At 3am the alarm went off, and we grudgingly got up. We half expected we'd wake up early on our own, just because of the time change, but we'd done a bit too good of a job adjusting the day before, so we were still very tired when the alarm went off. Dewey called us just a few minutes later, to make sure we were up. We met Dewey and Clarita in the lobby at 3:30 to catch a cab to the Tsukiji Fish Market. The market is set to move to a new location later this year, so we wanted to make sure to see it before then. There is a tuna auction every morning at 5:00, but people line up way before that, as there is a maximum number of people allowed. The hotel staff had told us the night before we should be there by 3:30 or 3:45. We did as instructed, but when we arrived at the Fish Market, staff there told us that twice the allowed number of people had already shown up (250 people for 120 spots), and that the queue was full by 2:30. So no tuna auction for us. The thought of standing in line for nearly three hours didn't sound so great, so maybe this was for the best.

Instead, we walked around the fish market area too see everyone setting up their stalls. We saw one guy slicing up a gigantic tuna with what we assume was a ridiculously sharp knife, almost a sword. A lot of the other stalls didn't seem to involve fish directly, but instead other food items or items that went along with fish. There were a couple 24/7 sushi restaurants that were open, but besides for those everything else was closed (albeit setting up for opening). There were a handful of other tourists, probably other folks who couldn't get in to the tuna auction. There were a bunch of carts hauling materials around, and a bunch of motorcycles as people came in to work. The streets were quite narrow, and we snaked up and back all the streets in the area. As we were about wrapped up, we saw a ramen place that had just opened and already had a line - at 4:45 in the morning. Apparently, Chuka Soba Inoue is one of the more famous ramen shops in Tokyo, but we didn't know that at the time. We were hungry, however, and we also figured people wouldn't be lined up that early if it wasn't good. And it was good, very good.

The sun was coming out just as we left. Dewey and Clarita took a cab back to the hotel, but we decided to walk, as it wasn't that far. On our short walk we passed by at least four Lawson stores, which are kind of like 7-Elevens, and about as ubiquitous as Walgreens in San Francisco. We got back to the hotel around 5:30 and tried to get back to sleep, but with no avail. So we put our shoes back on and walked around the Ginza neighborhood for a bit, A) doing some window shopping, and B) locating Bar High Five, where we planned to go that night. The streets we empty, a far cry from the night before, as the only people out and about were men in black suits on their way to work. There were also some crows around, including one that was snacking on vermin, but we tried to focus our attention elsewhere. Window shopping is much easier when no one is around and there aren't any sales associates to pressure you. It's also easier to ensure you don't actually purchase anything. Back at the hotel, we realized that the "birds" we thought we had heard earlier in the morning weren't actually birds, but piped in music. Either that or their birds in the hallway near our room.

This time we got back to the room at 6:30, and this time we got a tiny amount of shut-eye before we went out on our tour. For this trip, we worked with Dewey and Clarita to identify half-day or full-day tours on, and Dewey booked everything ahead of time. So while we had guides for everything, there wasn't an organized tour operator or anything similar. Today, we had planned to do a full-day tour to Mount Fuji and the Hakone area, southwest of the city. We got picked up at 8:15, and the bus was on time, but some of the patrons were late, so we sat there for a bit before the bus up and left. The bus made a couple of other stops in the Ginza and Tokyo Station area to some hotels to pick up people, then we went to the JTB offices to check-in for our tour. At the JTB offices there was an endless sea of buses, people, and lots of Japanese ladies talking loudly attempting to herd cats. This is where everyone who was going anywhere on the day went to get their materials, then spread out to the various buses going different place

We were on the #7 bus for Fuji and Hakone, and about half of our bus occupants were Filipinos. We made our way southwest through Tokyo and then eventually out into the countryside. Aside from lots of buildings, there wasn't much to see, and it was a long drive, so we passed our time listening to Podcasts; Crystal about stuff we missed in history class, Justin about the NBA with Bill Simmons and Howard Beck. Over an hour in we finally caught our first glimpses of Mount Fuji, and it was clear as day. What was notable about the mountain more than anything else was that there weren't any surrounding mountains - it stuck up all by itself. Our guide said we were very lucky to see it so clearly. Unbeknownst to us, seeing Fuji is not that easy, about 50-50. We got off the highway in Fujiyoshida, where there was a large roller coaster right near the offramp.

There was a single road heading up the mountain into the National Park area, and then we continued on the road up the north side of the mountain to station 5, which is a little town in its own right. It was nice up there, but we had less than 30 minutes to look around, after almost 2 hours driving on the way to Mount Fuji. After being clear the whole drive up, it was now a bit cloudy, but thankfully it came and went so we could get clear views. The mountain looked much less vertical halfway up it than it did from down below. It looked nice, but not nearly as majestic as you see in the promotional materials. After scurrying around to see everything in 30 minutes, we drove down mountain for about 45 minutes into town where we stopped for lunch, now about 1pm. The 40(?) of us went into a dining room for some traditional Japanese fare that was pretty good. Clarita met some of the Filipinos, and in no time they were chit-chatting about who knows what (hopefully not us).

After lunch there was more driving, this time to the Hakone area southeast of Fuji. Justin fell asleep whilst Crystal made an origami Mount Fuji and then eventually went to sleep as well. By the time we got to Hakone it was cloudy and breezy, and we were pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to get any views of Fuji. Lake Ashi was nice, and we had a 15 minute boat cruise on the lake, but it was pretty cold with the wind and being out on the lake. On the other side of the cruise was a gondola to take us to the top of Mount Hakone. But since all the tour buses got there at the same time, the queue for the gondola was lengthy, and we were near the end. So rather than wait in the queue, we figured the line wasn't going to get any longer, so we just went down to the cafe and got some sake, then went back up to the queue. By the time we got there, the queue was only 2 people, and we had to wait only 45 seconds for the gondola. Dewey and Clarita were getting off the gondola that had just come back down. They told us what we already figured, which is that it was socked in with fog at the top. At least the ride up to the top was nice.

We were back in the bus (again) at 5:15, then drove to Odawara station to catch a Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo. After this drive, we were more than tired of sitting on the bus, so at least sitting on the train would be different. We had to wait about 20 minutes at the station, which was a bummer since we'd been waiting and doing nothing most of the day, but we did get to see several bullet trains fly by, through the station. It was 40 minutes to Tokyo Station, which was about as crazy as one would expect at 7:30 on a weekday. At Tokyo, we transferred to the Ginza Subway line. We came out of the subway station one block from Bar High Five. We'd heard about this place on one of the Anthony Bourdain shows, and also a David Chang video as well. It's supposedly the pinnacle of "craft" cocktails made as perfectly as possible. Having lived in California all our lives, we were curious to see exactly how much more "craft" this place could be. We were worried it would be packed, but when we got there, there were only 1 or 2 patrons. It filled up in short order, however, perhaps we attracted the crowd.

Everyone ordered exactly what they wanted: Dewey got something herbal and refreshing, Clarita got a Pina Colada (the one David Chang had ordered during his visit), Crystal got a 12 year old whiskey, and Justin got something with rum and ginger. We stayed for about 90 minutes, and Hidetsugu Ueno (the main bartender) showed up about 20 minutes in. He was nice enough to take a couple photos with us. We walked back to the hotel around 9:30, not having eaten yet. We used our free drink ticket that we received when we had checked in (the hotel bar closes at 10) so that it wouldn't go to waste. We finally decided we should get some dinner, so went to a small hole in the wall right near the hotel - ginger rice, noodles, and fried chicken, plus sake for Crystal, all for $15. We wish we could remember the name, but if we were ever back in the area, we're about 90% confident we could find it. It was down a stairwell on the left side of the road between the hotel and Bar High Five. After dinner we went back to Bar High Five (just the two of us this time), and stayed until last call. This time we were lucky enough to be seated at the bar itself, and got a Manhattan (Crystal) and Old Fashioned (Justin) for the first round. For the second round, Justin got "The Good Stuff" Rye, plus rum, in some cocktail that Ueno-san put together, and Crystal got a floral cocktail with Cherrry Blossom Liquer. We chatted for a bit with Ueno-san, then went back to the hotel and crashed. We realized on the walk back that we'd gotten up at 3am, and were going to sleep around 1am - nothing like slowly breaking ourselves in on holiday.