They had kulfi too but we parked that, saying that’s important to leave something to look forward to on your next trip. Tummies full we left Sky Tower in the evening and walked to the train station where we’d take a train to get to our bus- another first.
We bought our tickets for 150 yen and headed to Asakusa where our bus was waiting for us. We took some blurry pictures on the train, but even through the blur you can see our smiling faces :) We took a picture of our ticket as well, since the ticket is swallowed up at the exit as you leave.
The bus took us over Rainbow Bridge for the last time and before we knew it we were at Haneda airport, buying more KitKat from Lawson’s and Royce from the Duty Free upon sensei’s recommendation. As we waited to board the plane, we all pooled our change together trying to figure out how to spend it since we’d probably not be able to convert the coins back home, but by the time we were done counting the coffee shop at the airport had also closed so to our last moment in Japan, we did the very Japanese thing of just going to the vending machine.
We were all split up on the plane and everyone just tried to grab some much needed shut-eye before getting home. We met again at baggage claim, with promises of meeting again and keeping in touch. At that moment, I just wanted to go back- back to the bus, back to walking everywhere with our trusty fan, back to hunting for vending machines, back to staring at beautifully crafted models. InshaAllah there will be another chance to go back but Alhamdulillah, after a beautiful trip we were back home <3