Day 15: A quick surf and then back to the mainland.

I had made plans not to surf today because the forecast said that there would be no waves and the next swell was arriving the day after I left. But I got up in the morning to see what it looked like anyways. After watching for about 20 min, I decided to go back to Bira. I had returned the board I borrowed from Ko, so I rented one from the guest house today. I’m glad I decided to surf because it was probably the best day that I had on Amami. I saw Tatsu out there again, and we surfed together for awhile before he went in and I stayed. I had gotten to know the reef better and was knowing where to sit as the tide dropped. I was able to grab a hand full of waves.

Getting the vision, but not making it.

After my session I had to quickly go back to my guest house and pack before checkout time. I said goodby to Tatsu and encouraged him to come to California so we could surf together again.

I walked to the bus stop and had a few minutes to spare so I went into the local market nearby and got a quick bite to eat. This shop mainly had vegetables and some bread as well as some other basic food items and snacks. But there was also a table full of bento boxes and prepared meals. I was able to find some vegetables and noodles cooked up on a plate. All over Japan, there is no shortage of good affordable food to eat. Whether it be at a fancy restaurant, convenient store, rode side stands, privately owned coffee shops, or vegetable markets; you can always find something to much on along your way for cheap. And its quality never disappoints.

When I got to the airport, I just hung out for a bit and bought some things to take home, like some Amami sea salt and another onigiri to much on before I got on the plane. While I was waiting, I ran into Kenji from the guest house. It turns out that he was on my same flight back to Haneda. We chatted a bit and shared other travel experiences before we got aboard. I knew that there would be some rough wind and weather going back to the mainland, but this flight had more bump than I expected. I just kept my eyes in my book till we finally came though the clouds and I could see the lights of Tokyo.

It took only 2 trains to get to the Shinjuku area where I was staying that night. But I hadn’t got my Airbnb booked in time. So by the time I arrived in Shinjuku, the place I hoped to get was booked. However, I was able to book another hostel up the road from where I was. So I just walked a little farther through the drizzle with my bags. When I finally got close, I was unable to find the building for about 15 minutes before I asked someone on the street to help me. Anyways, a weird secret entrance and two flight of stairs later, I was able to check in and drop my bags.

When I was settled, I looked on maps for a place to eat and set out for what I thought was a ramen place that looked like it had soba style ramen and vegetables. When I got there, I found nothing on the menu that looked vegetarian friendly, plus it was a little expensive; thats how I knew I was in Tokyo. Again I found myself wandering around the city in search of something a vegetarian could eat. I could just give in at any point and eat anything. There was so much good food around me from shabu-shabu, yakitori, ramen, sushi…, everything. But it was my mission to seek out and explore vegetarian options while I was in Japan. Many blocks passing dark cemeteries between the skyscrapers and many restaurant windows later, I found a soba place with a vending machine menu outside. I found something that looked like just plain soba and vegetables on top for only 500yen (about $5). Being able to only read half the menu, I went for it. Delicious; vegetables on top and all. But what I thought was vegetables on top was flaked dashi. I had made it in just as they were closing, so I ate quick and left. Still a little hungry, I stopped into a convenient store on my way back for an onigiri and some provisions for the next morning.

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