Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Jul 10, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hello everyone,

I'm writing this message from the Japan Airlines lounge in Tokyo as we are about to board our flight to London with a 12.5 hour flight ahead of us.

Yesterday was another day spent exploring Tokyo. We went back to Shinjuku to look around and get some lunch from a food hall.  Yet again the food was amazing and we ate way too much.

We then caught the train out to Odaiba which is an artificial island used for port and shipping activities but has been extensively developed much like Docklands in Melbourne.  Our first stop was Pallette Town which is a shopping area.  We went to the Venus Fort shopping centre which was very much like a shopping centre we went to in Las Vegas with the entire interior replicating a European streetscape.  It creates a weird ambience for shopping but I guess it is something different and unexpected in Tokyo.  We didn’t buy anything as the Japanese fashion does not translate so well in Australia but it was fun to look around anyway.

Next we walked around Odaiba and I was quite impressed by the architecture.  There were lots of buildings with 'holes’ cut out of them and ultramodern designs.  Walking past what I guess was a convention centre we saw hundreds of people dressed up as Japanese cartoon characters.  Mostly girls, they had put a lot of effort into their costumes and were posing around as photographers took their photos.  I tried to take a photo but security put an end to that so it must have been professional photographers only!  We walked to the Oedo Onsen to experience a traditional Japanase bath house / hotspring.  The Onsen was quite an experience.  First you select a Yukata which is like a dressing gown and then you are separated to get changed.  Once you are dressed in your Yukata you enter a communal space where everyone is dressed in their Yukata and wandering around.  It is all indoors and there are restaurants, games and relaxation options.  There is an outdoor garden for walking around in ankle deep hot water and ‘Dr Fish’, a treatment where small fish eat the dead skin off your feet.

Anyway, the main experience is the bathhouse for which you are separated into male and female.  Once in the change room you remove all your clothes and then enter the bath house where there are at least a hundred other people.  Being naked in a room with a hundred other naked Japanese men took some getting used to I can tell you!  Being the only westerner there also ensured I didn’t go unnoticed.  The hot baths were very relaxing and very hot.  There are also saunas, an outdoor bath area where you can sit in the water on heated rocks, and areas where you can sit and wash yourself with various products.  The Onsen is very popular with people of all ages which surprised me as I thought it would only be old men wandering around.

You are warned not to loose the key to your locker, but wandering around naked and knowing it is my only access to clothes I was very very careful.  If all else fails there is a vending machine that sells underwear!

After the long trip home we went for dinner at a Korean BBQ place which was very average but we still enjoyed it anyway.  Anyway, my plane is about to board so I have to go now.  I will upload pictures soon (don’t worry, none of the Onsen).

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Aunty Pete on

(How can you tell a naked man is a westerner???) I am going to Roman Baths with Joy and Anita for my birthday on Saturday but I don't expect it will be quite like your experience. Hope you have a safe and comfortable flight to London. p.s. don't forget to take me with you next time you go away!! xoxo

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