Living in the south for so many years, I got used to things being closed on Sundays. My brief stint in southern California was an eye-opener that this wasn’t practiced all over the U.S. (just in most parts I’ve lived in). Here in Japan, Sunday really is just another day, albeit a weekend one, and I’ve yet to run into a shop or restaurant that was closed on Sundays.
Instead, businesses pick another day of the week, often Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, and close then. For those of us not used to the concept, it can be confusing to show up somewhere and find it’s the establishment’s day off. So imagine my surprise a few years ago, here on vacation, when I went to Shinjuku Park in Tokyo for some nice greenery, walked halfway around the outside of the park to a main gate, only to discover the park was closed. Yes, closed. No pretty trees and green grass for you! It’s Monday, don’t you know. In that case, it was all the more baffling since the ticket gates aren’t even staffed by people; you buy a ticket at a machine and then go through a turnstile. But unless I felt like hopping one of those turnstiles, no park for me.
And then there was tonight. After an annoying one year anniversary at work, I decided french toast and honey mint tea would be an awesome dinner. The coffee shop I usually go to is on the 12th floor of the IMS Building in Tenjin. And while the stores all shut down at 8:00 PM, there are food and drink establishments on the upper floors that are open until 1:00 AM. So I headed over … only to discover that apparently the ENTIRE building took the day off and was locked up tight.
So I celebrated with steak and a Beard Papa cream puff instead.