Each morning in Ikebukuro began with breakfast at the Sakura Cafe - all the toast you can eat for 320 yen. (About $3.20) Fortunately, the meal also included all the coffee you can drink. Coffee is a big expense for our family in Japan. Copious quantities in the morning are a necessity, not an option. A small cup of very strong coffee costs over 500 yen in most restaurants. The Sakura Cafe coffee was the strength we like best, and we drank lots and lots.
We generally avoid talking to fellow travelers when we are in Japan, but we couldn't ignore the guy sitting right next to the coffee pot. We discovered that he lives on the Big Island. After that, we saw him almost every morning. He said he was in Japan to make connections so he could get jobs doing athletic sorts of things like working at ski resorts. One day he told us he was going skiing at an indoor slope in a shopping mall.
We decided to spend our first day wandering around near the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology where Walt worked in 2005. Our first stop was Mitaka Park where our friend Kosuke claims that he once saw a carp 3 feet long. We saw a lot of large fish, but nothing approaching that size. The park was full of old people playing a game that looked something like croquet, mothers toting young children on their bicycles, and people just generally enjoying the pleasant weather. Paddle boats prowled one section of the lake. The picture in the third row on the right is the entrance to Ghibli Museum.