It's 13 hours from San Jose to Shanghai, and Karen wasn't that excited about China. But once we got there for a 24-hour layover (how bad could it be?), that changed. Shanghai is big--the biggest--but it's clean and friendly, if really alien. No one speaks English, unlike India or Tokyo, where everyone you'll deal with has at least a smattering. The only disappointment was the food. We ended up at POP, which was recommended for the views, and they're lovely. Too bad it was upscale American. As Karen mentioned, street food for breakfast was fine, but I missed out on noodles and dumplings. On to Tokyo.
We stayed in Koreatown in an air b'n'b roughly the size of a walk-in closet. The reviews said it slept two comfortably, maybe even three. Three what? Oompaloompas? Hobbits? Also, it boasted a total of two power outlets and using the loo was like something out of Blade Runner. But it was fine, close to the subway and littered with cheap food and stores with names like Skin Garden.
Tsukiji fish market was also a kick. Luckily we got there a bit later, after the morning chaos died down. One wouldn't normally associate fish market with cute, but ten octopuses neatly arranged in a box (octobox?) is kind of irresistible. Somewhere in here there's a joke about how they have eight legs but they come in ten-packs, but it eludes me.
And, of course, the department store confections as noted previously. But meat and sandwiches get the same loving presentation. Those sandwiches, by the way, are strawberry-whip cream on the left and mango-whip cream on the right. It might sound odd, but how far off from cake is white bread? Anyway, I just ate one and it works.
And then there's the izakaya and the sushi and the tempura and the soba and the kanseiki and the ramen and the okonomiyaki and the takoyaki and the tofu, but those are yet to come. We're currently aboard the Shinkansen, making our way to Osaka at warp nine.