LB + I decided to be modest today instead of walking 8 miles + hitting 2-3 neighborhoods every day. We hopped on the Tokyo subway, which we've become masters of in the past week, + there we were. So Ikebukuro it is.
At first, we gave each other looks like: remind me again why we wanted to come here. But then, as it does so often in Tokyo, we find the answers to questions we never asked out loud. First, found the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, with its permanent raining steel confetti, space-age feel, which was the perfect place for us to eat our packed lunch from Natural House. After a slight stroll, we ended up at Lumine Ikebukuro where we found:
1. An Ikebana (the art of flower arrangement) + a bonsai exhibition
2. The Tobu Department Store, which had floors + floors of dresses, kitchen appliances, bath towels as well as a mountain of clothes, like any other department store, but in addition to all of that it, it also had an extensive book + manga floor. A bookstore inside a department store--it makes so much sense!
3. The Japan Traditional Art Center, which sells handmade ceramic pottery from every region in Japan. Among the many beautifully-made (and very expensively priced) things there, I suddenly found a two-layer, Fukushima cracked celadon-style ochya tea mug with a painted galloping horse on it, the exact same one my obasama used to drink her instant coffee + her green tea each + every morning. I just stared at it, in a trance, before LB walked up, asked me why I was stuck, and then upon hearing my story, said: --Okay, we're buying two of those. For your grandmama
4. As we walked back to the subway, we ran into Echika, Ikebukuro's underground shopping mall, proving once again that some of the most beautiful things about Tokyo cannot be planned
And then, suddenly, it was time to leave Ikebukuro, leave Tokyo, leave Japan. Just like that. And I've never been sadder to leave a place before in my life. It wasn't just the motherland for me (being hoppa, that is, of mixed Japanese heritage) but it was also our honeymoon, a place of intense and amazing discovery for both of us, both individually + collectively. Japan was a dream, one I want to have over + over again
And then it was time to leave. Look at LB's face, it represented exactly how I felt too: