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Arrived on Wednesday 26.08.2009 at Narita airport and made our way to Asukusabashi, where we had found a hostel in the good ole Lonely Planet, had a little help from the locals, but found it soon enough, the trains etc felt a little like being in London, so didn`t feel too far from home initially. Found a little zen garden to look around, was very jet lagged so didn`t want to do too much. Went back to the hostel for a little nap before showering and going out for dinner.
The nap was sooooooooo good, went for a stroll around the town at night, a few restaurants were open but it wasn`t as busy as we thought it would be, found a nice little cafe/restaurant to eat in and shared some ramen and noodles dishes, was delicious. Just what we needed, each table had a little buzzer for when you were ready to order, kinda funky. Then headed back to the hostel, where we each went onto the internet to let everyone know we had arrived ok, even though we had already called our parents from the airport to give them each a nice 2am wake up call te he. They seemed pleased though.
Time for a good all night sleep.
Thursday 27th August 2009
Unfortunately we did not get the sleep we hoped for as some guy was snoring, but oh well, we found the funny side and tried to use our ipods to drown it out a bit too funny, hence we was up about 6am the following day te he. The hostel offered egg on toast for breakfast for free, which went down very well. I fell in love with the seating area and told Ad that I wanted our next dining room to be decorated this way.
Headed out early and found our way to the Sumo area near where we were staying, about a 15min walk, not bad, was closed up as so early so went for a stroll around first, found a beautiful garden, very quaint with lots of coy fish and terrapins in the pond, was so lovely, spent a long time relaxing there. Headed back to Sumo secton and spotted some Sumo wrestlers going in for practise but was unable to take pictures of them. Had a look around the Sumo Museum and the Tokyo/Edo Museum next door, both very interesting, at this point we were getting tired again so headed back for a nap.
Woke up about 7ish and headed into Roppongi town, which is everything it says in the book, lively, vibrant, lots of neon lights, the place to be at night, so many clubs, bars and restaurants, it was what we expected to see in Tokyo, amazing place. I fell in love with about a million puppies and kittens in a pet shop, poor Ad had to drag me out again, was amazing. Stumbled on the Tokyo Tower, bit like the Effiel Tower. We went up it and got many pics of Tokyo at night was perfect, such amazing views. Found a lovely Korean reasturant to have dinner in, delicious. We were so busy wondering around that we almost missed our last underground train. Unfortunately for us the one we did get broke down 2 stops early, so we had to cab a little, was fine though, we got back safe and sound.
Friday 28th August Much better nights sleep, the snorer has left the building. Got our things together and walked to our next hostel in Asakusa (45mins walk, not to bad). Once we dropped of our bags we went to check out the town of Asakusa, which is well known for it`s Traditional side of Japan, the market was interesting, tried a rice cake (delicious), surrounding the temple, pagoda and shrines, all amazing to look around, a beautiful part of Tokyo, well worth a visit. Went to Shinjuku for the evening. What a place, it`s one of two worlds, half of it is full of skyscrapers like Manhatten, very new world and the other is very vibrant a bit like Roppongi but a little like Soho, great nightlife, we found a Japanese style bbq restaurant where you cook your own meat in the middle of the table YUMMY!! Although, one of the dishes we ordered tasted like a vegetable soup with dairyle mmmmmm tasty NOT!
Saturday 29th August Samba Festival, what a great start to the day, even though it was blazing hot and most of Japan was in town to join in the fun, we enjoyed the music of Samba and although I was too short to see, Ad got some great shots of the half naked ladies dancing around in their Samba uniforms, he seemed to really enjoy it (he is smiling as I write this). Next stop is Ueno Park, a gorgeous place, lots to see there, we visited the statue of katsumoto (Who "The Last Samurai" was based on). Went to the Science museum, life size whale outside, quite something and had fun playing with the scientific gadgets. Had a nice stroll around the park past fountains and lots of shrines. For the evening we went to Akasaka, lots of neon and big restaurants, we caught the end of a band playing on massive screens, we were kinda hoping to hear woo ohhh woo oh oh, but no luck haha. We werent so keen on the area as it was very rich and didnt want to pay for a big restaurant so grabbed some Ramen and a nice big piece of Chocolate cake for the subway journey back!
Sunday 30th August
Used the Internet cafe, abit posh! Free coffee and juices, got our coffee fix for the morning. Then off to the Imperial Palace in the heart of Tokyo. Didnt feel like you were in a city at all。 Some brilliant architecture on the palaces with all white walls, huge gardens and a moat surrounding it all. Inside it was a maze of high walls and different sub temples, but the best was the imperial garden where it had loads of waterfalls, ponds and blossom trees. We had been noticing a high pitch sound for days that we thought may have been birds but turned out to be a huge cockcroatch looking bug that can hit that "high C!".
From here we walked to Ginza the shopping dirstrict of Tokyo to get Sushi. Found a great little place with revolving Sushi. Had our first try of Unagi 'eel'...tasted awesome! Salmon skin roll! Loads of other bits and a bottle of Sake that knocked our heads off. The guy making the food had a cool bandana on just like the movies! His big machete stopped me from laughing at him.
Leaving here we stepped in to our first Typhoon，lets just say we got wet! Tried to dive in to the Sony building but it closed on us. Checked out some of the shopping centres, just like Hong Kong they all go up to about 10 floors plus， so any where you walk you need to be looking up to find anything。 Ali was annoyed as we just ate loads and we came across an all you can eat desert restaurant! i prefered the Sushi! =) My umbrella broke, guess it didnt have typhoon proof on it!
Monday 31st August
Up at 5am we headed to the Tsukiji Fish Market, was still raining but wasnt missing out. Here they haggled the nights catch and they reckon at least 15 million pounds of fish gets sold in 3-4 hours, mental! I have had this image of loads of Japenese doing funny sounds! Increbible sight, everthing you can think of in one place but doesnt smell as its so fresh. Alis face was a picture (see facebook) not a fan of fish moving about still at 5am, just made me want breakfast. so grabbed soba noodles and tempura prawns, definatly new our prawns were the freshest! good price too!
Headed to Ikebukuro, went to the top of the Sunshine City buildling classic in a middle of a Typhoon, had to check out the top floor, 59 up could see the ground that was about it. We both came out of the toilets laughing as we used all the buttons that spray and make sound, note to thy self "dont press the spray button when not sitting down"
Wanted to find the earthquake simulation after a good hour or more of getting lost, lonely planet map sucked for that. Was worth the trip, meant to be a serious place for Japense to learn how to deal with a earthquake but ali and i and some other english people wanted to mess about in an earthquake! Think they knew that so when we thought it was over turned it back on for a laugh! All the kids found it hilarious. Still though, didnt understand a word the instructor said and we were the only one to do it right.
Headed back to the Sony building, started at the acrylic screen, meant to be the biggest in the world, showed a 3d coral skuba dive, very cool. Then down to other floors playing with some new HD cameras and photographic equipment. A new gadget which is a must when it comes out is a camera that will automatically scan on a pivet to take a photo of people, great idea for parties!
Leaving there we went to Odaiba near Tokyo bay. Had to get a seperate subway track for this, which has just reminded me that the oyster type cards are excellent can pay for stuff at supermarkets with them, england dont catch on quick with things like that i have come to the conclusion.
Here they had a big ferris wheel but didnt go on because of the weather but headed to the Toyata showroom. Awesome place, went in to a F1 simulator, used safety driving simulator that are testing automatic breaking systems out, gran turismo 4 arcade machine that moves like a real car and a electric car that i didnt realise at first steers and brakes itself, very clever. I kept saying to the guy im not paying for it if i crash, he just laughed at us!
By that time we were fed up of having wet feet for about 12 hours, ali was scared because her feet were verging blue! Drama queen! =)