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No ATMs and sold out Japanese Tattoo magazines

After visiting the Great Buddha, we headed back into the heart of Kamakura and found a cute little restaurant to eat lunch at.  Outside was a neon Budweiser sign and inside was a nice, older Japanese man who spoke good English and was accomodating enough to read us everything on the menu, and then make us vegetarian sandwiches.

At this point, we realized that we did not have enough cash for spending money or dinner for the rest of the day, we were almost totally out. In addition to realizing this, we also recalled how very difficult it had been to find an ATM that took our U.S. debit cards. The only place, literally, that we had encountered one so far was at the airport on our first day. It was a little bit stressful not knowing if we could find an ATM to get money from. We stayed relatively calm and remembered the WikiTravel article that said the best places for tourists to look for ATMs were 7-11s, CitiBank, and the Post Office. Fortunately for us, karma?, there was a post office just a 5-minute walk from the restaurant we were at. Phew… we were saved, for now. After our veggie sandwiches, Budweiser and Post Office ATM-run, we headed back to the train station to head over to downtown Shinjuku.

After seeing the Great Buddha, the next mission of the day was to find the Japanese tattoo magazine called Tattoo Burst that Yolanda’s tattoo artist Michelle Wortman and her husband Guy Aitchison were featured in; along with a picture of Yolanda, among other clients. As we wandered through downtown Shinjuku, we stopped at three major bookstores, and with each one got the same response: ‘that issue is sold out.’  Bummer!  It would have been very cool to find and purchase the magazine while in Japan – but at least Michele and Guy have included a link to an electronic version of the article on their website: http://hyperspacestudios.com/events.html

At some point after the tattoo magazine search we realized, for a second time (how did this happen to two organized travelers?) that we were out of money, and didn’t have the cash we would need to buy our return trip train tickets back to the airport, we needed 6200 yen, around $80.  We had decided to walk from downtown Shinjuku back to our hotel, and figured we would keep our eyes open and find an ATM along the way.

It was rainy, getting dark and we were getting hungry.  As we walked, and walked, and walked, we checked every ATM we came across looking for one of three symbols that meant it would take our foreign debit card, but had no luck. We must have checked no less than 20 ATMs on the 45-minute walk back to the hotel.  Not sure what to do at this point, it was 8 pm, our flight was at 10 AM and we had to get on the train at 6 AM, we were running out of the time.  The Post Offices would be closed by now, none of the 7-11s had an ATM we could use, and there wasn’t a CitiBank in sight.  We decided to walk to the Yotsuya subway stop near the hotel and see if we could buy train tickets with our debit card, we could not, and they couldn’t take our credit card there either. But they told us that we might be able to pay with a credit card at the Tokyo stop, luckily we had just enough cash to take the subway roundtrip to the Tokyo stop.  

We were freaking out a little bit at this point because this was our last hope of getting money so that we could get back to the airport to catch our fight in less than 12 hours -we scrambled to the Tokyo stop, made our way through the station to find the train ticket counter, and crossed our fingers as the teller ran the credit card through….. success!  It worked, we had two train tickets back to the airport! 

On our way back to the hotel, we found a little restaurant called Freshness Burger; which amazingly had both a Tofu Burger and Veggie Burger on their menu, we ordered one of each and then laughed together about the drama that had just ensued. Somehow, despite the potential stressful disaster that could have come about just then, we had stayed calm, and actually laughed about how crazy it was that on the last night in Tokyo we were running around in the rain at 11 pm on a mad search for an ATM. What an adventure! 

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