The first place I lived in Tokyo is called Jiyugaoka, or “Freedom Hill” in English, a trendy town full of lovely cafes, expensive boutiques, fashionable people and even more fashionable dogs.
I think it’s true that the first place you choose to live when you move to a new country is often the place you are most attached to. The same rule probably applies to humans as well and certainly to ducks. Now I still go back there sometimes and wonder around the familiar streets dotted with newly opened shops.
But I always follow the same route, starting at the south exit of the station, making a circle along the street of cherry trees, crossing the railway to the other side of the town, making several stops here and there, and finally get to the front exit of the station and take the train home.
My first stop is the bench on the cherry tree street. I usually sit there sipping a cup of cappuccino bought from the coffee wagon, watch the afore-mentioned fashionable people walking by, and sometimes play with their adorable dogs.
But be warned, some of the dogs there have more attitude than their neurotic owners, don’t lose a limb. Also, those benches belong to the homeless at night, so you might be actually sitting on someone’s bed when you are enjoying your cappuccino, don’t make a mess.
If you are hungry, there is a spare rib restaurant called Shutters on that street, their apple pie is to die for (before you die from eating too much of their famous but otherwise oil, soft yet curiously chewy BBQ ribs, that is.) One thing though, if you usually go everywhere alone like me, well sorry, you can’t order their lunch course because you need at least 2 people to order that!
After the coffee and apple pie, I am ready for the shops. I like this small shopping square next to the railway. Sometimes I have lunch sitting at the terrace of the Italian restaurant on the first floor. And the cinnamon rolls in the next-door bakery, Asanoya, are also my favorite.
There is a tiny shop on the second floor of this shopping square. They have lots of cute little stuff and the best thing about the shop is, everything costs 100-300 yen! So now I have a full stock of their bamboo trays and wooden bowls which I still haven’t found any chance to use yet…