On the road again
Trip Start May 01, 2010
33Trip End Jul 10, 2010
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Yes we are on holiday yet again. Yes we are both extremely lucky!
Well the flight from Canberra to Sydney went as planned and we had around an hour in the first class lounge which meant we could eat there rather than on the plane which was a nice treat. We were hoping for an upgrade as the flight to Tokyo is around 11 hours but alas, no upgrade. We did have bulkhead seats though so I had a little extra legroom but we were both glad to be off the plane when we arrived in Tokyo at around 06:30 on Sunday morning. I had around 4 hours sleep and Ly about half that. Immigration and customs was quick and we managed to find the right train. The difficulty with Tokyo is that there are so many different train lines all run by different companies. So although you might buy a day pass with one company, you may need to buy several in order to get around
The first thing I noticed on the train was the advertising. This trend continued for the rest of the day as the Japanese seem to squeeze advertising in and around every vehicle and building in Tokyo. The train into Tokyo took around an hour and passed by rice paddies, baseball fields full of players, traditional looking homes, ugly apartment blocks and even uglier office blocks. By the time we changed trains and got to the hotel it was around 9:30 and we were exhausted. Although we felt like sleeping we were more hungry than anything so we went in search of food.
After wandering around the streets aimlessly for a while we stumbled in to a small restaurant which was surprisingly busy compared to the others we had seen. Luckily the menus had some pictures so we ordered in the classic tourist way of pointing and hoping that we hadn't picked something too disgusting. The food was actually really good which surprised me as the pictures didn’t look fantastic with our favourites being a Korean BBQ style rice dish and gyoza. After a good feed we retired to the hotel for a power nap before hitting the street again. I stopped at one of the omnipresent vending machines for a random Japanese drink which tasted like bubble gum and we checked out the many displays of plastic food in restaurant windows
We are staying in the Shinjuku area which is where most of the action seems to be. After a recommendation from my friend Nicole we decided to walk to Yoyogi park to see the Meiji Jingu shrine and the 'interesting’ people in the Harajuku area. The park is a dense verdant place and a very peaceful escape in such a large city. The Meiji Jingu shrine is set amongst the trees and we were just in time to see local musicians perform some traditional tunes. At the edge of the park bordering with the trendy Harajuku neighbourhood, the local kids gather in their subculture groups and pose for photos. There are all sorts of weird people hanging around and it was a sharp contrast to the traditional shrine we had just visited. We walked around the Harajuku shops along with thousands of other people before we decided our feet had almost had enough.
Walking back to the hotel we stopped in the Takashimaya department store. These stores are throughout Asia and stock everything but with a focus on luxury brands. The store has 14 levels of just about everything you could ever need. As usual our focus was on food so with our stomaches rumbling after all the walking we went straight to the food court in the basement. The food was amazing! We treated the whole area as a buffet and got little bits of food from lots of different shops. We had some great gyozas and other dumplings, skewers, prawns, sushi, pastry and other treats. With full bellies we walked back to the hotel through the still crowded, neon lit streets. It’s bed time now and our feet are aching but we have smiles on our faces.
A great start to our trip! Wish you were here.