Today we tried to get an earlier start, and did so. We still didn’t make it anywhere for breakfast though.

Had brunch at the JR station at some Japanese place. Bought a set lunch which was Tonkatsu (Pork Katsu), miso soup, pickles, salad, potatoe salad, and rice. Was very good, and about 1200 Yen each.

We looked at some things to do - Leon wanted to see what the Gay-friendly district looked like inside of Shinjuku, and we found that there was a sword musuem and a huge park in the area as well. So that was the plan. Museum, park, gay district.

Went to JR station, talked to person at information desk to find out how to get to the closest railway line to sword museum. Had to go from Shinagawa to Shinjuku, transfer to other company’s railway, and go 1 stop. One thing to mention here is that Japan has like 13 different companies providing the various railways and subways. So it can be a little confusing sometimes on who serves what area.

We got out of the JR station and got a little lost. Google maps to the rescue. We got lost in some side streets (we were going the right direction), but a nice Jpanese man who was the owner of a shop showed us the way and gave us a paper with directions.

We went into the museum, and got a drink. It was hot. This was not the rainy day of yesterday. We proceeded upstairs and spent our 525 Yen each to enter. We were told no photography. :-( Frankly, while interesting, it was a bit underwhelming as well. As Leon pointed out, if someone took photos, there’d be no reason to go to the museum. There was only about 30-40 swords out of the 120 in their collection on display. They gave us a guide to sword types and strike patterns of it being made. It was informative and inteesting. I wish the Lonely Planet guide was a bit more upfront about this…it was not on the must-see list.

Then we tried to have a detour into the Pentax Forum, which according to Lonely Planet guide was a gallery and a lot of hands-on equiment and lenses. Well, it had the wrong address, it was not in the Shinjuku Mitsui buiding, but the Central Building. It also wasn’t big. Waste of time and effort. So 2/2 for the guide today. I have to give them a little break however, as the edition I had was older then I thought. Even still, the newest Japan guide had both items listed, with almost the exact same descriptions, and guess what - still the wrong address for the Pentax Forum.

Then by that time we tried to get to the Park, but it was just about closing @ 4:27 PM. So we tried to find some of the bars in the gay area…didn’t find what we were looking for, AGAIN LP guide was wrong, as was another one. So we had some Indian food which was not out of this world, but still good. Then tried again to find stuff, failed, and went back to the hotel.

Took the Tokyo Metro subway, which was a little bit different then the railways, but nothing spectacular. We took the Maranouichi line, which apparently is the busiest line in the Shinjuku station, which was one station away. Indeed, there were quite a few people packed in the train coming from that direction. Thankfully, we were going in the opposite direction. We then got back on JR Yamanote line. One cool thing we noticed was that, unlike in the US, where you have no idea how long till your stop, each stop has a number next to it, representing the time until that destination. Very cool.

We made it back, and then went to 7-11 after a rest, which was more packed then I expected. Now, it’s time to relax.

Money: 25000 remaining (6000 spent, I think).

The Leica: Nothing major to report - again, portrait shots aren’t the easiest. Sometimes the “set” button which pulls up the picture settings (ISO, Exposure Compensation, etc) isn’t responsive - what needs to be done is to take a picture and then hit the button. As I learned later, this was due to power timeout, and all you had to do was half-press the shutter. I’m either having a hard time focusing, either because of my eye, or the 28mm lens just isn’t as sharp as I’d expect for something so expensive.