Narita and TaoyuanNovember 26, 2019 in Japan ⋅ 🌧 8 °C
We woke up to another cloudy day. We bade goodbye to Tokyo Skytree desu for the last time. It stood quietly as the rest of the city went on about its daily business. And then we started finalising our luggage preparations.
We managed to pack as much as we could before sleeping last night, but there were a few more items to be stored away this morning. We ate as much of the leftovers as we could to limit the waste.
After we've tidied the place up, we took selfies with the Pikachu stuff toy that they had. We also took a photo of their smiling sponge. We also bade goodbye to Roomba, the trusty robot vacuum.
It felt like it was a faster process to get to the airport this time as we knew exactly how to obtain our train passes. As we zoomed past the familiar terrain, we thoroughly enjoyed more of the taro puffs that we've put on our hand carry bag. When we got to the airport, we still used a cart but since there was not a queue in the elevator, we opted to use that instead.
After finding the aisle where our check-in counter was situated, a lady directed us to utilise the self check-in machines, however it did not accept my sister's passport for some reason. The team were very accommodating and soon we were being attended to by their personnel. They ensured that my sister and I were seated together and that our luggage were directed accordingly to our final destinations.
After we completed the security checks, we were then welcomed by the duty free section. There were plenty of delicacies. Some free samples being handed out to try. Before we knew it, we had Butter Butler goodies in our hands. And lo and behold, in the next section, my eyes gleamed as there stood a shelf filled with Le Tao cheesecakes.
Le Tao cheesecakes are double layered: one is baked and fluffy, and the other is unbaked, slightly more dense and creamier. Together, the textures combine and create a serving of heaven in your mouth. But to our surprise, they were offering a new flavour this time - melon. There was no hesitation, we bought one and we were determined to enjoy it later tonight during our layover in Taiwan. It was heartbreaking that their packaging only allows four hours of travel time, otherwise we would also have brought some to take to our final destinations. The lady who assisted us was delighted at our enthusiasm and excitement.
Narita airport Terminal 1 gate lounges featured high ceiling with large infinity glass windows and we enjoyed watching passing planes and resting on the super comfortable lounge chairs.
Soon enough we were all boarded and ready to go. My sister and I chose a film to watch together, but because we have separate screen panels in front of us, to our amusement, we had to make sure we press the play button in sync.
We chose the film Shazam - a film that had been more of a time-filler rather than a true source of enjoyment, but not regrettable. Thankfully our in-flight meals were delightful.
We had about four hours of layover in Taoyuan airport. Our first agenda was to get our free massage on automated chairs. Thankfully where our gate exit was, there were plenty of empty massage chairs amidst an artificial bamboo grove. We got two tokens each from the nearby tourist counter inside a shop. Each token worth 15 mins of bliss. As we utilised our second token, we were joined by another pair of travellers, but because they were seated far away, I still managed to continue quietly whimpering in delight as my knots were worked on.
The relaxing half-an-hour went by in a flash. Afterwards, my sister was planning to get more of the cloth sunglasses cases that she had bought from there once before as gifts to some of her friends. This shop was close to where a renowned braised beef noodle restaurant was located.
The braised beef broth was absolutely divine, so much so that I must have closed my eyes on my first sip. It was rich yet delicate at the same time. Unfortunately we had to ensure we had enough room for dessert as the melon flavoured double fromage cheesecake is almost fully defrosted and ready for consumption and so we only shared a bowl. We also tried their Mango jelly dessert which was not worth writing home about. We noticed there were a few fellow Filipinos eating there as well and enjoying their bowlful of goodness prior to their own flights.
We then decided to burn off the noodle snack with more walking around. By this time we already had a picture with Hello Kitty in her shop, and then we found some more Sanrio characters all set-up and ready for having their photos taken with travellers posing for selfies.
We then made our way close to our boarding gates. We saw a lounge, filled with orchids, devoid of people, so we took the opportunity to set ourselves up there and prepare for the ultimate experience of this trip - to envelope our taste buds in a sensation that only LeTAO cheesecakes can offer, and this time, with a hint of melon.
There was a thrill of anticipation as we unboxed the cake. Finally, there laid bare in front of our eyes a familiar golden yellow, circular piece of beauty that came all the way from Otaru.
After a few selfies with the cake, as an act of ultimate kindness to ourselves, we have allowed our plastic forks to deliver a tantalising morsel of the cheesecake into our mouths. My eyeballs rolled and my eyelids slowly shut and I released a whimper of ecstasy. The base which is baked, lighter part of the cheesecake hits the tongue first, and as you push it up against the hard palate, the moist, non-baked part suddenly fills the whole mouth with flavours of light creaminess and delicate cheese and then the hint of melon ties it all wondrously, leaving you wanting more.
And we did have more. Until there was none left to be had.
Of course, in between each mouthful, my sister and I would attempt conversation while marveling at the flavours. We were evaluating our time in Japan and patting ourselves at the back and thanking Our Good Lord for the opportunity. We also spoke about the young entrepreneur whose passion for Patisserie and wanting to make something big out of his hometown in Otaru has led to the creation of LeTAO and maybe someday we could visit it.
My boarding time was about an hour earlier than my sister's. After the memorable time in the orchid lounge, my heart was full of gratitude but at the same time, ached--it was parting time again.
And so, within a hug and a kiss we captured the breadth of our childhood dreams along with our recent memories of Japan and drew them all close to our heart. We looked to the future full of hope as we made our farewell. Until next time.Read more