We get off the train one & a quarter hour later and start out in search of our apartment. Our Airbnb host sent detailed directions, map and instructions in a pdf a couple days earlier. The apartment is a five minute walk to the metro station - ten minutes to Chabad, five minutes to King Falafel (run by the other
Once we find our dwelling for the next four days, I remind everyone to leave their footwear at the entrance, the genkan
, just as it was prescribed in the host’s directives. The apartment appears to be on the smaller side by American standards, but this is to be expected since we are in Japan. It seems that my gang was not aware of this and I am facing a small insurrection. There is not much walking space left once we settle in with our suitcases. There are two rooms separated by a thin acrylic-glass sliding door that we mostly keep open to ensure that we don't break it in an ungainly moment. But there is a kitchen area with a two burner gas table, fridge, kumkum and other useful items. The kitchen is Japanese sized but it turns out to be a life saver as we soon find out.
It’s still the wee hours of the evening and we decide to go out despite being exhausted. The weather is hot and humid but the walk to King Falafel is only five minutes. We find a menorah displayed but the storefront is closed. As the kids are snapping pictures, I notice the sign on the storefront. It says that King Falafel is closed for vacation. It will reopen on the day we depart from Tokyo. Bummer!
It's too early to retire for the night. Ginza is on the typical Tokyo must-see list and it is only four metro stops away. Let’s head to Ginza!
Ginza was a swamp land, then a silver-coin mint in the past. Ginza means "silver mint" in Japanese. Today it is a famous upscale shopping district of Tokyo with Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel and Apple stores lining its main street. Onkuken kost nisht kein gelt
– Zeidi used to say. Window shopping doesn't cost money, but I have to make sure that Onkuken
remains just that – looking
There are fancy restaurants with plastic replicas of their menus displayed in the window. We see well-dressed middle-age couples on dates. Groups of suited business men bow simultaneously in a circle as they bid goodnight to one another. American department stores carry better quality and more expensive tznius clothing here than back home – the Shwarmabob ladies observe. After our Ginza stroll we head back to our apartment where we hit the sack. Oyasuminasaia
, that’s Buenas noches in the vernacular. We never managed to get the proper pronunciation on this one.
My body clock definitely needs adjusting. After waking up at 4 AM, I toss and turn for an hour, then manage to fall back to sleep. Mrs. Shwarmabob wakes up the family in panic – We overslept!! It’s already nine o’clock, we gotto jump up and start going!
I manage to open one eyelid, find my cell phone and check the time. Yes, it is 9AM somewhere in the world but not in Tokyo. It is only 5AM here. It seems that her cell phone did not get set properly. I thank my Bashert for her well intentioned wake-up call and the Android engineers and try to go back to sleep again. However, now the entire family is tossing and turning and "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep
" - the slumber never arrives.
Time to rise and say our prayers. I try to get Shwarmabob Jr. to join me, but getting a teen out of bed ain’t an easy task. We still have to work on that “rise like a lion” part. "Awake my soul, awake harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn.
" Tehillim 57:9