Goodbye Tokyo :(
Trip Start Nov 05, 2010
35Trip End Jan 16, 2011
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For our last day in Tokyo, we got up and packed our bags, and took them downstairs to reception. We left the bags there and said we would collect them around 5. We are going to be going to a hotel closer to the airport as this one was a touch too much to stay in one more night.
We wondered out and had a starbucks next door, Alex discovered she likes coffee! (not cold coffee though, just coffee that has so many other flavours in it that it can only vaguely be accused of being related to coffee, but coffee none the less).
Alex had a funky sandwich thing and we took off to the interesting underground train challenge for one of the last times. True to form, we got a wrong ticket and entered into the overground area, and after looking around and realising our error, we tried to get out but the ticket throw up issues and closed our barriers when we tried to leave
We found a person with the power to let us out a barrier, gave her the tickets some sort of explaination that she probably didn't understand and walked out.
We then found the right entrance which was slightly seperate from the other station and started our trip to Roppongi! We had no idea what to expect really, other than there was meant to be lots of places to drink, a shopping place and lots of other odds and ends.
Once we got there we travelled across down lots of alley ways and took in as much as we could see! We found signs for a National Art Museum, but after walking in a massive circle to find it, turns out it was closed. Actually, turns out a lot of places were closed on the Tuesday. Strange, and not helpful!
So we basically checked out one half of Roppongi by mid day, and then went to check out the other side, this side was the much more established industrial side!
There was huge buildings, loads of expensive shops as well as smaller shops and food places (there are hundreds I swear!)
We go up some stairs into a lobby, pay at reception and get guided to the elevators.
These weren't your average elevators. They were on crack or something. You get launched upwards, ear's popping, watching the floor numbers count up quicker to the 52nd than my car would get to 60mph!
We step out, a bit shocked by what had just happened and took a moment to prepare ourselves. Then we get taken to the window, wwhich you can follow all the way around the building, to see practially 360 degrees!
Incredible views, more amazing at sunrise and sunset, and possibly equally stunning at night all lit up. However we only saw it at mid day, and I had forgotten my sunglasses against the bright sunshine. But still loved it!
We relaxed up here for a while, and took in as much as phsyically possible, with many many photos of the view to look at later and took then psycholifts back down
Anyway, out of there and we saw parks, and shops, some massive spider like design then decided to go hunting for something more interesting.
We pulled out a guide and found there was a sword shop close by in Toronomon. This sounded interesting, and different and definiteivly Japanese, so we took up the challenge to find it. Looking back it was a bit mad because effectively the chances of us finding a single road name in the sprawling madness of Tokyo were practically slim to none.
However we chose slim and got moving. Firstly in search of a map of the area. this took about 20 mins of backtracking to one we had spotted on out travels.
Once we had refound the map, right in the corner it points vaguely to Toronomon so off we hike. working out which street corners to turn at and bascially crossing our fingers that another sign would eventually appear.
In the mean time we found a temple surrounded by skyscrapers, which was a funny situation
It did! I love this place. We kept on walking and walking in the right direction, until we found ourselves in Toronomon which we thought was a pretty successful bit of work. and purely by chance we were glancing we noticed that the shop we were looking for was hiding on a corner we just passed. Japan Sword it was called. And so we go and stand by the window, take pictures and then edge our way inside.
There were two professional men in the shop, who probably watched us like hawks as they are very very proud of their history and heritage, the amount of which in this shop was unbelieveable. The value of some of the swords and price tags were phenomanal.
We looks at all of the items, all behind glass from swords to samuari garmets, helmets, masks, swords, blades handles and everything.
We started talking to the two shop keepers. Eventually they became impressed at the interest and respect we had for them and must have taken a shine to us, because he called us over to a door behind the desk and motioned for us to follow. he took us up a stair case to the first floor
Behind this door was more armour and other bits - but not behind glass. I didn't get the impression that this tour was provided to just any random strangers, so we felt very honoured.
All the equipment was fully uncovered and layed out right infront of us. All labeled and history wrote up next to everything, full variety of clothes and armour they would wear, even masks for horses. To imagine people coming towards you, wearing clothes and masks like these, was a truely scary experience.
We literally asked the man to explain every single bit of equipment in the room to us as we looked at each one, and he couldn't speak english very well, but managed to convey what purpose each item served.
We thanked him, expecting that to be it. However he motions for us to go to the second floor.
This room was purely dedicated to swords. Also not in glass. You wouldn't believe how incredibly sharp these things were
We looked at each of these in the private collection, each with a scary amount of numbers on the price tags or value tags. Including new ones and old ones!
After this room we left, Domo arigato'd our way out which made him smile and I swear he almost blushed at the amount of thanks we gave him and appreciation shown.
We wondered a bit more, found other shops, some super shop witht tons of crap in and a massive fish as the door man. Even found a hard rock cafe, but didn't buy any of the stuff, as we couldn't risk filling our bags!
This finished our trip on a very big high. We went and collected our bags, worked our way through the train system to the right station then onto our Narita Express train. There was funny moments when alex realised when she passed a mirror, that her bag was actually bigger than her. and she looked somewhat like a snail with a house on it's back
Everything after that was timed well, and we ended up in our hotel pretty straightforwardly as there was a free bus which arrived just as we did. Sadly the loo wasn't quite up to the standard we were use to, but it still had a few features. So Woo!
We chilled for a while, wondered out late with everything shut and managed to find one last food shop, other than McD's! Got some yakatoori chicken in, from a very excitable and friendly waiter. and a few drinks, then
This was our last night and we had started to realise some of the odd bits actions. For example whenever Alex asked for anything, they would always check with myself to see if i would deem it acceptable or to approve it for her. Seems a very male dominated place. Also if i nodded at the people, they would acknowledge me, but wouldn't if Alex tried, She was also given napkins in restaurants and I wasn't. Maybe they could tell who was the better eatter and who was messy, I don't know ;).
Overall, we both had an amazing time (although Alex was not so impressed by these facts).
We slept our last night and will write up the next day later!