Losing a wallet at Nakano Station

Some meshiya around Yadoya Guesthouse … remain of hunting dinner last night.

Mattress at Yadoya Guesthouse’s bunk bed also seemed to like an ice beam, even when early hours have already gone. That morning, I deliberately slowed myself to wake up, I looked like a coward who hid behind the thickness of dormitory blanket. I revenged for my eyes, after almost forty hours didn’t so perfectly closed. The last felt asleep was the day before yesterday, in Taiwan, precisely.

At ten in the morning I just really woke up, due to whispering sound of two lovebirds behind a blanket on other bunk bed which made me uncomfortable. They sleep with intimate and ignoring around. I decided to watering my body under the shower. This time I managed to find the heating button so there wasn’t need to take a shower of super cold water again liked last night.

Afterwards, I was neatly packed all my travel equipments into 45 litre backpack and I prepared to check-out. That afternoon I would fly to Osaka with Peach Aviation. While the remaining time, I would spend to visiting a temple in the middle of city.

I went down in the lobby and poured warm water from a dispenser. Apparently Janessa was preparing it from early morning.

“Good morning, Donny. How were your days in Tokyo? “

“I’m frozen in this town, Janessa. But all are well “.

“Are you going to Osaka tonight? You visited Tokyo very quick “

“My holidays aren’t much, Janessa”

“I hope you will enjoy Osaka, Donny”

“Thanks Janessa. Nice to meet you “.

I said goodbye to Janessa and turned the body to left Yadoya Guesthouse. My steps were automatically head to a FamilyMart in north of Dormitory. I have to have breakfast before heading to the temple.

See you again Yadoya Guesthouse.
Still abled to swallow onigiri. Breakfast for 298 Yen.
North yard of Nakano Station.

I brought Onigiri on a circular bench near northern gate of Nakano Station. Not alone, many local residents had breakfast with me on the bench. Some young men stood in courtyard to enjoying hot coffee. I sat under warmth of morning sun and was accompanied by a group of busy pigeons.

Breakfast was over, it was time to leave … …

Today I won’t buy Tokunai Pass again because I would just spend time in Meiji Jingū. Afterwards, I would go to Narita International Airport.

I was a little troubled to queue in ticketing vending machine, with a backpack on my back. And a map, gloves and a compass in my left hand then I took out my wallet with right hand. While continuing to step forward to front of queue.

Until my turn to pressed various buttons at Ticketing Vending Machine. Not so difficult, because I had conquered that machine hassle on yesterday afternoon at Tokyo Station. I exchanged 170 Yen for a one way ticket to Harajuku Station located in Shibuya district.

As soon as I got a ticket, I resigned from the queue, inserting a map and compass in its place,  put on gloves again then went to the platform. I continued to entering automatic fare collection gates and following the instructions to Chūō Line train towards Harajuku Station.

Once finished stepping on top stairs …

“Helloooo …..helloooo” …

I looked back. A middle-aged man was waving and asked me to wait for him. So until above …

“This …”, he smiled and handed over a wallet to me.

Gosh, why can my wallet fall?

“Arigatou Gozaimasu …”, I said many times while bowing half of him. And the good man smiled.

“Ohayōgozaimasu …Titterashai”, he bowing and went back down the stairs.

I saw my wallet’s contents for a moment after he left, none of them were reduced. Oh, God … you just keep sending good people to me.

I couldn’t imagine if my wallet was really disappeared. I would definitely walk towards Indonesia’s embassy and asked to be deportation from Japan.

Thank you for a middle-aged man who was kind and thank you God, my adventure was still continuing.

Meeting Lonely on Takeshita Street

Takeshita Exit in Harajuku Station.

I shuffled away from Kanda River, cut a bend in Chuo-dori Avenue, and turned right across Maidreamin, speeding down the six-meter-wide street to quickly arrive at Akihabara Station’s Electronic Town South Exit.

See you soon Akiba….

For a moment I took a deep breath inside station building, letting my palms and face slightly warm. I let steady stream of passengers in front of me pull over against a wall.

I had been hiding in station for ten minutes and my body was starting to warm up. The time was already 18:30 hours. I rushed to platform and prepared to follow Yamanote Line train around Tokyo. This circle line would head south for eleven kilometers, entering Shinagawa District, but only crossing it, then bend to northwest for seven kilometers and stopped in Shibuya District.

There were Meiji Jingu Shrine and Yoyogi Park in the area. But no, it was late, I would visit one of its venues tomorrow. Now I was heading to Takeshita Street, which is a three hundred and fifty meter long alley that is a mirror for young Japanese with a variety of unique and interesting clothes. Along this road also tourists pampered with culinary spots and fashion outlets.

Thirty-five minutes since I left Akihabara Station, I was standing at Harajuku Station’s Takeshita Exit now. And right across the street is a gate with a nameboard titled Takeshita Street with a large LCD clock underneath.

“It’s getting quiet,” I thought. I had even been an hour late since Takeshita Street started closing down. But that was okay…. I’d better get into the rest of crowd and enjoyed what was left in that five meter wide alley.

Santa Monica Crepes outlet.
Who wants to eat those famous crepes?
Takeshita Street east gate.

I passed a large McDonald’s outlet where the diners had already started to leave their table and headed out. I continued to fight against the flow of visitors who had already left Takeshita Street. There was only a little crowd I found at Santa Monica Crepes outlet. Some tourists and local residents were still queuing to get the most famous culinary along Takeshita Street. Do you want to know the price of Crepes there? Seem from sample Crepes on display, the price ranges from 400-670 Yen per piece. Did I buy it????.

I continued down the alley, past the “Sanrio Vivitix Harajuku” knick-knacks outlets, “PINK-latte Harajuku” and “WEGO” fashion outlets, I even found a “Premium King” afternoon thrift shop on one side of the alley. I took steps to east gate of Takeshita Street which was directly adjacent to Meiji-dori Avenue.

Not long, I only visited Takeshita Street for half an hour because most of stall owners had already started to pack up their goods and were about to close their shop’s rolling door. then I stepped along the alley for west gate of Takeshita Street.

Heading to west gate of Takeshita Street.
One of simple platforms at Harajuku Station.
Obedient to queue, clean and dispose trash in its place.

This time I intend to return to Yadoya Guesthouse. It was been almost forty hours I haven’t properly slept. Tokyo’s air was already frozen and my body was also asking for rest. Better to just finished first day of exploration in Tokyo. I would immediately head to Nakano to take a warm bath and sleep.

Dinner at Ameya Yokocho, Taitō

Shibuya Station Platform.

I was standing again at train platform, in Shibuya Station, in Yamanote Line, on 3:48 p.m. The sun had retreated on city skyline and made the temperature degraded to a point of 3 Celsius Degree. Then the air which was nearing to freezing easily penetrated thick black gloves on my palms. But it would be a shameful precedent if I had to give up and chose to curling up in Yadoya Guesthouse bunk bed.

I had already prepared myself to explore Taitō Special City District. Twelve kilometers northeast of Shibuya Special District, thirty minutes away in distance.

Ameya Yokocho was the main reason for my stop over to Ueno Station. It was a one-stop shop, cheap and all discounted. It was said that if wanted to get a cheap dinner, so travelers flocked to that ex-black market which had existed since World War II.

I arrived at Ueno Station exactly on 5:35 pm. Taking Hirokoji Exit, the largest exit in south of station building. This exit has a large courtyard and directly faces Chuo-dori Avenue, opposite Ueno Marui Department Store (OIOI), a famous fashion center with nine-story in Taitō Special City District.

Darkness began to acquire the day when I started my steps towards Ameya Yokocho. More simply called Ameyoko or Ameyoko Market. I hadn’t yet imagined that this market was already starting to get crowded and smell of food was spreading. Made my stomach growl along the way.

I walked down the road under train overpass, heading south. The market distance is about two hundred meters, only five minutes from Hirokoji Exit.

I arrived at a t-junction which in a street stood Ameyoko Market gate. I faced two other streets in t-junction, both of which were part of market lane. But I thought wrong. It wasn’t sweet smell of food which I smelled, but rather fishy smell of sea fishes which firstly pierced deep into my nose. Of course I ignored it because my attention was drawn to the crowd over there.

Ameya Yokocho Gate.
Ameya Yokocho Gate.
Ameya Yokocho inside.

Not unexpectedly, there would be a number of typical Turkish restaurants and several kebab outlets there. I thought it won’t be difficult to find halal food for Muslim travelers here. Meanwhile, along the next street, several outlets selling marine fish were interspersed with fashion outlets, souvenirs, minimarkets, sport equipment and various other outlets.

I didn’t think that I would  prepare some budget to buy anything which was traded in this market, except for dinner. I kept combing every inch of Ameyoko Market until I was finally attracted to an image of a bowl of chicken ramen. Not about contents in the bowl, but the price listed below, it was just 399 Yen.

I didn’t understand about a menu name, but I had a strategy. I took my smartphone and took the picture. I rushed into the restaurant. I started to look around, the table design was elongated and circular in an oval in the middle with several tables on each side of wall which were already filled with local residents. They were so noisy in sipping noodles in their bowl. I went to the waitress and showed a picture on my smartphone. Then that waiter shouted into kitchen while mentioning the name of a menu which I showed then she pointed at an empty seat. I see, that was my dining table. I sat at a table against the wall and waited for the menu to be served.

One of restaurants in Ameya Yokocho.

Meanwhile, I started pouring a pitcher of water with ice cubes in it. I continued to pay attention to visitors behaviour in restaurant. Once they entered the room, they would remove their jackets on a hanger in the corner of room, then sat at dining table, ordered and quickly ate their food. Everything was in regularity.

Soon the waiter served a menu I ordered and I started to eating it. According to a reference I had read, Japanese people will slurp the noodles they order with a sound enough to be heard to showing that the noodles are delicious and as a respect gesture for the chef. So I had the same scene even though it was a bit of a hassle and made my noodle soup splattered onto the dining table. That wasn’t enough to embarrass me, because a water pitcher on my table was completely ran out, I didn’t know how many times I poured it in my small glass. A maidservant who had been watching me for a while covered her smile with her hand while intermittently whispering to other maidservants. She certainly knew that I was a traveler with have a different skin from japanese.

As a result, I paid for the food with a big smile on her, because she never closed his smile when she looked at me.

Hirokoji Exit in Ueno Station.
Ueno Station inside.
Ueno Station Platform.

I finished dinner on 5:45 p.m., and hurried out from Taitō Special City District.

Meet with Janessa at Yadoya Guesthouse

Nakano Station building has two levels above ground with eight platforms. The front lobby of station is stretched out with a canopy made of Aluminum Composite Panel until it is right at the front gate of Nakano Sun Mall. When I got there, I exited the north door with a huge paved courtyard decorated with doves which had lunch.

Day was already towards afternoon, it was still cold even though the clock was pointing on 13:40 hours. I just thought of going to the hotel, putting my backpack and starting my first adventure in Tokyo.

I bypassed the parallel road to the right of station’s north gate. Tucked in the haughty feet of Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank. Only a row of mural art on the wall which had fuction as barrier the rail line which was able to provide a mood booster that afternoon..

Then I began to entering narrow alleys with three meters wide heading north. That afternoon, every street I passed was deserted, the bustle was very subtle along alleys I was walking through in the Nakano District. Maybe it was because the population of Nakano was only three hundred thousand inhabitants.

Even restaurants which were mushrooming along the alley were still tightly closed, later I would see the excitement of that restaurants when night came. The night where in every restaurant there would stand a man who invited everyone to entering into it. In my head memory, I still remembered some of the names of these restaurants. This showed that I was very impressed during my stay in Nakano District. Izakaya, Tsuyamaru, Gyu No Simonya, Hakata Mangetsu and Ikkenme Sakaba were some of the names of restaurants there. Did I taste their cooking?. NO, I explained again “NO”. Because everyday in Nakano, every time I walked on to meet my stomach needs, I could only buy two pieces of onigiri at a regular FamilyMart in Fureai Road.

Olala….Arriving at Yadoya Guesthouse.
The cold barrier from outside air was a plastic curtain.
Shared spot to storing food.

“Hi, Where are you coming from?” I asked the dormitory receptionist. I didn’t want to just enjoy her beauty in silence. I better started the conversation.

“Hi Donny, I’m Janessa from Portugal”, of course she knew my name, because she was checking my passport number before giving me a bunk bed where I slept at Yadoya Guesthouse.

“Hi Janessa, I’m very surprised because the receptionist isn’t Japanese, but you”, I started with smile.

“Yeah, I’m working here. It’s nice country”, her smile looked happy.

“Donny, your bunk bed is at fourth level. So enjoying to burn your calorie by walking on stairs there”, Janessa added with a little joke.

“Okay, Janessa. It’s no matter. I’m strong backpacker”, I ended the conversation.

Yadoya Guesthouse left so much impression. There were a lot of silliness in it that made me laugh sometimes when I remembered it. Some of them were when a night I had to wash with cold water because I couldn’t find the location of heating button, or a morning when I found two European lovebirds have cuddle sleeping in a small bunk bed with thick blankets. Or a time on the middle of night, It was hard to closing my eyes because my bed seemed to freezing. Maybe a dormitory for 2,000 Yen per night wasn’t suitable for staying in Japan in winter.

First stairs.
During in Japan, I’ve never been to buy a quota and a local SIM card. I always rely on the hotel’s WiFi to send news to my country.
Go to the room on fourth floor.
Keep stepping the stairs.

From sixteen bunk beds in the room, I met my close neighbor, a solo backpacker from Brunei Darussalam, who was cute in her hijab. Yes, I knew where she came from because I found the image of crescent moon with both hands raised which is the symbol of her country clearly affixed to her backpack.

Whatever I felt, Nakano District still gave a deep impression in my adventure to know Tokyo and Yadoya Guesthouse became the umpteenth home in part of my trip.

Hunting Tokunai Pass: Chou Line from Tokyo to Nakano

Arriving at Tokyo Station.

As usual, perpetuating oneself in front of important spots in other countries was a natural habit. So before entering Tokyo Station, I took a time to pose in front of its gate. It was right in front of the “Yaeshu North Entrance”.

“If you go to Tokyo. You rarely met people above the surface, Donny. But once you enter the underground station, Tokyo residents are like bees in it. Try to prove Donny if you don’t believe it!”, that was what an officemate said who had gone to Tokyo. I was surprised at that time.

Now I was in Tokyo and hoping to prove it. As it turned out, a thing on the surface which people would rarely meet….That was clearly wrong. Tokyo was still a busy city in the world with high population mobility on it. Then, the “underground beehive”….Yeah, that was right. Even before I got to the bottom room, Tokyo station was full of people. Extraordinary.

When entering station building, I prefered to stand attached to a large pole and recorded the back and forth of train passengers who were very tightly packed….. Super busy. Maybe I became the most relaxed human being that morning throughout Tokyo station because I still had time to stand for a long time recording the activities in it.

Now was the time to hunt for train tickets. I had intended to get a one day pass so I could explore Tokyo until midnight. Queued myself at a ticketing vending machine. In the queue, I kept a close eye on how everyone operated the machine. However, when it was my turn, I still didn’t understand. All screens were full of buttons and numbers representing ticket prices. I didn’t know where that destination was. I looked back, I was annoying the queues because I was looking for tickets for too long. I gave up, I stepped back and let  other passengers who seemed very rushed with their time. I continued to stand a bit away from ticketing vending machine and watched them when using it. Still confused…. because they chose to use kanji characters.

In the end I decided to look for the other side of station which was quieter. I found it in the left hallway. The ticketing vending machine was empty. I slowly approached, quietly and I watched carefully every button. Finally I found the “ENG” button which would lead me to use an international language. But I didn’t immediately find the word “One Day Pass”.

I kept looking in the “Discount Card” directory and the words “Tokunai Pass” popped up. Luckily, I had read an article about Japanese railways before setting out on an adventure. In the article it was mentioned that the One Day Pass for Japan was called the Tokunai Pass. So happy I solved the problem. Oh, it turned out that it was easy. I pressed it and then paying for 750 Yen.

Tokunai Pass.
This might be the receipt.

As far as I know, the Tokunai Pass ia available at all JR Line stations. And can be used to ride all local JR Line trains (within Tokyo city) whose rails are located above ground level. So it can’t be used for Tokyo Subway underground train.

As soon as I got the ticket, I headed straight for the platform in the direction of Nakano.

Nakano is located east of Tokyo with a distance of 15 Km and travel time by train is around 20 minutes. I purposely looked for a place to stay that was a bit far from the city center because its price was cheap.

Platform to Nakano.
Arriving at Nakano Station.

I took the Chuo Line to Nakano. At 13:30 hours, I arrived at Nakano Station. And get ready to walk to Yadoya Guesthouse.

Kehilangan Dompet di Stasiun Nakano

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Beberapa Meshiya di sekitaran Yadoya Guesthouse….Sisa berburu dinner semalam.

Kasur di bunk bed milik Yadoya Guesthouse pun serasa balok es, bahkan ketika dini hari sudah undur diri. Pagi itu aku sengaja melambatkan bangun, aku mirip seorang pengecut yang bersembunyi di balik tebalnya selimut dormitory. Aku membalaskan dendam mata, setelah hampir empat puluh jam tak begitu sempurna terpejam. Terakhir terlelap adalah malam kemarin lusa, di Taiwan tepatnya.

Pukul sepuluh pagi aku baru benar-benar bangun, akibat suara bisik-bisik dua sejoli di balik selimut pada sebuah bunk bed yang berhasil membuatku risih.  Begitu mesranya mereka tidur berpelukan tak mempedulikan sekitar. Untung aku punya guling dari semalam….Wadidaw. Kuputuskan menyiram tubuh di bawah shower. Kali ini aku berhasil menemukan tombol pemanasnya sehingga tak perlu mandi air es lagi seperti semalam.

Setelahnya, kukemas dengan rapi semua barang ke dalam backpack 45L dan aku bersiap check-out. Sore nanti aku akan terbang ke Osaka bersama Peach Aviation. Sementara sisa waktu, akan kuhabiskan mengunjungi sebuah kuil di tengah kota.

Aku turun di lobby dan menuang air putih hangat dari dispenser. Rupanya Janessa sudah bersiap dari tadi pagi.

Good morning, Donny. How were  your days in Tokyo?

I’m frozen in this town, Janessa. But all are well”.

Are you going to Osaka tonight?. You visited Tokyo very quickly

My holidays aren’t much, Janessa

I hope you will enjoy Osaka, Donny

Thanks Janessa. Nice to meet you”.

Aku berpamitan pada Janessa dan balik badan meninggalkan Yadoya Guesthouse. Langkahku otomatis tertuju ke sebuah FamilyMart di utara dormitory. Aku harus sarapan dahulu sebelum menuju kuil.

Sampai jumpa lagi Yadoya Guesthouse.
Masih saja mampu menelan onigiri. Sarapan seharga 298 Yen (Rp. 40.000).
Pelataran utara Stasiun Nakano.

Kubawa onigiri itu disebuah bangku melingkar di dekat gerbang utara Stasiun Nakano. Tak sendiri, banyak warga lokal yang sarapan bersamaku di bangku itu. Beberapa pemuda berdiri di pelataran menikmati kopi panas. Aku terduduk di bawah hangatnya siraman matahari pagi dan ditemani sekumpulan merpati yang sibuk bersarapan juga.

Sarapan usai, saatnya berangkat…..

Hari ini aku tak akan membeli Tokunai Pass lagi karena aku hanya akan menghabiskan waktu di Meiji Jingū saja. Setelahnya, aku akan menuju ke Narita International Airport.

Aku sedikit kerepotan mengantri di Ticketing Vending Machine, dengan backpack di punggung, selembar peta dan sebuah kompas di tangan kiri, gloves kuapit di ketiak, lalu kukeluarkan dompet dengan tangan kanan. Sambil terus merangsek maju ke antrian depan.

Hingga giliranku memencet berbagai tombol di Ticketing Vending Machine. Tak begitu sulit, karena aku telah menaklukkan kerumitan mesin itu kemarin siang di Stasiun Tokyo. Aku menukar 170 Yen (Rp. 23.000) untuk sekali jalan menuju Stasiun Harajuku yang terletak di Distrik Shibuya.

Begitu mendapatkan tiket, aku mundur dari antrian dan berbenah, memasukkan peta dan kompas pada tempatnya, memakai kembali gloves lalu pergi menuju platform. Aku terus merangsek memasuki automatic fare collection gates dan mengikuti petunjuk menuju kereta Chūō Line menuju Stasiun Harajuku.

Begitu selesai menaiki anak tangga teratas….

Helloooo….Hellooooo”….

Aku menoleh ke belakang. Seorang lelaki paruh baya berumur 50-an melambaikan tangan dan memintaku menunggunya. Begitu sampai diatas….

This…..”, beliau tersenyum menyerahkan sebuah dompet kepadaku.

Astaga, kenapa dompet itu bisa jatuh.

Arigatou Gozaimasu….”, kuucapkan berkali kali sambil membungkukkan separuh badan kepadanya. Dan lelaki baik itu tersenyum.

Ohayōgozaimasu….Itterasshai“, beliau membungkuk lalu beranjak pergi kembali menuruni anak tangga.

Kulihat isi dompet sejenak setelah beliau pergi, tak ada satupun yang berkurang. Oh, Tuhan….Engkau terus saja mengirimkan orang baik kepadaku.

Tak bisa kubayangkan jika dompet itu benar-benar raib. Aku pasti akan berjalan kaki menuju Kedutaan dan meminta dipulangkan ke tanah air.

Terimakasih untuk Bapak paruh baya yang baik hati dan Terimakasih Tuhan, petualanganku masih terus berlanjut.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Menemui Sepi di Takeshita Street

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Takeshita Exit Stasiun Harajuku.

Aku beringsut-ingsut meninggalkan Kanda River, memotong sebuah tikungan Chuo-dori Avenue, dan berbelok ke kanan melintasi Maidreamin, melintas cepat di jalanan selebar enam meter untuk segera tiba di Electronic Town South Exit milik Stasiun Akihabara.

Sampai jumpa lagi Akiba….

Sejenak aku menarik nafas panjang di dalam bangunan stasiun, membiarkan telapak tangan dan mukaku sedikit menghangat. Aku membiarkan arus penumpang yang terus mengalir di depanku, menepi pada sebuah dinding.

Sepuluh menit sudah aku bersembunyi di dalam stasiun dan tubuhku mulai menghangat. Waktu sudah menunjukkan pukul 18:30. Aku bergegas menuju platform dan bersiap mengikuti kereta Yamanote Line melingkari Tokyo. Circle line ini akan menuju selatan sejauh sebelas kilometer, memasuki Distrik Shinagawa, tapi hanya melintasnya, untuk kemudian menekuk ke barat laut sejauh tujuh kilometer dan hinggap di Distrik Shibuya.

Ada Kuil Meiji Jingu dan Yoyogi Park di daerah itu. Tetapi tidak, ini sudah malam, aku akan mengunjungi salah satu venuenya esok hari. Kini aku menuju Takeshita Street, yaitu gang sepanjang tiga ratus lima puluh meter yang menjadi cermin muda-mudi Jepang dengan berbagai pakaian unik dan menarik. Sepanjang jalanan ini juga memanjakan wisatawan dengan spot-spot kuliner dan gerai-gerai fashion.

Tiga puluh lima menit semenjak aku meninggalkan Stasiun Akihabara, kini aku berdiri di Takeshita Exit milik Stasiun Harajuku. Dan tepat di seberang jalan adalah gerbang dengan nameboard bertajuk Takeshita Street dengan Jam LCD besar dibawahnya.

Sudah mulai sepi”, aku membatin. Aku bahkan telah telah terlambat satu jam semenjak Takeshita Street mulai menutup diri. Tapi tak mengapa….Lebih baik aku segera memasuki sisa keramaian dan menikmati apa yang tersisa di dalam gang selebar lima meter itu.

Gerai Santa Monica Crepes.
Hayuu….Siapa mau makan crepes yang terkenal ituh?
Gerbang timur Takeshita Street.

Aku melintas gerai besar Mc Donald’s yang pengunjung di dalamnya sudah mulai meninggalkan meja dan beranjak keluar. Aku terus melawan arus para pengunjung yang sudah beranjak meninggalkan Takeshita Street. Hanya ada sedikit keramaian yang kutemukan di gerai Santa Monica Crepes. Beberapa turis dan warga lokal tampak masih mengantri untuk mendapatkan kuliner paling terkenal di sepanjang Takeshita Street itu. Pengen tahu harga Crepes di sana? Terlihat dari sample Crepes yang dipajang, harganya berkisar antara 400-670 Yen per potong (itu sekitar  Rp. 55.000- 91.000). Apakah aku membelinya????.

Aku terus menyusuri gang itu, melewati gerai penjual pernak-pernik “Sanrio Vivitix Harajuku”, gerai fashion “PINK-latte Harajuku” dan “WEGO”, bahkan aku menemukan thrift sore “Premium King” di salah satu sisi gang. Aku menghabiskan langkah hingga ke gerbang timur Takeshita Street yang berbatasan langsung dengan Meiji-dori Avenue.

Tak lama, hanya setengah jam saja aku mengunjungi Takeshita Street karena sebagian besar pemilik gerai sudah mulai membereskan barang dagangan dan akan segera menarik rolling doornya. Aku kembali menyisir kembali sepanjang gang itu untuk menuju gerbang barat Takeshita Street.

Menuju gerbang barat Takeshita Street.
Salah satu platform sederhana di Stasiun Harajuku.
Taat mengantri, bersih dan membuang sampah pada tempatnya.

Kali ini aku berniat untuk pulang ke Yadoya Guesthouse. Sudah hampir empat puluh jam aku tak tidur dengan sempurna. Hawa Tokyo sudah beku dan badanku juga minta istirahat. Lebih baik kusudahkan saja eksplorasi hari pertama di Tokyo. Aku akan segera menuju Nakano untuk mandi air hangat dan tidur.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Makan Malam di Ameya Yokocho, Taitō

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Platform Stasiun Shibuya.

Aku sudah berdiri lagi di platform kereta, tepatnya di Stasiun Shibuya, dalam ruas Yamanote Line, tepat pada pukul 15:48. Matahari telah undur diri di cakrawala kota dan membuat suhu terdegradasi ke titik 3o C. Lantas udara yang telah menjelang beku itu dengan mudah menembus tebalnya gloves hitam di kedua telapak tanganku. Tapi akan menjadi preseden memalukan apabila aku harus menyerah dan memilih meringkuk di peraduan Yadoya Guesthouse.

Aku sudah bersiap diri menjelajah Distrik Kota Istimewa Taitō. Dua belas kilometer di timur laut Distrik Khusus Shibuya, berjarak tempuh tiga puluh menit.

Ameya Yokocho adalah alasan utamaku singgah menuju Stasiun Ueno. Adalah pasar serba ada, serba murah dan serba discount. Konon jika hendak makan malam murah, maka para traveler berbondong menuju ke exs-pasar gelap yang sudah ada sejak Perang Dunia II itu.

Aku tiba di Stasiun Ueno tepat pukul 17:35. Keluar di Hirokoji Exit, pintu keluar terbesar di selatan bangunan stasiun. Pintu keluar ini memiliki halaman luas dan tepat menghadap Chuo-dori Avenue, berseberangan dengan Ueno Marui Department Store (OIOI), pusat fashion kenamaan  di Distrik Kota Istimewa Taitō yang menjulang tinggi dengan sembilan lantai.

Gelap mulai mengakuisisi hari ketika aku memulai langkah menuju ke Ameya Yokocho. Lebih ringkas dipanggil Ameyoko atau Ameyoko Market. Belum tiba pun aku membayangkan bahwa pasar itu sudah mulai ramai dan bertebar aroma masakan. Menjadikan perut keroncongan sepanjang jalan.

Aku menyusuri jalanan di bawah jalur layang kereta, mengarah ke selatan. Jarak pasar itu berkisar dua ratus meter, hanya lima menit dari Hirokoji Exit.

Tibalah langkahku di sebuah pertigaan yang di salah satu jalannya berdiri gerbang Ameyoko Market. Aku menghadap ke dua buah percabangan jalan yang keduanya adalah bagian dari jalur pasar itu. Tapi aku salah mengira. Bukan aroma harum makanan yang kucium, tetapi justru bau amis ikan laut yang pertama kali menusuk hidung dalam-dalam. Sudah barang tentu aku menghiraukannya karena perhatianku tertuju ke keramaian di dalam sana.

Gerbang Ameya Yokocho.
Gerbang Ameya Yokocho.
Bagian dalam Ameya Yokocho.

Tak kusangka, akan keberadaan beberapa restoran khas Turki dan beberapa gerai kebab di sana. Kufikir tak kan susah menemukan makanan halal untuk para traveler muslim di sini. Sementara di sepanjang jalan berikutnya, beberapa gerai yang menjual ikan laut diselingi oleh gerai fashion, souvenir, minimarket, peralatan olahraga serta beranekaragam gerai –gerai lain.

Kufikir aku tak akan menganggarkan untuk membeli barang apapun yang diperjualbelikan di pasar ini, kecuali makan malam.  Aku terus menyisir setiap jengkal Ameyoko Market hingga akhirnya tertarik pada tampilan gambar semangkuk chicken ramen. Bukan isi di dalam mangkuknya, tetapi harga yang tercantum di bawahnya, 399 Yen, itu berkisar Rp. 50.000.

Tak faham akan namanya, aku tak kurang akal. Kuambil telepon pintar dan kutangkap gambarnya. Bergegaslah aku menuju ke dalam rumah makan itu. Aku mulai mengamati sekitar, desain meja memanjang dan melingkar oval di tengahnya dengan beberapa meja di setiap sisi dinding yang sudah dipenuhi warga lokal. Mereka begitu berisik menyeruput mie di mejanya. Aku menuju ke pelayan wanita dan menunjukkan gambar di telepon pintar. Berteriaklan pelayan itu ke bagian dapur sembari menyebut nama menu yang kutunjukkan lalu dia menunjuk pada sebuah bangku kosong. Aku faham, itulah meja makanku. Aku duduk di sebuah meja di sisi dinding dan menunggu menu dihidangkan.

Salah satu rumah makan di Ameya Yokocho.

Sementara teko berisi air putih dengan es batu di dalamnya mulai kutuang.  Aku terus memperhatikan perilaku pengunjung rumah makan itu. Begitu mereka memasuki ruangan, maka mereka akan melepaskan jaket pada hanger di pojok ruangan, lalu duduk di meja makan, memesan dan menyantap makanannya dengan cepat. Semua serba teratur.

Tak lama pelayan menyajikan menu yang kupesan dan aku mulai menyantapnya. Menurut referensi yang kubaca, orang jepang akan meyeruput mie yang dipesannya dengan bunyi yang cukup untuk di dengar demi menunjukkan bahwa mie itu enak dan sebagai isyarat untuk menghormati sang koki. Maka akupun beradegan sama walau sedikit kerepotan dan membuat kuah mie ku berlepotan ke meja makan. Itu belum cukup membuatku malu, karena air teko di meja benar-benar habis tak bersisa, entah berapa kali aku menuangnya di gelas kecilku. Pelayan perempuan yang sedari tadi memperhatikanku pun menutup senyum dengan tangannya sambil sebentar-sebentar berbisik dengan pelayan yang lain. Dia tentu tahu bahwa aku seorang pengelana yang berbeda kulit dengan bangsanya.

Walhasil, aku pun membayar makanan itu dengan senyum lebar kepadanya, karena dia tak kunjung menutup senyumnya ketika menatapku.

Hirokoji Exit Stasiun Ueno.
Bagian dalam Stasiun Ueno.
Platform Stasiun Ueno.

Aku selesai bersantap malam pada jam 17:45, dan bergegas meninggalkan Distrik Kota Istimewa Taitō.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Berkenalan dengan Janessa di Yadoya Guesthouse

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Bangunan Stasiun Nakano memiliki dua tingkat di atas tanah dengan delapan platform. Bagian selasar depan stasiun dijulurkan dengan kanopi  berbahan Alumunium Composite Panel hingga tepat di gerbang depan Nakano Sun Mall.  Ketika tiba di sana, aku keluar di pintu utara dengan halaman beraspal yang sangat luas dan dihiasi oleh aktivitas makan siang para merpati.

Sementara hari sudah menuju sore, tetapi tetap saja dingin walau jarum jam sudah menunjuk pukul 13:40. Aku hanya berfikir untuk segera menuju hotel, menaruh backpack dan memulai petualangan perdanaku di Tokyo.

Aku memintas jalan sejajar sebelah kanan gerbang utara stasiun. Memelipir di kaki-kaki angkuh Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank. Hanya deretan mural art pada julangan pagar beton pembatas jalur kereta yang mampu memberikan mood booster siang itu..

Tak lama kemudian, aku mulai memasuki gang-gang sempit selebar tiga meter menuju ke utara. Pagi itu, setiap jalanan yang kulewati terlihat sepi, hiruk pikuk sangat tak kentara di sepanjang gang yang kulalui di Distrik Nakano. Mungkin saja karena penduduk Nakano yang hanya berjumlah tiga ratus ribuan penduduk. Ah, aku sok tau perihal populasi.

Pun restoran yang menjamur di sepanjang gang, masih tertutup rapat, nantinya aku akan menemui  kemeriahan restoran itu saat malam tiba. Malam dimana di setiap rumah makan itu akan berdiri seorang laki-laki yang mempersilahkan setiap orang untuk masuk ke dalamnya. Di memori kepala, aku masih mengingat beberapa nama retoran tersebut. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa aku sangat terkesan selama tinggal di Distrik Nakano. Izakaya, Tsuyamaru, Gyu No Simonya, Hakata Mangetsu dan Ikkenme Sakaba adalah beberapa nama restoran disana. Apakah aku mencicipi masakan mereka?. Tidak jawabnya, kuperjelas lagi “TIDAK”. Karena sehari-hari di Nakano, setiap menginjak waktu untuk memenuhi kebutuhan perut, aku hanya sanggup membeli dua potong onigiri di sebuah FamilyMart langganan di bilangan Fureai Road.

Olala….Tiba di Yadoya Guesthouse.
Pembatas dingin dengan udara luar ada pada tirai plastik itu.
Tempat bersama untuk menyimpan makanan.

Hi, Where are you come from?”, tanyaku pada resepsionis dormitory. Aku tak mau hanya menikmati kecantikannya dengan diam. Lebih baik aku memulai pembicaraan.

Hi Donny, I’m Janessa from Portugal”, tentu dia tahu namaku, karena dia sedang mengecek nomor pasporku sebelum memberikan bunk bed tempatku tidur di Yadoya Guesthouse.

Hi Janessa, I’m very surprised because the receptionist is not Japanese, but you”, aku mulai melempar senyum perkenalan.

Yeaaa, I’m working here. It’s nice country”, senyumnya tampak bahagia.

Donny, your bunk bed is at fourth level. So enjoy to burning your calorie by walking on stairs there”, Janessa menambahkan sambil sedikit bercanda.

Okay, Janessa. It’s no matter. I’m strong backpacker”, Aku menutup percakapan itu.

Yadoya Guesthouse begitu banyak meninggalkan kesan. Banyak kekonyolan di dalamnya yang membuatku kadang tertawa ketika mengingatnya. Beberapa diantaranya adalah saat suatu malam aku harus berbasuh dengan air sedingin es karena tak kunjung menemukan letak tombol pemanas, atau sebuah pagi di saat aku menemukan dua sejoli asal Eropa tertidur berdekapan mesra dalam sebuah kotak kecil bunk bed dengan selimut tebalnya atau saat dimana pada tengah malam aku susah setengah mati memejamkan mata karena kasurku serasa ikut membeku. Mungkin memang dormitory seharga 2,000 Yen per malam tak cocok untuk tinggal di Jepang saat musim dingin.

Anak tangga pertama.
Aku ke Jepang tak pernah membeli kuota dan SIM card lokal. WiFi penginapan selalu kuandalkan untuk berkirim kabar.
Menuju kamar di lantai empat.
Nanjak trooosss.

Dari enam belas bunk bed dalam kamar itu, aku bertemu tetangga dekat yaitu seorang solo backpacker asal Brunei Darussalam, berparas manis dalam balutan jilbabnya. Ya, aku tahu asalnya karena menemukan gambar bulan sabit dengan kedua tangan menengadah yang menjadi lambang negaranya tertempel jelas di bagian atas backpack.

Apapun yang kurasakan, Distrik Nakano tetap memberikan kesan yang mendalam dalam petualanganku mengenal Tokyo dan Yadoya Guesthouse menjadi rumah kesekian dalam bagian perjalananku.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Berburu Tokunai Pass: Chou Line dari Tokyo ke Nakano

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Tiba di Stasiun Tokyo.

Seperti biasa, mengabadikan diri di depan spot-spot penting di negara orang adalah kebiasaan wajar. Maka sebelum memasuki Stasiun Tokyo, aku menyempatkan diri berpose di depan gerbangnya. Tepatnya di depan “Yaeshu North Entrance”.

Jika kamu ke Tokyo. Kamu akan jarang bertemu orang diatas permukaan, Donny. Tapi begitu masuk ke stasiun bawah tanah maka penduduk Tokyo bak lebah didalamnya. Coba deh buktikan Donny kalau kamu ga percya!”, itulah perkataan teman sekantor yang pernah berangkat ke Tokyo. Tercengang aku waktu itu.

Kini aku sudah di Tokyo dan berharap bisa membuktikannya. Ternyata, perihal di permukaan yang akan jarang bertemu orang….Itu jelas salah. Tokyo tetap saja kota sibuk di dunia dengan tingginya mobilitas penduduk di atasnya. Lalu, “sarang lebah bawah tanah”….Ya, itu benar. Bahkan sebelum aku tiba di ruangan paling bawah pun, stasiun Tokyo sudah penuh manusia. Luar biasa.

Ketika memasuki bangunan stasiun, aku lebih memilih berdiri menempel di sebuah tiang besar dan merekam hilir mudik penumpang kereta yang sangat rapat sekali…..Super sibuk. Mungkin aku menjadi manusia tersantai pagi itu di seantero stasiun Tokyo karena masih saja sempat berdiri berlama-lama merekam aktivitas di dalamnya.

Kini saatnya berburu tiket kereta. Aku sudah meniatkan diri untuk mendapatkan one day pass supaya bisa berkeliling Tokyo sepuasnya hingga tengah malam. Mengantrilah diriku di sebuah ticketing vending machine. Dalam antrian, aku terus memperhatikan lekat bagaimana setiap orang megoperasikan mesin itu. Akan tetapi, ketika giliranku tiba pun, aku tetap tak paham. Semua layar penuh dengan tombol dan angka yang merepresentasikan harga tiket. Entahlah itu tujuan kemana. Kutengok ke belakang, para pengantri semakin sebal karena aku terlalu lama mencari tiket. Aku menyerah, aku mudur dan mempersilahkan penumpang lainnya yang terlihat sangat terburu waktu. Aku terus berdiri agak jauh dari ticketing vending machine dan memperhatikan mereka menggunakannya. Tetap saja bingung…. karena mereka memilih menggunakan aksara kanji.

Akihirnya kuputuskan mencari sisi lain stasiun yang lebih sepi. Aku menemukanya di selasar kiri. Ticketing vending machine itu kosong melompong. Kudekati pelan, tenang dan kuperhatikan dengan seksama setiap tombolnya. Akhirnya kutemukan tombol “ENG” yang akan menuntunku menggunakan bahasa internasional. Tapi tak langsung kutemukan kata “One Day Pass”.

Aku terus mencari di direktori “Discount Card” lalu muncullah kata “Tokunai Pass”. Beruntung, aku pernah membaca sebuah artikel tentang perkeretaapian Jepang sebelum berangkat berpetualang. Dalam artikel itu disebutkan bahawa One Day Passnya Jepang bernama Tokunai Pass. Begitu girangnya aku memecahkan permasalahan itu. Oh, ternyata gampang minta ampun, aku saja yang ndeso. Aku menekannya dan setelah membayar senilai 750 Yen (Rp. 97.500).

Wujud Tokunai Pass.
Ini mungkin receiptnya.

Yang kutahu, Tokunai Pass bisa  didapatkan di seluruh stasiun JR Line. Dan bisa digunakan untuk menaiki seluruh kereta JR Line lokal (dalam kota Tokyo) yang relnya terletak di atas permukaan tanah. Jadi tidak bisa digunakan untuk Tokyo Subway bawah tanah.

Begitu mendapatkan tiket, aku langsung menuju platform ke arah Nakano.

Nakano berada di timur Tokyo dengan jarak 15 Km dan waktu tempuh menggunakan kereta berkisar 20 menit. Aku sengaja mencari tempat menginap yang sedikit jauh dari pusat kota karena harganya yang murah.

Platform menuju Nakano.
Tiba di Stasiun Nakano.

Aku menaiku Chuo Line menuju Nakano. Pukul 13:30, aku tiba di Stasiun Nakano. Dan bersiap berjalan kaki menuju Yadoya Guesthouse.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->