Day 38

It’s Friday. Noe is giving her talk at Waseda today. And we are curious, the teens wouldn’t mind checking it out. But it is also the first day of the JR East x Lego rally. Running around the city, collecting 7 of 30 possible special Lego Eki stamps, sounds like an objective for us. And after 7, we get a little Lego figurine and a book to collect all 30 stamps. The rally is organized to commemorate jointly the 150th anniversary of Japan Rail, and it’s first line from Shimbashi to Yokohama, and the 90th anniversary of Lego. Decision is made, Noe goes to Waseda, the others embark on the Lego trek. First stop, Shinjuku station: we will be able to get the booklet with the space for 7 stamps, the list of stations participating, the select 10 where we can go claim our figurines, and all the rules. All stamps have a Lego figurine on them, dressed in a theme based on the station place. Shinjuku’s Lego man is in a pepper costume. Shinjuku used to be a pepper growing zone, and had its own pepper. We claim our first stamp, then try buying a JT East Tokyo day pass. Unable to understand which pass to buy from the machine, we ask for help, and a nice JR East ticket counter agent comes to guide us. With the day passes on our Suica cards, and the rail map printed on the Suica cards (!), we are off for our adventure. 

Of course, Samuel has planned the stops so that we can also claim a number of regular Eki stamps we do not have yet. We will start far, come back a bit, then discover a neighborhood walking to another line, and so on. In all stations with a Lego stamp, the Lego stamp has replaced the regular Eki one, so we have to ask for the regular one at the booth. Along the way, we also stop in a number of non-lego stations, while we are at it. Off we go: we take the Saikyo line to go to Akabane station for our second Lego stamp, then go back on the Saiko line, make a stop at Higashi-Jujo station, non-Lego station, for an Eki stamp. From there we ride to Oji station for our 3rd Lego stamp. We then walk 20 minutes in good heat to reach Oku station for Lego stamp number 4. Ueno station is one stop along the Utsunomiya line, allows us to score a 5th Lego stamp, and get back on the Yamamote line. While the instructions are explicitly asking people to only take one “7 stamps” booklet, we have noticed many have taken many more, and decide at this point to take one for Noe: she collects her first stamp here. Next, we ride the Yamomote line to Sugamo to get our 6th stamp. It is past 2pm, and we decide to buy some bentos and sandwiches and eat outside. We hike a while in the neighborhood, visit a shrine, and continue to Itabashi station to get our seventh stamp. At this stage, Noe has three stamps. We can now go get figurines, and discover what is the 30 stamps booklet. To get our figurines, we need to spend 500 Yens in one of a few Newdays (Kombini stores that you can only find in JR stations). We thus ride to Ikebukuro station, and enter the Newday. Unfortunately, the little Lego kits that were advertised and prices at 600 are all gone. So we buy 500 Yens of drinks (it is hot, we are thirsty) and decide to move back to the furthest station we have gone to, Akabane, which also has a exchange possible Newday, in the hope that the further away, the less demand for the Lego kits. Not without collecting Noe’s 4th and 5th stamps, though! 

No luck at the Akabane Newday, so another 1000 Yens of food and drinks are bought in order to get two more figurines. On the lucky side, we have now the three different figurines! We also have started collecting some of the stamps in the 30 stamp booklet. Of course, we now know we won’t get a full booklet, collecting 30 stamps is too much, especially with some stations very far away. On the way back we stop at Ukimafunado station, Kita-Akabane station, Jujo station, all non-Lego stations, and get extra stamps. We decide to pursue some stamps for Noe and also stop at Sugamo and Nippori, where a giant Buddha can be seen. Unforunately we are just too late and the Tennoji sanctuary is closed, but we can still see the giant Buddha. We explore a bit the neighborhood and take advantage to make a bubble-tea pause. The pause is welcomed heartily. From there, we go to Iidabashi to take the Chuo-Sobu line back to Shinjuku station, with a Lego and Eki stamp stop at Yotsuya station. Back in Shinjuku station, we do not collect the seventh seal but do collect Noe’s 7th stamp. We decide to check whether there will be a new batch of Lego kits at Newdays tomorrow. We can now go home and enjoy a nice dinner with Noe. We can definitely say we rode the JR trains in Tokyo. But we also walked more than 15 000 steps!

Off we go

Number 7!

Number 7!

Number 7



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