Hello from Tokyo!

Hello from Tokyo, where our day is ending while yours at home hasn't even started. That 14 hour time difference is hard to adjust to.

We got to Tokyo Thursday afternoon, after leaving Maine early Wednesday morning. The trip went smoothly, but it was long and we started to get a little loopy by the end.

Luckily, everything here is incredibly well organized so, even exhausted, we easily got through customs, got our bags, and found the bus to take us to our hotel.

The most exciting thing about our hotel is the toilet. I will  be sad to get home and not have a heated toilet that plays music.

We went to the Marathon Tours reception last night and then called it an early night since we'd both been awake for 24+ hours.

This morning I intended to go to the hotel gym, but when I got there I found a line out the door. 3 treadmills and a 45 story hotel full of marathon runners is not a good combination! Instead I headed outside for a shake out run. The hotel provided a map with a 2k route and I had some idea where I was going from exploring a little last night. There were so many runners- it got me excited for the race!!

Then Rory and I hit up the Japanese breakfast. We both fully embrace the when in Rome concept, so we wanted the authentic meal. We tried a little of everything: fish, rice, tofu, pickled veggies, and some fruit.

After breakfast we met the marathon tours group for a city tour. Our first stop was Asakusa where we visited the Sanja-sama ("Shrine of the Three gods"), one of the most famous Shinto shrines in Tokyo. 

We visited the shrines and then walked down the shopping street toward the main gate of Asalusa. Rory got a sweet Koi tie to bring home.

Of course also had to stop at the incense burner as inhaling the incense is supposed to bring health a good luck. 

After a delicious lunch of different types of skewered veggies and meat, we headed to the Tsukiji Outside Market. I LOVE markets and this one didn't disappoint. There was amazing fresh seafood, including these enormous crabs!

Tons of different varieties of tofu and egg cakes.

The merchants at the market were not pushy or rude like some places I've been, in fact they were so friendly. They offered us tastes of everything! I had no idea what I was getting, but I tried a bite of everything. Many of those bites I then quietly spit out when they weren't looking. 

Our next stop was in Ryogoku at the Sumo museum. Unfortunately there wasn't a sumo tournament so we didn't get to see any live sumo, but we learned a lot at the museum. Sumo is really a lifestyle with young boys coming to train at the stable and often staying involved with the sport for their whole lives. The techniques utilized in the matches are really complex!

These guys are absolutely massive, but the sport is really about agility and tactic more than just size. 

Our last stop was the marathon expo. It was at the Tokyo Big Sight, an expo building. It was HUGE but very well organized. I got my number, timing chip, bag, and t-shirt in less than 10 minutes and then spent time exploring the expo (aka tried to interest Rory in running related things).

For dinner we set off on our own to explore the warren of streets near Shinjuku Station. There were so many restaurants, but very few had English menus. Luckily, most of them had pictures or little replicas of the food outside, so we had some idea what they served!

We ended up choosing a noodle place, where we got to choose our broth, type of noodle, and then toppings. We are already getting good at using chopsticks and then slurping up the broth!