We awoke on our last day in Yokohama to find that our sunny, warmer-than-average weather was gone. The morning felt heavy as the grey clouds settled in over the harbor. Enjoying our coffee, sitting by our corner windows watching the city come to life, we made plans for our final morning in Yokohama. It was early still, but we watched as a Tai Chi group gathered in the park and gracefully executed their routine. We saw people jogging and walking on the wide sidewalk along the waterfront.
After our leisurely coffee time, we moved rather quickly to get ready to check-out, eat breakfast and visit Yamashita Park one more time. But first I wanted to ask the concierge about the room that General Douglas McArthur stayed in when he was at the hotel. I was hoping it may be vacant and we could see it. As was all the staff at the Hotel New Grande, the concierge was very polite and helpful. She didn’t come right out and say “no,” (Japanese people avoid saying “no” at all costs), she instead offered to take us to the second floor lobby of the old hotel and show us General McArthur’s desk – or at least that’s what I thought she said. She even left the concierge desk for a few minutes to escort us and provide some historical information.
As I described earlier, the lobby of the old hotel was beyond beautiful and memorable in so many ways. She led us to a rather small (at least not what I was expecting) desk that was not, she explained, the General’s actual desk, but rather a replica. The actual desk is still in the “McArthur Suite” upstairs. It was interesting to see, but I really expected a massive, heavy desk fit for a general. I’m sure that the size was limited by the size of the room/suite where it stood. The concierge took a picture of us at the desk and we took a few more in the old lobby. Her pager sounded and off she went to help other hotel visitors.
Reluctantly, we checked out of the hotel, leaving our backpacks for later pickup, and headed to the park. Although there was a chill in the air and not a pretty day, the park was just as busy as ever. We stopped at a wonderful statue of a woman named “Guardian of the Water” which was, in a gesture of friendship, donated to the people of Yokohama by the people of San Diego, California in May 1960. Enjoying our final stroll on the waterfront, we stopped for a final look at the little girl with red shoes on.
Sadly, time passed quickly and soon it was time to pick up our backpacks at the hotel lobby and catch the train for home. There was so much more I wanted to see and do! But one thing is certain, I want to go back. I fell in love with the city that loved “the little girl with red shoes!”