Wednesday, 8th January 2020
Teahouses and Go pictureTeahouses and Go pictureI barely slept the previous night, perhaps my brain was overheated thanks to the Robot Restaurant, perhaps due to the timezone change. I was the first to breakfast at 6:30 in the 1st floor Bonsalute buffet place, you get a table tag when you enter so easier to choose a table then go get food without worrying about losing a place to sit. A good mixture of edibles, decided to try more different things the next day than the rice congee and scrambled eggs I had.

Teahouses and Go pictureTeahouses and Go pictureRather wet in Tokyo rain for the start of day, indeed very wet walking around Shinjuku Gyoen which is a large park not too far from my hotel. Google Maps got me there on foot though I needed to get used to using it. Shinjuku Gyoen was winter parched almost to barren-ness. There was a greenhouse to look round out of the rain. I went to the Rakuutei Tea House therein, happily I could buy a ticket first using my PASMO card as I didn't have the cash to do so. Didn't have to take shoes off inside. On entering I was greeted by an old lady (I forgot to shut the sliding door) who first gave me a Japanese sweet and a wooden knife to cut it into bitesize pieces. The green tea came later and was interesting, not what I was used to.

Teahouses and Go pictureTeahouses and Go pictureI confused my PASMO card when I went to the wrong line at Shinjuku Sanchome Station to get to Ichigaya then backed out. Happily staff saved the day. Google Maps saw me safely from Ichigaya to the Nihon Ki-in which I had failed to find seven years ago. However the person who was going to give a tour had got the dates wrong, I imposed on a kind lady there who did show me some of the place, the famous "Yugen no ma" room where professional tournament matches are held, a museum, and a room where certificates are produced. I forgot to give anyone teas I had brought from Heathrow as a presento. I also when I put my shoes back on stepped on a tatami mat a sin. I did look at the shop but the goods were nearly all in Japanese.

Teahouses and Go pictureTeahouses and Go pictureWalked to where Google Maps said a restaurant Audley Travel recommended was but there the trail ended. I only knew the English for Tempura Abe Honten, but the visible signs were in Japanese. Happily a foreign couple had just come from there and asked me if I was headed there! So downstairs I headed to a small homely setup where I shared a table with a Thai family. They improved my eating of Tempura by telling me to put the radish into the sauce. One could flavour the food with red salt or grey pepper, there was a 3-sectioned container to help this. It was a good reasonably priced meal, a flavour of Japan.