January 7th 2019:

(C)rush hour

So, today was time to head to the coast and see if I could get some Mt Fuji viewing in. Headed out early to face the joy of rush hour in Tokyo – had to let 3 trains go by before getting on one, though the locals happily cram themselves in until the doors could only just close.

View from the air

Changed trains at Shinagawa, for the service down towards Kanagawa. Was the train late? Nope, still showed as the 9:11 even though it left at 9:17. Changed onto the Shonan monorail at Ōfuna Station, second time riding this one. Suspended monorails are good fun – gliding along above the level of the traffic, with great views off to the mountains to the west. Arrived at Enoshima station, strolled down and across the bridge to the island itself. Had to chuckle at the signs telling you to beware of hawks (a particularly nice specimen pictured on top of a street lamp), turns out I was laughing too soon…

Ice cream spotted

Wasn’t in the mood to climb all the steps up to the top of the island, luckily for a modest fee you can ride a set of escalators past the shrines that take you most of the way there. Along these were sets of adverts, and one kept catching my eye – the current seasonal ice cream flavours, one umeboshi (pickled salted plums) and the other apple + camembert cheese. Decided this would be a good idea after some Fuji watching.

Sadly – no Fuji today, clear skies locally but over towards the mountains the clouds thickened in just the right (or wrong) spot to hide the key player. After surveying the beautiful views for a bit, decided ice cream was in order. At the counter, they helpfully pointed out another of the warning signs, this time mentioning kites instead of hawks, and cautioning that they were ‘looking to steal your food!’. Wasn’t going to be outwitted by a birdbrain, no sirree.

The apple + camembert was really nice, good combination of sweet fruit and creamy cheese (not an overpowering blue cheese flavour). Parked myself by a railing right next to a palm tree, figured the birds wouldn’t risk flying that close. Had finished most of the ice cream above the top edge of the cone, when I heard a whooshing noise and a powerful downdraft of air hit my head – and the whole top section of the cone disappeared, carried away in the beak of a big bugger, must have been a metre wingspan easy.

Looking around, he must have made a pinpoint bombing raid, dropping low between palm trees behind me – most impressive. Had to admire my winged bandit.

Walked back down the stairs past the shrines to the shopping street at the bottom. Having been done out of part of my ice cream, decided to try a local speciality – octopus senbei (crackers). Octopus was dredged in cornflour and a light corn batter, then placed on a two sided hot press that had a mechanism to clamp it down really tight. Over the cooking time the chef would crank this tighter and tighter, until you could hear a squealing noise as the water in the octopus was instantly turned to steam. End result a light cracker a couple of millimetres thick, crunchy and absolutely delicious.

Print with woodblock

Rode the Enoden (Enoshima electric railway) up line 4 stops to Fujisawa then all the way back to Kamakura. Main line train back up to Asakusa. Chilled out at the hotel for a bit, then went to Mokuhankan and spent far too much money on prints.

Decided I’d have an evening cruise so rode ferry Hotaluna (the sister ship of the Himiko we rode on our first trip here) down to Hinode pier, then local Metro to Odaiba. Primary reason was to visit Toys’r’Us, to track down a limited edition Lego set only released in Asian countries (Japan, China etc) to celebrate New Year.

Learned that they have a Statue of Liberty there…

Metro onwards to Shinjuku to my favourite dinner spot there, salted salmon set for dinner.